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Using 56K modems with the campus modem pool

by Dan Burrows

56Kilobit (56K) modems are now readily available, and some of the new computer systems are shipping with them. This is an upgrade from the current standard of 33.6K modems, but one that involves a new technology of modem/phone system interaction. Several different vendors now provide 56K modems, but few of them interchange. That means if you buy brand X, and we buy brand Y, you won't be able to connect at 56K.

Unfortunately, we have also discovered that many of the 56K modems won't work with our existing 33.6K modem pool. This backward compatibility problem is something the vendors should fix, but experience has shown this fix is happening slowly. It has caused some of our customers undue frustration, to say the least, and we apologize for the inconvenience this issue has caused.

The new standard is supposed to be defined soon, which means that brand X and brand Y will be able to connect to each other. We have decided to hold off on providing any type of 56K modems until the standard is set and the trade journals start to indicate that modem interchangeability isn't a problem. This is likely to be next summer, although that time frame is outside of our control.

In the meantime, we encourage you to try out the 56K modem you might get, but be ready to demand a swap for a 33.6K modem. We recommend that if you do swap for a 33.6K, get one that will be upgradable when the standard is defined. Most mid to upper priced modems offer this option. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Last Revised on 09/18/97 sab [an error occurred while processing this directive]