With all the talk in the media about broadband Internet connections, it’s easy to forget that the vast majority of UK home and small business users still have dial-up access to the Internet. The reasons for this vary – apathy, cost-consciousness and a realisation that you don’t need a ‘huge pipe’ to check e-mails and make occasional Web purchases. Like the gamers who need the latest 3D graphics cards, it’s only really people who regularly download large files (audio, video, graphics, etc.) or play online games who actually make proper use of broadband connections.
For the rest of us, dial-up is sufficient, especially with V.92 connections such as that offered by Creative’s Modem Blaster V.92 Serial. If supported by your ISP, this protocol allows for faster connection times, better upload speed and generally improved downloads through a new data compression system. If it’s not supported by your ISP, then you’ll be limited to V.90, which is still pretty quick. The theoretical maximum speed is 56Kbps, but you’re likely to be limited to around 44Kbps depending on where you live, as the actual performance depends on the quality of your local phone connection to the exchange.
So much for the theory, now on with the product review. The Modem Blaster V.92 Serial is, as the name suggests, an external modem that plugs into the serial port (although there are USB and PCI versions available too). The main benefit of this is that the modem has its own built-in processor, which many internal and some USB modems do not. That means it’s ideal for use on older PCs, because it doesn’t use the main CPU to handle the data modulation process. It’s also suitable for PCs without USB connections (obviously) or those where you don’t want to add another USB device to your already-overloaded chain of external gadgets.
The Modem Blaster V.92 Serial harks back to the olden days of modem design (i.e about 15 years go), because it has nine LEDs on the front panel that will tell you various things about its status. Aesthetically it’s pretty nice – the design looks good on the desktop and anyone who likes their electronics to have flashing lights will be very pleased. There’s a separate mains transformer and an on/off switch at the rear, and the modem comes with the necessary phone cable too.
Driver software is included and you also have the option of installing the FaxTalk communications software, which can set up voicemail boxes and fax boxes, among other things. Hardware and software installation is painless and we were up and running within ten minutes. The modem does what it’s supposed to without fuss and generally performs well.
Contact: 01189 344322