United Telephone
WebsiteCompass Your Guide to Understanding and Using the Internet
 


FAQ's: Modems
 

       
 

Which is better, an external modem or an internal modem?

What is the function of a dial-up modem?

When I have Outlook Express open I keep getting disconnected from the Internet after I send or receive my messages. How do I fix this problem?

Why does my modem connect at a speed lower than the speed with which it was advertised?

Q: Which is better, an external modem or an internal modem?

A: There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. External modems are easy to install. You can take them on the road with you and switch them from one computer to another. You can also reset an external modem without rebooting your computer. The downside of external modems is that they take up more desk space and add additional spaghetti (wires) behind your desk. Most new computers now come with internal modems preinstalled. Internal modems are not all alike, however. email your Internet Service Provider’s Help Desk before purchasing a new computer that contains a modem or software based modem. They’ve had first hand experience with a variety of modems and would know which type of modem best meets your specific connection needs.

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Q: What is the function of a dial-up modem?

A: A quality, high-performance dial-up modem performs the following five basic functions:
1. Dials and connects to external systems, i.e. gets you connected to the Internet.
2. Signal Processing – Understands & interprets telephone commands, i.e. dial tone, busy signal, connect, disconnect, etc.
3. Data Compression – Shrinks outgoing data so it is transferred faster and expands incoming data so the receiving computer recognizes it.
4. Error-Correction – Attempts to correct telephone line interference ... often called “static” or “noise.”
5. Flow Control – Controls the speed of the transfer of information so that it can be successfully sent and received.

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Q: When I have Outlook Express open I keep getting disconnected from the Internet after I send or receive my messages. How do I fix this problem?

A: You probably have Outlook Express set to hang up after sending or receiving your messages. If so, here are the steps you need to follow to fix the problem:

1. With Outlook Express open, click “Tools” then “Options.”
2. Next click on the “Connections” tab and uncheck the option that reads “Hang up after sending and receiving.”
3. Then click “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes and close the Options window.

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Q: Why does my modem connect at a speed lower than the speed with which it was advertised?

A: The name of modems—28.8, 33.6, 56k, etc.—can be a little misleading. These numbers indicate the fastest theoretical speeds of the modems and not the fastest real world speeds. A more ideal description would include the term “up to” 28.8, 33.6kbps, or 56k. Also, modems can not transmit data faster than the maximum speed of the line which data travels to reach your home. Maximum line speed is determined by many factors—including the distance between your home and your ISP, the quality of wiring, etc.

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