You've heard of these x2 &/or 56K modems on the market now - some of you even already have one.

There are 2 standards against which the newest modems are designed: x2 and 56K . In actuality neither standard has been approved and probably wont be until mid or late 1998. Trouble is - a recent merger between 3COM and USRobotics - the proposed standard is already being re-written! Stay tuned - this remains a BIG issue!

So - most manufacturers of modems designed to either standard will be offering free or near-free software patches to be downloaded and applied when this issue settles. Other companies will offer a 'free but for shipping costs' replacement of your current x2 or 56K modem.

However, when the higher modem speeds are enabled, you will get the higher throughput speeds in one direction only : downloading, that is, from a web site to you. Transmissions from your machine will go out at 33.6k .

Can New Mexico phone lines support 56K modems? No - NONE CAN. It is against federal law to transmit data over phone lines faster than 54k! In actuality, outside of test lab conditions, you wont see throughput over 44k !!!!!!! Perhaps this law will be dealt with next year?

You can look at the web site: to get directions on how to dial into the USRobotics bulletin-board to test your phone connection. I have already and was told:

"x2 is possible on this connection, but you are likely to experience reduced performance..."

say no more - this is New Mexico!

What was being tested by this act was (1) my physical phone line and (2) the equipment at my Internet Service Provider, RT66. Though that is the result, for me, right now, of this test - I wouldn't be at all surprised to see our local ISPs changing their hardware as the ratification of the 56K standard is settled next year.

Currently you can anticipate maximum throughput speeds of 1/10 of the rated speed of your modem: 28.8 -> 2.8 K/sec

33.6 -> 3.3 K/sec

With some software tweaks to Windows95 dial-up-networking settings I have consistently achieved a download throughput of 3.3 K/sec. I plan to stay with my 33.6 modem - for quite a while.

* source: PCMAG, Oct 21 1997, pg 100.