Modem Tutorial Index
Profiles of High-speed Modems
Here are profiles of some high-speed modems. The list is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be. Unless noted otherwise, the street price quoted are from PC Connection (800-243-8088) in PC Magazine (12/31/91). PC Connection generally does not offer the lowest price, but the service is excellent. I have dealt with PC Connection and MacConnection (800-800-4444) for years and have yet to be disappointed with their services.
Unless noted otherwise, a V.32/V.42bis modem supports V.32, MNP2-5, V.42/V.42bis. And a V.32bis/V.42bis modem supports V.32bis, MNP 2-5, V.42/V.42bis. Most modems listed here are introduced in the past eighteen months.
I have been using an ATI 9600etc/e for several months now and I am very pleased with it. I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable V.32/V.42bis modem.
There are two things I really like about the ATI modem:
The SpeedModem Champ is a 9600 bps high-speed modem with CompuCom's proprietary CSP modulation protocol. It is introduced in early 1991. It can be ordered from CompuCom directly at a discount price of $169. The CompuCom Champ is supported by hundreds of BBS in the U.S., including heavyweights such as EXEC-PC and Channel 1.
CompuCom also markets the SpeedModem Combo which is a SpeedModem Champ with fax and voice mail capabilities. The current price is $269. The SpeedModem Storm is a dual-mode modem. It supports both CSP and V.32/V.42bis. The discount price is $299 (internal) and $339 (external). The Storm is also available with fax and voice mail options for an additional $90.
The SpeedModem Star is also a dual-mode modem. It supports both CSP and V.32bis/V.42bis. The discount price is $499 (internal) and $539 (external). The Star is also available with fax and voice mail options for an additional $90.
Smartmodem 9600. Introduced in 1988, the Smartmodem 9600 is a V.32 modem. It does not support any error control or data compression protocol. Don't confuse this unit with the V-series Smartmodem 9600.
Ultra 96 is a dual-mode modem from Hayes. Introduced in 1990, the Ultra 96 supports both V.32/V.42bis and the Hayes Express 96 modulation protocol. Ultra 96 has many unique features that are not needed if you are calling BBS or online services. The current street price is $669.
Introduced in Fall 1991, Ultra 144 is a dual-mode modem that supports both V.32bis/V.42bis and the Hayes Express 96 protocol. The current street price is $799.
Optima 96 is a plain vanilla V.32/V.42bis modem. This is Hayes' answer to the "generic" V.32/V.42bis modem. The current street price is $479.
Some early PM9600SA units have quite a few problems connecting to other V.32 modems. (Make sure you send in the warranty card.) Practical Peripheral has since sent out several ROM upgrades and the current shipping units seem to be working fine.
Practical Peripherals also makes an internal modem that features a 16550 UART. You can get the PM9600SA for $469 and the internal PM9600 for $399.
Promodem 9600 Plus is a V.32/V.42bis modem. It can also send and receive Group III fax at 9600 bps.
Prometheus Ultima is a V.32bis/V.42bis fax modem. It can also send and receive Group III fax at 9600 bps. MacConnection sells the Ultima for $689.
TrailBlazer Plus. $849. Introduced in 1985, the Trailblazer has been the de facto standard in the UNIX UUCP and Usenet communities. With the new pricing, you should consider the T2500 or the T3000 instead of the TrailBlazer Plus if you need to connect to a Telebit PEP modem.
T1000. Introduced in 1988, the T1000 is the little brother of the TrailBlazer Plus. The T1000 supports PEP at a slower speed. The actual throughput is about 9600 cps. The current list price is $699. Unlike the TrailBlazer Plus, the T1000 does not have callback or password security.
T2500. $949. Introduced in 1989 when V.32 modems started to enter the market, the T2500 supports both V.32/V.42bis and PEP. The maximum throughput is 19,200 bps due to the limitation imposed by the older Rockwell chipset used.
T1600. $699. The T1600 is a V.32/V.42bis modem introduced in 1991. It provides built-in support for UUCP and offers password and callback security.
T3000. $949. This is the top of the line model from Telebit. The T3000 is a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. PEP upgrade is available for $99 until 3/31/92. After that date, the upgrade will be $199.
QBlazer. $745. If I am going to buy another high-speed modem today, this will be it. (I use a notebook computer). QBlaser is the first portable V.32/V.42bis modem (2.3"x2.4"x2.4"). It works with a 9-volt battery for about two hours.
Note that T1600, T2500, T3000 all offer the following features:
Courier V.32bis. Introduced in 1990, this is a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. It does not support HST. Telemart offers the external version for $565 and the internal version for $535.
Courier HST Dual Standard. This unit is introduced in 1990. If you need to connect to HST modems and also want to be able to talk to other V.32/V.32bis modems, this is the modem to buy. Its current street price is around $800. Telemart sells the HST Dual Standard for $799. (Note that earlier HST Dual Standard modems only support V.32 and not V.32bis.) The HST Dual Standard is considered by many PC users as the best modem money can buy.
The only reservation I have about the Courier modems is their size. The external Courier modems are rather bulky: 8.3" wide, 12.65" deep, 1.57" tall. I would not want to carry one of these with me when I travel. (It's bigger than my notebook computer.)
Sportster 9600 V.42bis. This unit is introduced in 1991. The Sportster 9600 is an entry level V.32/V.42bis modem from U.S. Robotics. The list price is $645 for the external version. ($595 for the Internal version).
WorldPort 9600 V.32. The WorldPort 9600 is a portable pocket modem. Originally made by Touchbase Systems, the WorldPort 9600 is a V.32/MNP-5 modem. It does not support V.42/V.42bis. The WorldPort 9600 works with a 9-volt battery. The list price is $699.
Things to come
Every modem manufacturer makes at least one V.32/V.42bis modem now. And soon every manufacturer will also make a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. The price for V.32 and V.32bis modems will continue to drop.
In fact, Supra has announced an external V.32 fax modem (SupraFaxModem V.32) for $299 and an external V.32bis fax modem (SupraFaxModem V.32bis) for $399. These prices are for the modems only. Communication and fax software will be bundled with the modem for an additional $50-$70. (These modems won't be available at least until January 1992.)
Next Buying a High-speed Modem
Modem Tutorial Index