March 3, 1997 10:00 AM ET

56K-bps modem lagging
USR's x2 unit not twice as fast

By Michael Caton


Dial-up networking should get a boost from upcoming 56K-bps modems, but if the first 56K-bps unit is any indication of how fast this new class of modems will be and how easily they'll fit in at corporate sites, companies should temper their expectations. The $395 Courier V.Everything modem with x2 technology, which U.S. Robotics Corp. began shipping last week, proved between 20 percent and 27 percent faster than a 28.8K-bps modem in PC Week Labs' preliminary tests, far from the 100 percent jump implied by the x2 in the modem's name. Lack of a standard for 56K-bps modems (see "Merger will force 56K-bps decision") and problems with duplexed phone lines and PBXes also should hold up corporate deployment.

The Courier V.Everything and upcoming competitors don't support modem-to-modem connections because the analog-to-digital conversion in PBXes is a bottleneck to throughput. To help work around this problem, U.S. Robotics offers dial-in switches.

For PC Week Labs' tests, we dialed in to one of those switches at U.S. Robotics and downloaded files from the site using FTP.

U.S. Robotics, of Skokie, Ill., can be reached at (800) 877-2677 or

U.S. Robotics' Courier is the first 56K-bps modem with x2 technology.

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