View Full Version : Modems. Buy a good one.

19-04-2004, 02:50 PM
Recently in this forum somebody said that "all modems are the same.Speed is controlled by your ISP."
I'm afraid I'm going to prove him wrong.
For the past year I have used a D-Link and an Ambient external modem. Both of them connected to Ihug in the 49/50 kbps and they downloaded at about 5 whatevers. I have now purchased a US Robotics Messenger external modem. At the moment it is connected at 52.6 Kbps. Downloads run at about 7 whatevers..
I'm very satisfied.
Before someone asks it cost about $215.
So put that in your Lucent and smoke it.

19-04-2004, 03:57 PM
Thats not the best of attitudes Jack, especially when neither of you are 100% on IMO.

The speed is limited by line conditions etc. Both you and your ISP have 56k Modems, correct?! Therefore, your phone cable is likely the cause of any slow-down. Buying "Rural" modems helps too, as they are less sensitive to line noise.

Download's as "7 whatevers"... 7KB/s you mean? That's good speed for Dial-up. Heck, 5 is.... I averaged 4-5 KB/s (8 bits in a byte, so 4x8 = 32kbps + overhead and whatever else I was doing online at the time.. I used to connect at average of 49kbps).

If you're downloading at 7KB/s then you're theoretically maxing out the modem's capabilities.....

Could Godfather, Billy T or somebody else comment on the theory of this? It just seems kinda sus. to me...


19-04-2004, 04:22 PM
Connect speed (and sustained speed) of 52.6kb gives a theoretical data throughput of 6.58 kB. Add some error correction and handshaking overhead (say 10%) and that drops to 5.97 kB.
Now add the unknown factor of compression of the file as it is downloaded. Anything from no compression to 3 times depending on the file content, which will vary by file. Usually closer to 0 than 3 though.

Gives anything from 5.97 KB to 17 KB.

Now factor in dropped packets due to noise, as these packets must be resent.

Gets too hard to calculate now as there are just too many unknown variations. Truth is, local line conditions often give download speeds of 4 KB

Does a more expensive modem work better? Probably, else what are you paying for?

If you had the cheapest modem, lived close to the exchange, had a perfect line, then there would be no difference. The more expensive modem *should* have better line noise tolerance and deliver more consistent results.

Otherwise you have been ripped off.

Just like the Dynalink Rural Modem which costs $500. It works where others would just give up, so money doe$ buy $omething.

19-04-2004, 05:41 PM
Thanks for the comments. I'm well aware that it was too dear, but I'm satisfied with the results and that's what mattered.
I took a run through PC Pit Stop and for the first time ever I got a perfect score on internet connection. In fact I got a perfect score on everything so I'm happy. :-) :-) :-)

Pete O\'Neil
19-04-2004, 06:33 PM
would it not have been cheaper to get a DSL or wireless conection?

20-04-2004, 05:52 AM
Not available where I live.

Murray P
20-04-2004, 09:31 AM
Not to mention the processing cycles you are saving your computer by not using a PCI modem, oops, I mentioned it!

If you are lucky enough to have an ISA slot then you have an opportunity to slot in a good old hardware modem much like your serial external ones, if you can find one that is the real McCoy, that is. USR/3Com are a good bet there as well.

Terry Porritt
20-04-2004, 03:39 PM
Just add a little stir :)
I proved to my own satisfaction by borrowing modems from my local shop a few years ago and trying them in the same computer on the same phone line, that US Robotics modems with their own chipsets outperform Rockwell/Connexant/Lucent. I would even go so far as to say significantly outperform, but I dont have the download figures now, except to say that reported connection speed to ISP was 52Kbps consistent for external US Robotics as against ~48Kbps for all other makes, both internal and external.

20-04-2004, 04:30 PM
Just adding some more stir :-)
Unless you are checking the connection speed at the end, the initial reported speed is pretty meaningless. 52K could be dropping back almost immediately to <45 where the 48K stays at 48.
A few years is a long time to stand still as far as development goes, I would try a new Lucent /Agere DSP internal at around $30 before resorting to ISA or a gold plated external.

20-04-2004, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the support. I,at one time, had an internal USR in an ISA slot that also out-performed all others. In fact I remember PC World giving first place to a USR Sportster in one of their tests a few years ago.
And I have tried Lucent at $30. I trust you are joking.
No, USR might be expensive, but if you want the best you've got to pay top price.

20-04-2004, 05:27 PM
I don't think their can be any doubt that a hardware modem is better then a software/winmodem,the question is are they needed?

I have an old winmodem i have been using in every system i have built myself in the last 6 years,its always connected strongly and had consistent transfer speeds.

On the otherhand i purchased 5 winmodems the other day,trialed one of them for 2 days and swapped the rest for a feed of burger king,their performance was such that i wouldn't sell them for full price,nor will i be ordering them in again.

In JJJJ's case i would definitly have purchased a hardware modem,although personaly wouldn't have spent that amout of money,which is neither here nor there i supose.

I will be trialling one of the PCI hardware modems that were discussed the other day in a location that has intermitent and slow connection speeds,it should prove interesting.Currently they are unable to connect at anything greater then 36.6....

20-04-2004, 07:26 PM
> On the otherhand i purchased 5 winmodems the other
> day,trialed one of them for 2 days and swapped the
> rest for a feed of burger king,their performance was
> such that i wouldn't sell them for full price,nor
> will i be ordering them in again.

I think I would have been inclined to have returned them for a credit. Or did you get them from the Shady Rest?

20-04-2004, 08:10 PM
when i return them i pay postage back to auckland and lose 20 percent of the purchase price,plus they only cost 4 bucks each, they did work,just poorly.

besides, i got someone to fetch me some burger king,excellent trade.

21-04-2004, 12:18 AM
i bought a external com port speakerphone fax moden from my friend..
2nd hand for $10..

it works perfectly.. internet way more stable..
connects top speed everytime..

from my experience.. external does work better than internal..
one werid thing though..
it seem to clash with my network card..
if i'm online.. network gets really slow..

but downloading is sweet ...
feels like i ripped my friend off..
hehe..$10.. external..ya..