New Modems

If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new modem standard. Previously, 28.8 bps was the highest modem speed possible without a digital line. The new standard is now 33.6 bps. This doesn’t mean you can connect at this speed right now; it will take awhile.

First, you’ll have to upgrade your modem. If you have a 28.8 modem now, this probably means downloading some software off the Internet. Otherwise, the other option is to get a new modem.

Depending on your provider, you may have to wait for them to upgrade. Even if they do, don’t expect to ever connect at that speed. If you have a 28.8 modem now, you know that you rarely can connect at the top speed. With the new speed, you will probably be able to connect at 28.8 speeds.

So, yes, you will be connecting faster, but probably not at the top speed. This depends on your phone lines. If you live in a very busy area, you have even more problems because of how busy the lines are. The busier the lines, the slower your connection will be.

If you need more speed, there is another option: a digital line. Sure, they cost more, are harder to hook up, and cause a lot of problems, but an ISDN line can give you up to 128K bps bandwidth.

For ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network, you have to have your local telephone company install a separate digital line. This will have a monthly fee to go with it, but it will be incredibly fast. You will also need an ISDN “modem.” In reality, it actually isn’t a modem, it’s an adapter. Considering you have to have one and it looks like a modem, you can sort of think of it as a modem. Once these steps are done, you can try to connect with the new setup. It probably won’t work the first time, so plan on calling your ISP’s tech support. You will also have to contact your ISP to see if they even support ISDN.

If you have been reading some magazines and newspapers, you might have heard of some other options. The cable companies and ADSL. These aren’t used in most areas, but they will soon be spreading .

Cable companies might become providers. They have new technology that could send the entire book of Moby Dick, 857 pages, in two seconds. In two seconds, ISDN could get about ten pages. 28.8 modems couldn’t get all of page three. The problem with the cable modems, is that they aren’t set up for uploading. They can do it, but it causes a lot of problems. When they get this problem fixed, this will become the new standard. But, like most things, this comes with a price. It will be about 35 dollars a month for service and currently it costs $400 for the modem. That cost will definitely fall.

ADSL, asymmetrical digital-subscriber line, might be just as fast as the cable companies. The nicest part is that it uses existing phone lines. It, too, is used only in very limited areas, but it should be expanding soon. This is better than ISDN in that you don’t need a separate line for it. I don’t know of a price for this, but it will probably cost more than a typical provider.

It seems everything is getting faster. Computers, modems, CD-ROM players. This is all for the best. One must wonder if this will ever hit a wall and slow down. From the way it looks, it won’t. Once we make the fastest processor, we will make multiple processor computers. Apple, and some clone makers, are already making them. I guess the future is upon us. Now what do we do? Make it faster!!!

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