A Question About Modems in General

  canute44 08:11 11 Nov 05

I have recently become aware that there are other types of modem than just USB.
Can anyone give the pros and cons of the various types - USB, ethernet, serial, wired, wireless, modem/router, modem/switch etc etc etc?
Obviously one point would be the need to have/acquire the relevant connectors on the PC. Perhaps a pointer to a good website could be helpful.

  Diodorus Siculus 08:44 11 Nov 05

click here for all you need to know.

  mgmcc 08:47 11 Nov 05

Modems for what:

- Dialup?

- Fax?



- Cable broadband?

Assuming that you mean ADSL broadband, there are essentially internal PCI cards, Modems that connect externally by USB and modems that connect externally by Ethernet. These are all for a single computer to connect to the ADSL broadband service.

To network two or more computers so that they can have independent internet access, a combined "Router/ADSL Modem" is used. This has the function of the modem, a router to "route" the internet traffic to the appropriate computer in the network and, usually, also a 4-port network switch. Wireless versions additinally incorporate a Wireless Access Point.

ISPs generally provide free "cheap & nasty" USB modems because that is the least expensive option for them. USB was not designed as a networking technology, whereas ethernet was, and many of the problems with USB modems arise from their drawing excessive power from the Universal Serial Bus.

Wireless solutions for broadband involve the use of a Wireless Router and Wireless Network Adapters in the connecting PCs. USB WiFi adapters tend to be less problematical than USB modems, but again there are internal PCI cards and, for laptops, PCMCIA adapters.

Serial connected modems tend to be Dialup modems using V.90 or V.92 protocols. These are proper hardware modems, unlike many of the internal (again cheap & nasty) "Winmodems" which rely on the PC's operating system to do much of the signal processing which the modem hardware should be doing. They are more efficient and should sustain higher data transfer speeds than "Winmodems". Also, Winmodems generally require Windows as the operating system before they will work - install Linux and you have no functioning modem!

  canute44 09:15 11 Nov 05

Good Morning Diodorus Siculus!
Many thanks for the reference in the wiki. I shall spend a bit of time later reading through that.

Hi mgmcc!
I was thinking in terms of ADSL and possible linking up of two PCs at home but not via wireless equipment. It was interesting to see your reference to Linux as this is what sparked off my research. With Mandriva 2005LE, I found no problems with my (shock, horror) tiscali Sagem USB modem but changing over to Suse 10 it has been a right pain in the B. I saw a reference to using ethernet but then discovered the subject was not so simple. My PC is not equiped with an ethernet socket and it does not appear to have a spare serial socket. Hence my question.
You have both given me food for thought but any further observations would be most welcome!

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