“ External, Data/Fax/Voice (Serial/USB) „
I often her people asking this question. I bought a US robotics modem because I could never get those cheap software modems to work. I went to a computer fair and a stall was selling a 56k V90 modem for £12. I bought it straight away! Did I get it to work? NO. I was told it was probably faulty. I bought another one through a reputable shop. Did that work? NO. So I bought an external one. A US robotics. I have had lots of modems in the past, and to be honest I really can't find any difference in any of them. The diffence I did find though is that 3com (the makers of US robotics modems) offer a lifetime warranty, and technical support. You can email them and get a nearly instant reply. I also find there newsgroup quite helpful aswell. In conclusion, don't buy a cheap software internal modem. Get an external one. If you want a lifetime warranty and support then buy a US Robotics modem. If you just want something that works and are not bothered about fine tweaking it then there are cheaper alternatives.
Most people that connect to the net in the UK are using some form of a MODEM, whether it is external or internal, hardware or software and it seems that the majority don't know much about them, so I'll try to explain a little. Firstly it is important to understand that your telephone line is analogue and your computer is digital. The modem converts the noise from the analogue signal into digital data that your computer can understand. It MOdulates and DEModulates the signal hence the term MODEM. Because of the general inaccuracy of analogue data, this can be both processor intense and quite unreliable. When the transmission of data down a telephone line became very widely used, limits were set by the telecoms industry, limiting the top speed of data transfer down a telephone line to 52K, and this can be reduced further by signal noise, so the top speed you will ever get on a V90 modem is 52K. Any higher and your computer has got it wrong. (I've seen people crowing about getting 115K plus, and have to smile. It's simply the software reading the speed wrong.) Unfortunately this is in only one direction. Download speeds can go upto 52K but upload speeds were limited to 33.6K (until V92 modems are released). So generally you download faster than you upload, but this is not always true. So what's the differnce between a software and a hardware modem? Software modems aren't strictly speaking actual modems, they are just signal carriers as the system processor modeulates/de-modulates the signal, so in effect when you install a software (sometimes called Winmodem) modem you turn your computer into the modem. Hardware modems on the other hand do everything on the card, using their own hardware chips, which takes the load away from the processor. When you consider that most software modems need a Pentium 150Mhz and up to run, but a hardware modem will work on a 486 it isn't difficult to see the difference. <
br> External or Internal? Mostly an aesthetic choice, but the aforementioned software modems are generally internal, although some have appeared that connect via USB. Internal modems plug into either a PCI or an ISA slot. Because of the low bandwidth either is acceptable. Externally, modems can connect to your PC via a 9 pin serial port or the newer USB port. Thats a liitle bit about modems. Which modem do I own? I am a VERY proud owner of a US Robotics V90 external Voice Fax modem. It is very reliable, offers consistently good download speeds ( usually connect to BTInternet ay 49,333 but have been as high as 52,0000) and very rarely drops connections. Installation is a breeze, involving plugging the modem into the wall, the 9 pin cable into the serail port, installing the drivers and connecting to the net. Thats it for installation. The best feature about external modems that I have found though, is that due to the LEDs on the box, you can see what is happening, while you are surfing the net and downloading. Different lights flash when you are uploading or downloading, which may not sound that useful, but believe me it is. You can also switch off the modem, without having to switch off your entire computer. This is good because there are so many programs floating about that will try to connect to the internet, and when I leave my computer on over-night, rendering complex 3D scenes or video footage, I don't want it to connect, so I switch off the modem. Try doing that with an internal modem! I've now owned my modem for over two and a half years and have never had any form of problem. While it was quite expensive (£120) when I bought it, and compared to cheap, internal, software modems still is, you get what you pay for. This modem would be especially useful for online gamers where reliability is the number one issue. **NOTE** There are many things that can affect the speed of your connection. He
re are a few tips. If you consistently get speed of 28,800 or below using a V90 modem, telephone BT and ask whether you have a DACS fitted to your line. This is a cheap way of splitting one line into two, which is suitable for voice but not data. If you constantly lose connections and it isn't your ISP, then ask BT to turn up the GAIN, as it could be noise on the line. Try not to use too long a telephone extension cable. If you need 10 metres buy a 10 metre extension, DON'T use two 5 metre cables. Don't take as gospel, what Windows says your modem speed is. Above 52K is telling lies. Check out www.windrivers.com where they have a way for you to test your modem speed. Modem speeds are always referred to as 56K or 33.6K BUT that is kiloBITS not kiloBYTES. 56 KiloBITS = 7 kiloBYTES (approximately). Hope this is a help.
I have had this modem for 2 years and it has never faltered, touch wood, yet. Considering I am not your greatest consumer of products I can leave my modem on for 3-4 days at a time and when I return it could be moderately warm but it has never given me trouble. I have a P.C. with a processor speed of 200 mhz which is quite slow compared to modern speeds but this modem works fine on my system. When I bought this modem I spent £100 on it because my uncle had and still uses the internal model and he told it was brilliant. It is well worth spending a bit extra on this model because it gives you reliability and speed. I got the external model rather than the internal because 1) it is as easy as anything to install it. 2) it is easy to tell whether it is still on or not. At the moment I can't see myself needing another modem for a while, I will probably need a new computer before I need to replace my modem.
What an excellent modem, it is reliable and practical. I recently acquired the 3COM US Robotics 56K Modem as a gift and it is quite some present. Being an external unit it is easy to transfer it between machines, my laptop or desktop, this has saved me the necessity of buying 2 modems. The software with it is adequate to run your computer as a fax machine but is a little limited. Connection speeds vary from service provider to service provider but the 3Com seems compatible with all ISP's I have tried, previous modems have disconnected spontaniously from some ISP's, this modem however seems able to cope well with drop out or poor line gain. Neat and compact in appearance this modem requires an external power source so you'll need an available 13am socket. A good all round modem, not too costly.
When evaluating a modem, the factors to consider are: reliability, speed, technical support, and price. A shortcoming in any of these areas is simply not acceptable. Most users who own an off-the-shelf computer purchased in the past two years more than likely have an internal PCI Winmodem. A Winmodem relies on the computer?s processor and software in order to operate. It?s called a Winmodem, regardless of manufacturer, because it will only work within Windows. Unfortunately, much of the software used in medical, legal, and insurance offices is still DOS based. That?s why I?ve purchased over 300 U.S. Robotics external 56k Sportster modems in the past year for clients of my company. Reliability and Speed In my experience, U.S. Robotics modems are as trouble free as any computer peripheral in any category. I?ve never seen a functional PC that failed to properly identify the modem as soon as Windows opened. This is the way plug and play is supposed to work. I?ve never seen another modem connect at a faster BPS rate under identical conditions (same computer, same phone lines). This is the only peripheral that I am completely comfortable letting a novice install. Technical Support and Price I deal with dozens of vendors. Sometimes it can be a nightmare to get a replacement for a part that goes bad. That?s not the case with 3Com, the parent company of U.S. Robotics. More often than not, you can get RMA authorization by email. Your repaired or replacement modem reaches you quickly. There is a great deal of technical information on the 3Com web site but in my experience, these modems either work (99.9% of the time) or they don?t. There isn?t a great deal of tweaking that you can do if the modem goes bad. The majority of the time, if you have a problem connecting, then the problem is with your ISP or with your PC, not the modem. A quick search at CNET indicates that the current price for these modems ranges from £50-75. This is mor
e expensive than the no-name internal modems. The information that follows is technical in nature and is quoted from 3Com?s documentation Compatibility ITU V.90 56 Kbps x2? technology 56 Kbps download ITU V.34 33.6 Kbps Compatible with ITU and Bell standards from 56 Kbps down to 1200 bps V.42/MNP 2-4 error control, V.42 bis/MNP 5 data compression Faxing: Class 1 and 2.0 Group III 14.4 Kbps send and receive Requirements Minimum PC System Requirements IBM® compatible PC 16-Bit PC slot or serial port Analog phone line compatible with 56K technology V.90 or x2 capable Internet service provider or corporate host site RS232 serial cable (sold separately, not included in package) Connections? CD-ROM System Requirements IBM compatible 486DX or Pentium® processor Microsoft Windows 3.x or Windows 9x 4MB RAM, 2MB hard drive space CD-ROM drive Included Equipment Package Contents U.S. Robotics 56K faxmodem AC power adapter RJ11C phone cord (7 ft.) User's Guide Installation Guide U.S. Robotics Connections CD-ROM software collection U.S. Robotics RapidComm? Fax and Data Communications Software Send faxes from within any Windows® application Send and receive while running other applications Delayed and broadcast sending Fax forwarding Caller ID and distinctive ring support (requires service from your local phone company) Warranty Lifetime Limited Warranty Free parts and labor coverage, factory repair or replacement when product registered within 90 days of purchase. Five-year limited warranty without registration.
After my last modem was used so much that the mains plug got hot and melted, I decided to upgrade. I bought this modem for two reasons, I wanted good connections to the net and, beacuse a friend reccomended it to me. I am very pleased with it as it comes with an outstanding piece od software called "modem manager" which lets you manipulate the modem in a range of ways and aslo, to get aproper picture of how fast you are connected to the internet. All in all, I will keep enjoying this modem and it's capabilities until ADSL becomes affordable and more widespread.
When we bought this modem we knew absolutely nothing about modems, the internet or anything vaguely super-highway-ish! We were just recommended in the shop and so we got it. We have never looked back! So many of my friends have internal modems in their PCs and they have nothing but trouble but, I have to say, our external has never given us the slightest bit! It does pretty much everything a modem should, as well as coping with voice/fax machine function. It is also V90 compatible so shouldn't need to be upgraded/replaced for some time. I always have a good connection speed and it's never needed anything fixing on it Good buy!
AOL told me to get another modem after I complained for the nteenth time about poor connection speeds. Supposedly the internal modem in this cheap IBM (I got in the Comet sale) has one of those "soft" modems (hey I'm not a techie) where it uses the computer memory instead of having its own lil chip. This one was in the sale, then I made them knock another £5 off for the box being damaged (ya don't ask ya don't get). It took me a couple of minutes to set up, and wow was I impressed by the speed (even on stinky AOL). I have not tried out any of the fax or voice things on it (wouldn't know how), but for getting me connected first time and keeping me on line I cannot fault this neat piece of kit.