* Prices may differ from that shown
Hayes modems have a good past record as they not only have a well designed ergonomically outlay but also have drivers that are easy to install, and if the driver cd-rom/ floppy disk is lost then it may be downloaded easily from the Internet. The majority of operating systems (O/S) have the drivers already installed on the installation disc. Hayes modems are economical (the cost is usually cheap); they are used by large good quality computer manufactures i.e. Dell?, as the modem is reliable and is easy to install. When I purchased my new computer recently it was installed with a Hayes modem, the modem has been in perfect working order for the last year and I don?t think that there will be any problems in the future. Here are the tech specifications: The modem speed is 56Kbps or 56,000 bits per second, this is like most dial up modems (talk to server and connect you to the interent), the usual hard disk space needed is 60mb (60 mega bits), and usually 32 mb ram (Random access memory)is needed, a cd-rom is needed but if you do not have one then downloading the drivers of the internet is ok. Most modems are now V92, V90 are fading out (too slow) this is the connection transfer speed. Remember to check that your operating system(O/S) is compatible to the modem (driver will not install properly if the O/S is not compatible), for example some Hayes modems are not windows Xp compatible, but do not worry, the updated drivers can be downloaded from the interenet. And yes Hayes modems are compatible to all I.S.P's (Internet Service Provider), and all intercom server providers (if you have your own web site with your own sever). So if you are looking for a reliable modem them go for Hayes.
Some of you, who have read my more recent computer opinions, will know that during July, I had a minor mishap with the insides of my PC which resulted in me having to replace about half of the insides of my beloved computer. One of the things I was forced to replace was my aging, but still excellent, Aztech modem. Now, it wasn’t the most friendly of modems, and required careful handling when it was being inserted, and when new drivers were being installed, but once it was running, it was a brilliant modem with lots of features. How was I ever going to replace such a device? Well, acting against every sane bone in my body, I ended up at PC World, just outside Belfast. I knew as soon as I walked in through the door that I would be paying over the odds for my modem if I found one I liked, but seeing as the alternative was ordering over the internet, waiting a week for delivery and saving at least £10, I did a trade off and decided having a modem then was better than saving money and having to wait. I’m not a particularly patient man, you see. Anyway, I digress; this is a modem opinion, not a PC World opinion. I spotted a few that looked promising, including a new fangled v92 modem. Being the nerd that I am, and with v92 being the next step in “ordinary” modems, I decided I would have a v92 one instead of a plain old v90 one. (I’ll explain these “v” terms shortly). My only decision after that was whether to buy an unknown brand, or go the Hayes modem, both at the same price. Well, a no-brainer actually. Hayes were at the forefront of modem technology in the early days, and nearly all modems these days use the Hayes command sets. It’s a bit like buying a Sony Minidisc or a Philips CD player – if they invented it, you suspect they must know what they’re doing. The Hayes modem is a “hardware” modem. What this means is that all the work is done by the modem, leaving y
our processor to get one with running your PC. The other type of modem is called a WinModem which passes a lot of work off onto your PC via its’ drivers, and I would recommend you avoid these if possible. So, I grudgingly gave Mr PC World his money, and left before his evil could infect me any further. I swear that printer was calling my name… So, now back at the house, in front of my newly fixed computer, I sat down with the manual to see how to install my modem. I’m still trying to get over the shock that I fried the internals of my PC, so I’m still using the manuals, rather than relying on “The Force” like I tend to do as a bloke. Luckily, I did – strangely, the modem required the drivers to be installed before I inserted the modem itself. Ok, not a problem. Installed drivers, inserted the modem into a free PCI slot inside the PC, rebooted and voila! A nice Internet capable PC was ready for me to use. Installation of modem and drivers was quick, and easy and can be performed by anyone. The modem comes with a CD of drivers for all operating systems, and two small manuals. The first is a multi-lingual Quick Start guide i.e. instructions for installing the modem, and the second is a 30 page manual dealing with guides on how to use the modem itself. I find this very welcome – a personal gripe of mine is only getting the manual as a separate (usually PDF, or Adobe Acrobat) file which you have to print out yourself. Right, now onto the performance issues. I’ve been reliably informed by a member of BT that I must be sitting right on top of our local exchange because with my Aztech modem, I was regularly connecting, with Freeserve, at a speed around 49,333. With this new modem, this has fallen slightly to 48,000, but is constant, and sometimes is higher. But, this isn’t making much of a difference that I can see to my surfing ability. I promised you I’d
explain the “v” numbers to you, and here goes… Hang on until I put on my “Nerd-to-English” translation hat. The V numbers are what are known as connection protocols. These dictate what speed your modem talks and listens to the Internet. For example – the most recent, and wide used protocol is what is known as v.90. This protocol (which is the one you’re probably using right now if you have a “normal” modem) listens to the Internet at a theoretical maximum of 56,000. Now you’re never going to get this maximum – the speed of your Internet connection is going to depend on the quality of your phone line, the internal wiring of your phone extensions. (I know this last fact sounds weird, and I didn’t believe it myself until my dad was doing some DIY and pulled the wires out of one of the extensions, and even though my modem is connected directly to our master BT socket, my connection speed dropped to 35,000 until I re-wired the plugs). There are two protocols available to every modem – a listening one and a talking one. The v.90 is a listening protocol, and the talking protocol that goes along with this is the v.42bis. This means that the speed your modem talks to the Internet is 33,600. Now you’re probably thinking that this is quite low compared to the listening speed, and I suppose that it is. But, if you think carefully, you’ll realise that you actually do more “listening” (i.e. downloading) than you do “talking” (uploading) so a lower connection speed for this isn’t that much of a problem. OK, now that I hope you have a little idea about the v numbers and what’s involved, I can explain to you about the new v.92 (and associated v.44) protocol. The listening part (v.92) still enables you to listen at a maximum of 56,000, but has some nifty features if you spend a lot of time online. First of all, the new protocol is meant to s
peed up the time it takes your modem to connect to your ISP by reducing the logging in time (or handshake, as it’s known). Now, at the moment, not all ISPs are v.92 compatible but the Hayes modem is backwards compatible (i.e. it will first try to connect at v.92, then failing that will try at v.90 etc.) but my ISP (Freeserve) is v.92 compliant and I’ve not noticed any reduction in logging in time from my connection, although to be honest it’s never bothered me. The second, and probably handier feature is that if you have “call waiting” and a v.92 complaint ISP, if anyone phones your house, your modem will put your Internet call “on hold”, allowing you to answer your “proper” phone call, before returning you to your browsing. The amount of time your Internet call will be on hold is dependant on your ISP. Unfortunately, we don’t have call waiting, so I can’t actually say whether or not this feature is effective. The other protocol, v.44 enables your modem to talk at a faster rate to the Internet than with the v.90/v.42bis protocols. The new, improved talking speed has been raised to 48,000 – an increase of around 15,000. Hopefully, this should mean that if you send a lot of data to the Internet, then you should notice a speed increase. However, I found this not to be the case, and in fact I think that e-mail sending now takes longer. Overall, the Hayes modem is a solid performer. My surfing speeds are no different from my previous modem, but sending email does take slightly longer. If you don’t have a v.92 compliant ISP or call waiting, then you’ll gain practically no benefit from owning this modem over a bog standard (and probably cheaper) v.90 modem, although with v.92 being a recognised international standard, all ISPs will eventually be changing to this protocol. I paid £50 for mine at PC World, but I’m sure you cold pick up one for cheaper from the