Kermit FAQ - What Kind of Modem Should I Buy?

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22 What Kind of Modem Should I Buy?

Refer to the previous two sections.

We have always recommended external modems. In the past, the main reasons for this were that:

In recent times, the reasons to stick with external modems are all the more compelling:

We do not recommend or endorse any particular brand of modem. However, we do recommend the following attributes:

Read the box carefully before buying.

56K modems are designed for only one purpose: to dial up an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that offers 56K service and has a digital connection to the telephone network. If they don't work for other purposes, this is not surprising, since they were not designed for any other purpose.

V.90 is the recently approved ITU-T standard 56K method, whereas X2 and K56flex are competing proprietary methods that preceded the standard. While V.90 is based on the other two, it does not include either one of them, and is only just now appearing on the market.

Basic connection problems can occur if:

In theory, the modems should be able to recover from such situations automatically, and agree upon a lower modulation and connection speed. In practice, sometimes the modems become "frozen" or disconnect entirely. The most common complaint is that the modem makes the connection, but there is only a "blue screen" on the other end. That is, the modems are connected, the local modem reports carrier, but no characters are transmitted.

Performance is a totally separate question, and generally hinges upon the specific pair of modems and the connection between them.

Kermit FAQ / Columbia University /