Draytek – ISDNVigor128 review

USB ISDN terminal adapter
Photo of Draytek – ISDNVigor128
£130 + VAT

ISDN originally stood for ‘Integrated Services Digital Network’. After a few years it became ‘It Still Does Nothing’. But it seems that UK businesses, and even a few home users, are catching on to the idea that high speed digital communications knocks the socks off even the fastest 56K analogue modems. And, in turn, the cost of ISDN services to homes and offices have decreased significantly in recent years. So, perhaps, ‘It Seems Decent Now’.

Because ISDN is a digital connection, you need a terminal emulator rather than an analogue modem in order to connect to the outside world. About the same size as a mouse, the ISDNVigor128 is an external ISDN terminal adapter. There’s nothing exceptionally clever about that, but this particular TA connects to a host PC via the USB interface, which is pretty unusual. The advantages of the USB port include its high transfer speed, but there’s also the ease of use factor to take into account. Installation was a breeze; we simply plugged in the adapter, installed the software and were up and running in minutes.

The software bundled with this TA includes a miniport driver, a Group 3 fax module, a COM port emulation utility and a telephone-answering system with voicemail boxes. There’s also an information tool for verifying Caller ID, configuration settings and connection status. All this is sufficient to allow you to send and receive faxes, transfer files from one computer to another and – which will be most important for many users – browse the Web at a greater speed than would be possible using a modem.

Company: Draytek

Contact: 0118 981 0600


Verdict
This is ISDN made simple. No fussing with internal cards, IRQs, DMAs or other TLAs (three-letter acronyms). Just plug it into the back of your PC or iMac (you pay extra for a trendy-coloured one), install the software and away you go. With ISDN installation and line-rental costs dropping faster than [insert your own rude/funny simile here], solutions like this will ease the transition from analogue to digital communications for everyday users.