CUSM, ISDN & Mac, answers

David S. Bennahum (
Wed, 15 Feb 1995 14:26:30 -0500

I got a lot of notes directly, along the following lines:

>David, if it's not asking too much what's the cost of this ISDN
>128k link. Do you need special wiring to your home?
>Do you need a special hardware interface line-personal computer?
>Connection cost, leasing cost and if any usage cost if any during
>some hours. Internet access cost for this bandwith?
>I understand their exist dialup ISDN line. Is it what you have?
>Thanks for any light you can shine in this "black tunnel" for me.

I know this is tangential to cuseeme, but probalby of interest to everyone
using cuseeme with a 14.4 or 28k modem since you all might want to upgrade
to ISDN one day. It is not so hard to do.

So, just for the record, a couple of things. I am writing a
review/explanation on how to get ISDN at home for internet connectivity for
NetGuide magazine. It will explain all the hardware you'll need, internet
access providers nationwide that support ISDN, fees, and software
configuration, and so on. In short, it is supposed to demystify the whole
ISDN process for those of us who are not network gurus. It should run in
the June issue coming out this May. That being said, I will quickly let
you know what I pay for this stuff at home, how I got it, etc.

NYNEX, the local telco here, installed an ISDN "phone jack" in my living
room that looks just like the regular phone jack for $129. I pay $26/mo.
for the line, and 10.6 c to set up a data call, and 1c/minute during the
call. Voice calls are not charged more than normal rates. Other bell
compaines charge differently, PacBell is cheaper, BellSouth is more
expensive. The fees change every other week, depending on the telco's
latest attitude towards ISDN (is it for corporate accounts, residences,
gee, I dunno, let's make it up, kind of haggling will get you wild price

Then I got a QuickAcess Remote ISDN external "modem" (not really a modem,
but about the same size) made by Access Works and an account with PSI, a
nationwide internet service provider. Through PSI you get the ISDN box
(around $450) and a SLIP/PPP account ($29/mo for 29 hours, $1/hr.
additional), all that is handled in one swoop, simplifing everything so it
actually comes close to working "out of the box." The ISDN box has a built
in NT-1 terminator, so you just plug it into the ISDN jack like a regular
modem, hook it up to your serial port on the Mac, and you are ready to go
at 56K/sec (128Kk coming this spring). You use MacPPP or MacSLIP to run
the regular suite of direct IP apps like Netscape, Eudora, whatever. It is
basically exactly the same setup, with one or two variations, as a SLIP
connection by modem. It works the same way on the PC side.

For total details on both Mac & PC solutions, check out my article in the
June issue of NetGuide.


David S. Bennahum
144 West 19 Street, Apt. 3C
New York, NY 10011
Voice: 212-929-4317
Fax : 212-645-1767
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