I have just read an opinion on the product and software and disagree with it, the driver and support files for this modem are good, the software is what you would normally see in packages costing thousands, Supervoice, by Pacific Image is not for the novice, once you have the hang of it is does so much I could fill a page, caller ID is only avaialbe if you subscribe to it and it is within the features of supervoice. The full pro version has so many advantages it compares to prodcuts costing ££££'s but costs very little. The modem itself is easy to install and works a treat. Supported on most platforms. See http://www.usr-emea.com/support/s-group-template.asp?group=s-analogext&page=downlo ads&loc=unkg#5625-01 I am connecting with one right now, it took seconds to install and no problems. USR and 3com support is A1 on their products. Outs came in a box of untested equipment and without drivers or leads, no software, so we downloaded it all and used the connections from an earlier model. No Prob's
I recently bought this modem as a replacement for an ageing 56kflex modem (which won’t connect above 32kbps). I choose this modem as on paper it seemed the dogs and to some extent it is... Here’s the specs... · V.90 56K technology. · Voice support. · Fax support. · V.80 Video conferencing capability. · Hands free speakerphone. · Caller ID support. · Built in answer phone with multiple voice mailboxes. · Stores voice and fax message when the computer is switched off. · Fax forwarding facility. · Flash ROM for easy upgrades. · Powered handset support (attach a handset to the modem). Sounds great doesn’t it, sounds like a modem that will replace your modem, telephone, fax and caller ID machine all in one go using one telephone line and not rely on the computer being switched on. Sounds fantastic, brilliant, sorted, and so it should at between £96 and £140 (depending on where you get it). So is fantastic, brilliant, amazingly out of this world kinda stuff? Well, yes and no. You see the modem is brilliant etc etc, but the software that comes with it is absolute dire, pathetic and crappy and can best be summed up as incredibly soiled wet & messy PANTS – the kinda pants you have the day after drinking 20 pints of beer, eating 3 kebabs and a vindaloo all washed down with a bottle of cider and packet of nice ‘n’ spicy Nik Naks! It is without doubt the worst bundled software I’ve ever come across, it’s written in a Windows 3.1 style, using 8.3 character length filenames and wanting to crap everything onto the root of your C: drive. It says copyright 1998 but I find it hard to believe it’s that new! Anyway, let me keep this logical and chronological (big word!) by way of a diary of the events that took place on the day I received my new modem... 8:57am Knock, knock, knock. The deliveryman delivered my new modem from Dabs
.com after the lengthy wait of 10 days (it was out of stock when ordering). 8:59am Have a cup of coffee. Wrestle with the package as could not be bothered to find some scissors, finally opening it. Take time out to stamp on all the big air bags surrounding the modem making bangs like a shotgun going off (fun!). Leave packaging on the floor, take modem upstairs ready to install. 9:08am Quickly take my computer apart, removing the old internal modem. Plug in new modem into serial port, plug in phone cable, plug in power, and switch on. Boot up the PC. 9:21am Boot up my PC (I’m using Windows 2000 Professional with all the latest service packs etc). Log into Windows, and grab the driver CD / disks. They say Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0. Okay me thinks, Windows 2000 is relatively new, this modem came out in 1998, so there are probably drivers for it built into Windows 2000. 9:25am Go into Control panel, Phone and Modem options. Ask Windows to ‘detect’ my modem. Yep, Windows finds a modem, a ‘Standard Modem’ – translated from Windows dialect into English this means ‘Crap Modem, I Haven’t Got The Correct Drivers For It, Nuh, Nuh, Nuh Nuh, Nuh, It Will Work, But Really Slowly’. 9:28am Delete the ‘Standard Modem’ and insert the CD-ROM that came with it. IT automatically ran and installed the drivers – oh err! I reboot. 9:37am Log into Windows 2000 again, it finds new hardware – yippee, it finds a ‘56K Prof Message Modem’, yippee, yippee! It then finds a ‘Standard Modem’, booo. I look in Control Panel at my modems; I have only a ‘Standard Modem’ installed – arrrggghh! Where did that ‘56K Prof Message Modem’ go then?!? 9.45am Go into ‘System Properties’, ‘Hardware’, ‘Device Manager’. Click on my modem, hit
the ‘Driver’ button and then forcefully update it to the driver on the CD-ROM. Windows 2000 wasn’t that keen on it as it had no ‘signature’ file that verifies it will work with Windows 2000. Tough! 9:52am Changed my dialup settings to use the new forcefully installed modem, dialled up to the internet. Success, it connects. Disconnect. 9:56am Decide to install the software on the CD-ROM. Plonk the CD in my drive, it auto runs to a pretty ‘CONNECTIONS’ menu. Select ‘Software’, then ‘Communications’. I now have a choice of installing SuperVoice V2.2 or SuperFax V6.0. SuperVoice it is then. 9:58am Install SuperVoice V2.2 (Apparently the Millennium Edition © 1998(!!) from Pacific Image Communications). In fact, click ‘About’ and it says © 1997! What an impressively crap installation program, reminds me of those Windows 3.1 days. Anyway, amazingly it install okay (after asking millions of questions about my phone number etc) on Windows 2000. It did however fail to setup a fax printer (which I already had installed anyway), asking for the Windows 2000 setup disk and then failing to find what it wanted on there when I gave it the W2K setup disk. 10:10am Had a quick look at this SuperVoice software, it looks very noddy with a very dated interface and all the main windows have a hash effect all over them making it looked greyed out and difficult to read. Anyway, a big toolbar sits on your window with various options for sending / receiving faxes, controlling the answering machine and various settings. Of particular fun, is listening to the extremely strong and blunt American accent of the default ‘messages’, which, unless you were extremely sad, you not use in a million years, e.g. ‘Sorry, I’m currently away from the computa’ 10:18am Started to install the SuperFax V6.0 software, then af
ter an identical looking install, asking exactly the same questions decided that was probably crap too & cancelled. Instead, decided to install the ‘3Com Modem Manager’ software that looked like it could be useful. It installed without problem. 10:22am Tried loading the ‘3Com Modem Manager’ but it insisted that no compatible modems were installed and failed to load. Great. 10:23am Connected back to the internet had a go at looking for some updated drivers and software. First tried 3com.com, this was crap an obviously aimed at businesses, modems weren’t even called modems. Tried usrobotics.com. Much better, first thought it may be a good idea to register my product. A good idea yes, but apparently my model (5625) does not exist so I couldn’t register. 10:27am Decide to have a look for the drivers anyway, went to support, downloads. What a really crap site, everything is higgledy piggledy laid out and your never sure where you should be going. Anyway, surprise surprise, my model is not listed on the page, so I go to the ‘Voice modems’ section and find a similar looking modem so had a look at the drivers, again there is just one massive list of various drivers and utilities for various modems on various operating systems. This is the most appallingly laid out site I’ve come across, you could be there for hours trying to work out what you need to download. Worryingly, a statement at the top says, and I quote: “Microsoft Windows 2000 contains drivers for many U.S. Robotics modem products. If the Windows 2000 driver you need is not currently listed, check back periodically for file updates.”. 10:40am Notice that my connection speed is 114kbps, wow – have I’ve found a secret loophole in BT’s telephone system allowing massive connection speeds on a normal landline?? No, nothing so great, the speed is about the same as before &
I know from experience that this is in fact the speed the COM port talks to the modem and is often a sign the a dodgy driver is being used! 10:41am Fiddle around on the usrobotics.com website for ages trying to find any decent software to download that may prove better than the crap that came with the modem. No such luck, but did find a little utilities to automatically discover your model number and download the correct latest driver. This sounded cool, so downloaded, installed it, ran it and it said I currently had the latest driver, gee thanks! Better still, I then stumbled across a section giving ‘international sites’ section. This leads me to their UK site, cunningly named http://www.usr-emea.com/uk/. 10:59am Within a few minutes of finding this new site, I now discover that my model number does exist and, better still, there is a driver with a new file date than the one I currently have, in fact over a year newer. Downloaded this, installed it and, just to be sure, rebooted. 11:10am Wow, the ‘3Com Modem Manager’ actually recognised this modem now. We it recognises it, but that’s it, I can’t use it as it’s convinced itself that ‘another application is using the modem’ – well another application is not using the **** modem! Ah well, I can live without that. 11:11am Connected to the internet again, wow – it now tells me the correct connection speed (40kbps for me – about right for this area). 11:12am Decide I’ve had enough, the modem works, my answering machine has been setup and I can use that without the software. I rarely use send faxes, but pretty sure that can also be done without the software. This will have to do. Make a quick note to remind me to complain to US Robotics that their supplied software and drivers are both crap and way out of date. 11:15am Shut down the computer – n
o, there’s a problem here now too, it won’t actually turn itself off anymore. Instead it now just sits on a black screen with a little flashing white cursor. Curse the computer, curse the modem, switch of the power and go out. Hope you’ve enjoyed that little story, apologies if it was a tad long! Anyway then, the 3Com U.S. Robotics Professional Message Modem... /##/ SUMMARY /##/ A great modem in the hardware sense. It’s got everything and works well, although it’s a bit large compared to other modems. The volume, answering machine components and hands free operation can all be operated from the front panel. It has a built in speaker and microphone so you’ll not have to fiddle around trying to get your soundcard and modem to cooperate. All cables are supplied along with any potential converts you may need and it doesn’t take long to physically connect up. However, as with all computer hardware, it’s only as good as the software that’s used with it. And believe me, this software is really really crap!! (Not that you didn’t know already!). Bearing in mind many of the phones features can only be used via the supplied software, you’d think that after making a darned good modem, they’d invest more than just 5 minutes on the software to go with it. Of course, things would probably go smoother if you were using Windows 3.1, 95 or maybe even 98. But lets face it, these are ‘old’ operating systems now, many users will now have Windows Me or 2000 or even XP shortly. It’s disgraceful in my opinion to sell a ‘professional’ modem with the ‘No. 1 selling modem in the world’ splattered all over the box when it’s supplied with ancient and crap software. To demonstrate just how out of date all this software is, it actually comes with WinZip V2.6!!!! I can’t remember ev
er having that it’s so old (the current version being V8.0 for those who’ve never heard of WinZip!). Before I finally shut up, here’s a list of a few ‘crap’ points about the modem in general... · Ancient, out of date software & drivers. · Caller ID?? Like, where, how?? · Can determine if a call is fax, data of voice – bullsh*t, no it can’t! · No.1 selling modem in the world – only this model is only available in the UK! · Flash ROM for easy software upgrades – easy, they’re having a laugh!!!!!!! · Powered handset support – like where is that gonna plug in then? Must be another invisible slot for a handset somewhere! · Absolute dire website, what is wrong with listing this modem as a ‘56K Prof Message Modem’?? Why does it have to be called a ‘5625’ and mixed in with every other modem under the sun? And why do drivers, utils, patches and ROM updates etc all have to be bunged in together. So in summary, don’t bother with this modem unless you really want an answer phone built in. The modem itself is excellent, but without any decent software you just can’t use most of its more advanced features and certainly can’t class it as a professional modem! If you know of any decent software that will (or may) work with this modem or anything, please let me know! Thanks for reading, any comments welcome – and don’t forget to rate! TT.