Should You Upgrade to V.92?

By: Stephen Buaro

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Should You Upgrade to V.92?

By Stephen Buaro

In 1998, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
approved the V.90 standard. This raised the fasted speed
of data transfer with a modem from 33.6Kbps(kilobits per
second) to 56Kbps. With this specification, modem
technology has reached the technological limit for
transferring data over plain old telephone lines.

In 2000, the ITU approved the V.92 standard. This
specification does not raise the transfer speed, but only
adds a few minor features. The "Modem On Hold" feature
applies call waiting to your Internet connection. If a
telephone call comes in while you are using your browser,
this feature lets you put your Internet connection on hold
while you answer the call. It works with Caller ID, so you
can identify the caller and decide whether to answer the
call.

Each time your modem connects, it has to negotiate a
protocol and speed with the other modem. The beeps and
tones you hear when your modem dials is that negotiation.
The "Quick Connect" feature makes the modem remember the
connection setting from the last time it connected to that
number, and it uses that setting to quickly reconnect.

V.90 modems, referred to as "56k modems" cannot actually
communicate at 56Kbps.

Because of the antiquated design of
the telephone system, signals with a frequency that high
would interfere with signals on adjacent circuits. This
phenomenon is called "cross talk". In order to prevent
cross talk, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
has set a limit on the power you can send over the
telephone line. A V.90 modem can usually transfer data at
only 44Kbs to 48Kbps.

In order for the new V.92 features to work, modems at
both end of the line must be capable of using the V.92
protocol. You can usually upgrade your modem to V.92 by
downloading and installing the latest driver from your
modem manufacturer’s Web site. Although V.92 does not
increase the maximum download speed, it does increase the
maximum upload speed from 33.6Kbps to 48Kbps. Many service
providers equipment’s bandwidth is already stretched to
the limit and they are not interested in upgrading to the
new standard.

A service provider has the option to disable the new V.92
features. They can set the amount of time a connection can
stay on hold. If you answer a call, don’t expect your
Internet connection to stay on hold for more than a few
minutes. A service provider may disable Quick Connect in
order to throttle the bandwidth back when his equipment is
reaching full utilization.

The V.92 standard is associated with the new V.44
compression standard. This standard increases the
compression ratio to 6:1 from the 4:1 ratio of the V.42bis
standard. When uncompressed, the data can be passed to
your computers UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver
Transmitter) at speeds up to 180Kbps. The standard UART
has a maximum speed of only 115.2Kbps.

Should you upgrade your modem’s driver to the new V.92
standard? With the V.90 specification, modem technology
has reached the technological limit for transferring data
over plain old telephone lines. The new V.92 standard only
adds a few trivial features. Many service providers are
not upgrading to the new standardFree Web Content, or are disabling the
new features. No need to hurry to upgrade your modem’s
driver.
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