Your New Modem Should Be V.92 Compliant

photo of John Michael Pierobon By: John Michael Pierobon

Twenty-seven months ago, I wrote an article entitled "Your new modem should be V.90 compliant". In Internet time, that was a long, long time ago.

Now there is a new international standard for modems, called V.92. Yes, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has done it again. The ITU is the entity responsible for setting modem standards, and the V.92 standard offers three major improvements over the V.90 standard of 1998.

V.92 offers a slightly faster upstream communication rate than V.90. The current V.90 standard allows for a maximum downstream (data-receiving) rate of 56 Kbps and a maximum upstream (data-sending) rate of 33.6 Kbps. The V.92 standard calls for a redesign of the upstream modulation which allows for a maximum upstream rate of 48 Kbps. Most people will not notice this improvement in speed as most people are downloading, rather than uploading.

What they will notice is a reduction in the time it takes to log on to their ISP. This is possible thanks to a new technology called "Quick Connect" which will cut the connection time in half. "Quick Connect" allows the modem to learn and remember the handshake between modems. Since most people always dial the same modem telephone number, the connection sequence is always the same. Once "Quick Connect" learns the handshake, all subsequent dial-up connections will take significantly less time to establish.

The third advantage that V.92 modems have over V.90 modems is the modem-on-hold feature, which uses the call-waiting service. Users can put a data call on hold, answer an inbound voice call and talk, depending on the ISP, for up to sixteen minutes, and then get back to the data call without losing the data connection. V.92 modems may include software that will warn the user when the ISP-determined time limit approaches, as well as display call-waiting and caller-id information. An ISP will want to limit the modem-on-hold feature because when the data connection is placed on hold, the ISP modem remains unavailable to other users. An ISP may need to add more modems to maintain quality of service if they enable this feature. While an ISP may charge extra for this feature, it does eliminate the need for a second telephone line at home.

So the advantanges of a V.92 modem over a V.90 modem are: faster upload speed, less time to establish the connneciton, and being able to place the modem on hold while taking a telephone call.

One might not need to go out and buy a new modem because most V.90 modems can be upgraded to V.92. Modem vendors have begun to offer upgrades on their Web sites.

In order to enjoy the benefits of the V.92 standard, the bank of modems at your ISP must also be V.92 compliant. This will begin to happen by the middle of 2001. Ask your ISP about their plans to become V.92 compliant. If they have none, tell them they will benefit because the V.92 standard leads to a more efficient use of their network architecture.

John Michael Pierobon is an Internet consultant based in Fort Lauderdale.
John Michael may be reached by sending electronic mail to

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