Re: Buying a New Modem

Enigma (enigma@wolfenet.com)
Sat, 23 Dec 1995 11:35:03 -0800 (PST)


There have been several posts about modems lately. There is a lot of hype
and little fact being spread about 28.8 modems. For example, no 28.8 modems
use software (i.e. the PC doing it) data compression as someone pointed out.
That hasn't happened since the old 2400 baud v.42bis modems. All the 14.4
V.32 and 28.8 V.FC/V.34 chipsets do compression in hardware.

$190 from AOL is NOT a very good price for a no-name modem. I've seen 28.8
modems in the $100 range. You can get a name brand modem for less than $190.

Also, 28.8 modems rarely connect and STAY connected at 28.8. Even if they
intially connect at 28.8, unless you have a pristine high-bandwidth phone
line, they often re-train down to slower data rates during the call (and
if you're lucky might speed back up if line conditions improve).

When it comes to buying a 28.8 modem, if it's primarily for use with a
single internet service provider, I'd suggest you put a post on their
local newsgroup and ask what modems other users are using and perhaps even
what brand the provider uses for their modem banks. There are at least four
major chipsets out there (Rockwell, AT&T, Hayes and US Robotics) and they
all tend to have more difficulty connecting to each other than themselves.

If you've read any of the comprehensive modem tests, it's really amazing how
much trouble some brands have connecting to other brands considering V.34 is
supposed to be a "standard". My AT&T chipset V.34 modem connects flawlessly
to my internet provider every time. It will connect properly only about half
the time to Hayes modems, and I've found some it will not connect to at all.

Not many have it, but strongly consider a modem with flash ROM. This allows
you to upgrade the modem firmware with just a simple download instead of
sending the modem back or getting new PROMs from the manufacture. Most 28.8
modems have already had several firmware revisions and they will likely
continue as the new V.34 standard evolves and they fix more bugs.

Finally, for an excellent FAQ on the subject, try:
http://web.aimnet.com/~jnavas/modem/faq.html

Many of the modem manufactures have their own web pages as well (Motorola
has an especially good one).

Good luck!
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enigma@wolfenet.com
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