Re: modems

Subject: Re: modems
From: Matt Ion <mion -at- DIRECT -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 1995 09:27:44 PDT

On Thu, 20 Jul 1995 22:54:55 -0400 you wrote:

>Sorry to disagree with you, Mike, but unless your PC has a 16550 UART
>(Universal Asyncronous Receiver/Transmitter, which is a buffer for data
>flow) on the COM port your modem uses, an external modem is not necessarily
>the best solution.

It depends a lot on how much else you're doing with your computer while
transferring, and how well your computer can handle doing background tasks.
If you have a 486 and run plain DOS communications, the machine should keep up
nicely to a 28.8. If you use Windows or OS/2 or any other sort of
multitasker, a 16550 is almost a necessity for anything above 9600 (although
my system, a 386/33 running OS/2, has been getting by with a 14.4 and without
a 16550 for months... no problems unless I do something really
system-intensive, like access the floppy).

> However, you're right that on an external modem you can see the flashing
>light indicators and reset the modem easily.

I can't begin to count the number of times I've been frustrated by someone
else's internal modem... try to dial once, the modem locks up for some reason,
and I have to reboot the whole bloody machine (a simple CTRL-ALT-DEL won't do,
either - it generally requires a power-off to reset the modem). Regular
reboots may not mean too much to Windows users, but I'm used to uptimes of two
weeks to a month on my machine... I'd go crazy having to reboot all the time
:)

>Most name brand name internal modems have 16550 UARTs built in, so you don't
>have to worry about this buffer on your existing COM port, since the modem's
>on-board UART overrides it.

Indeed, any existing COM ports that share an address with the internal modem
would have to be disabled (this can be a pain on some machines with nameless
multi-I/O cards sporting scads of unlabelled jumpers).

>Since I bought my USR 14.4 internal (wish I'd
>bought a 28.8 now), I haven't had a glitch.

>The $10-$30 difference between the
>internal (cheaper) and external (more expensive) model of the same make and
>model of modem is negligible to some, the deciding factor for others.

Until you have to reboot to reset your internal a few times... the extra $30
gets spent on Aspirin pretty quickly :)



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