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                   What You Need To Know About Modems

December 25, 1991 Version 1.0

Copyright © 1991 Patrick Chen. All rights reserved. Distribution Notice: This document may be distributed by electronic bulletin boards and commercial on-line services. This document may not be edited or changed in any way for redistribution.

This article is Part One of a three-part report entitled "The Joy of Telecomputing." As a plain ASCII file, it cannot contain any of the illustrations and graphic elements provided in the printed version. For further information about "The Joy of Telecomputing," see Appendix C.

This article should be useful to anyone interested in high-speed modems (or 2400 bps modems with MNP-5 or V.42bis). Most modems mentioned in this article are external units. These modems can be used on any microcomputer system, be it a PC, a Macintosh or an Amiga. Although only certain communication programs are used as examples, the discussions about setting up software apply to packages not covered herein.

It is assumed that the reader knows the basics about going online. For example, we would not discuss how to connect an external modem to your computer, nor would we explain what 8-N-1 means.

This file is in the IBM ASCII format. Each line ends with a linefeed and a carriage return. If you use a Macintosh, open the file with a text editor and get rid of the linefeeds. (I recommend McSink, a shareware text editor widely available. Just launch McSink and open the file, then choose the Convert menu and select Strip Linefeeds.)

To print this document, use a 10-pitch (12 characters per inch) mono-spaced font such as Courier.

Every effort has been made to supply complete and accurate information. However, information contained herein is subject to change without notice and should not be construed as a commitment by the author who assumes no responsibilities for any errors that may appear.

Trademarks: The author has attempted throughout this document to distinguish proprietary trademarks from discriptive terms by following the capitalization style used by the manufacturer.

CONTENTS Introduction Modulation Protocols

   2400 bps modems
   High-speed modems
        U.S. Robotics HST
        Telebit PEP
        Hayes Express 96
        CompuCom CSP
   Things to come

Error Control Protocols

   V.42 and MNP-4
   V.42 & MNP-4 can provide error-free connections
   V.42 and MNP-4 can improve throughput
   Are MNP 4/V.42 useful?

Data Compression Protocols

   MNP-5 & V.42bis
   Are MNP-5 & V.42bis useful?
   Compression by Software vs. MNP-5/V.42bis
   Local Flow Control and Data Buffering
   Macintosh and high-speed modems
   PC and UART

Profiles of High-speed modems

   ATI 9600etc/e
   CompuCom SpeedModem Champ/Star/Storm
   Hayes modems
   Image Communications: Twincom 96/42
   Intel 9600EX & 14.4EX
   Practical peripherals PM9600SA & PM9600
   Prometheus modems
   Telebit modems
   U.S. Robotics modems
   Zoom V.32 Turbo Modems
   Things to come

Buying a High-speed Modem

   Should you pay the extra for a V.32bis modem?
   Should you buy a modem with a proprietary modulation protocol?
   Should you buy a 2400 bps modem with V.42bis?
   Beware of the ads

Setting Up Software to Work with High-speed Modems

   The Proper Software Setup
   Does Your Software Initialize the Modem Properly?
   Does Your Software Configure Itself to Match the Modem Settings?
   Why You May Need to Change the Initialization String
   Editing the Initialization String
   Match Software Settings To the Modem Settings

Configuring Popular Communications Software to Work with High-speed Modems

   Procomm 2.0
   HyperAccess 5
   Crosstalk for Windows
   MicroPhone II (for Macintosh)
   ZTerm (for Macintosh)

Other Settings for Your Communications Software

   Telephone Number
   Dial String: ATDT
   8-N-1 or 7-E-1 (data bits-parity-stop bits)
   Half vs. Full Duplex: Local Echo
   Terminal Emulation
   Comm Port
   File Transfer Protocols
        Which file transfer protocol should you use?

Appendix A: Resources Appendix B: How to reach the author Appendix C: About "The Joy of Telecomputing"


   Buying and using a modem used to be relatively easy. Not so long ago,
   almost all modems are 1200 or 2400 bps units and they are all compatible
   with the Hayes Smartmodems (although some are more Hayes-compatible than
   others). How time has changed.
   Today, modems not only run faster, they are also loaded with features
   like error control and data compression. Suddenly, you are confronted
   with all the buzzwords: V.32, V.32bis, V.42, V.42bis, MNP-5, LAP-M, etc.
   What do they mean? And what do they mean to you?
   To make the most of a high-speed modem, you need to understand three
   different kinds of protocols and the relationships among them. They are
   the modulation protocols, error control protocols and data compression

Modulation Protocols

   Modem stands for MOdulator/DEModulator. A modem converts digital signals
   generated by the computer into analog signals which can be transmitted
   over a telephone line and transforms incoming analog signals into their
   digital equivalents.
   The specific techniques used to encode the digital bits into analog
   signals are called modulation protocols. The various modulation
   protocols define the exact methods of encoding and the data transfer
   speed. In fact, you cannot have a modem without modulation protocols. A
   modem typically supports more than one modulation protocols.
   The raw speed (the speed without data compression) of a modem is
   determined by the modulation protocols. High-speed modems are modems
   that feature modulation protocols at 9600 bps or higher. A 2400 bps
   modem with data compression that can theoretically yield a 9600 bps
   throughput is not a high-speed modem.
   "CCITT" is a French acronym for the International Telegraph and
   Telephone Consultative Committee. CCITT, a United Nations agency, is an
   international telecommunications standards committee that makes
   recommendations on a broad range of subjects concerning data
2400 bps Modems
   A 2400 bps Hayes-compatible modem typically supports the following
   modulation protocols:
   Bell 103         (300 bps U.S. Standard)
   Bell 212A        (1200 bps U.S. Standard)
   CCITT V.22       (1200 bps standard used outside the U.S.)
   CCITT V.22bis    (2400 bps International Standard)
   Some 2400 bps modems also support the following protocols:
   CCITT V.21       (300 bps standard used outside the U.S.)
   CCITT V.23       (1200/75 and 75/1200 bps, used in Europe)
   In the past, most 2400 bps modems do not support any error correction or
   data compression protocols. Recently, however, many modem manufacturers
   have introduced 2400 bps modems with extra features like data
   compression, error correction and fax capability.
High-speed Modems
   There are two standard modulation protocols for high-speed modems: V.32
   and V.32bis. Both are standards established by the CCITT.
   This is the standard for 9600 (and 4800) bps modems. CCITT V.32 is
   adopted by the CCITT in 1984. But the market has not taken off until
   recently. V.32 modems used to cost more than modems using proprietary
   modulation protocols (Hayes introduced the Smartmodem 9600, a V.32
   modem, in 1988 with a $1999 price tag). But it is no longer true. At
   present, street prices for most V.32 modem are below $500. Every modem
   manufacturer is making V.32 modems now. Packet-switching networks like
   Sprintnet (Telenet) and CompuServe are also starting to support V.32
   modems. Companies that make modems with proprietary modulation protocols
   are making modems with "dual standard." U.S. Robotics, Telebit, Hayes
   and CompuCom all have modems that support V.32 and their own proprietary
   V.32bis, established in early 1991, is the CCITT standard for 14400 bps
   modems. A V.32bis modem also can fall back to 12000, 9600, 7200 and 4800
   bps. V.32bis is downwardly compatible with V.32.
   Unlike 2400 bps modems where a single modulation protocol (V.22bis) is
   supported by all modem makers, there are several proprietary modulation
   protocols used by modems from different manufacturers.
   U.S. Robotics HST (High Speed Technology)
   Until the recent surge of V.32 modems, the U.S. Robotics HST was the de
   facto standard in the PC-based BBS community. U.S. Robotics introduced
   the Courier HST modem in 1986 and pioneered the market for high-speed
   modems in the IBM PC environment. The immense popularity of the HST
   modems was partly due to the generous discount program U.S. Robotics
   offered to the BBS Sysops (SYStem OPerators). Many modem manufacturers
   have implemented similar Sysop discount programs, but most BBS sysops
   remain loyal to the U.S. Robotics modems.
   The original Courier HST modem ran at 9600 bps. U.S. Robotics later
   improved the speed of the Courier HST to 14400 bps.
   Although U.S. Robotics remains committed to the HST modems, there are
   now three different high-speed Courier modems available: the Courier HST
   (which only supports the HST protocol), the Courier V.32bis (which only
   supports V.32bis) and the Courier HST Dual Standard (which supports both
   the HST and the V.32bis protocols).
   Telebit PEP (Packetized Ensemble Protocol)
   Telebit introduced the TrailBlazer in 1985 that employed a proprietary
   modulation protocol called PEP. While the Courier HST is popular among
   BBS, Telebit modems dominate the UNIX UUCP and Usenet communities.
   (Usenet, UUCP and the Internet are discussed in Part II of "The Joy of
   The TrailBlazer Plus owes its success partly to its built-in support for
   the UUCP g-protocol, thus allowing efficient and flawless UUCP session.
   PEP also performs well even with noisy telephone lines. The actual
   throughput is around 14400 bps. The TrailBlazer Plus has an installed
   base of more than 120,000 units.
   Telebit also introduced a cheaper (and slower) PEP modem, the T1000, in
   Hayes Express 96
   Hayes entered the high-speed modem arena in 1987 with the introduction
   of the V-series Smartmodem 9600. The modem used a proprietary modulation
   protocol called Express 96 (also known as Hayes "Ping Pong" protocol).
   The V-series modems have not been as successful as the U.S. Robotics or
   the Telebit modems.
   CompuCom CSP (CompuCom Speed Protocol)
   While every modem manufacturer is jumping on the V.32 bandwagon,
   CompuCom bucked the trend and came out with the SpeedModem Champ in
   early 1991. It's a 9600 bps modem with a proprietary modulation
   protocol called CSP. The SpeedModem Champ has one strong selling point.
   It is the only modem with a proprietary protocol that costs less than a
   generic V.32 modem. The internal SpeedModem Champ is priced at $169. An
   external version is available for $199. Hundreds of PC-based bulletin
   board systems have installed the SpeedModem Champ. The Champ also works
   as a Hayes-compatible 2400 bps modem with MNP 2-4 error control and
   MNP-5 data compression.
   Two modems can establish a connection only when they share a common
   modulation protocol. To connect at high speed, two modems have to
   support the same high-speed modulation protocol. Therefore, a modem with
   a proprietary modulation protocol can only establish a high-speed
   connection with another modem from the same manufacturer. A U.S.
   Robotics HST modem can only establish a high-speed connection (at 9600
   or 14400 bps) with another HST or an USR Dual Standard modem. A Courier
   HST modem cannot establish a high-speed connection with a Courier
   V.32bis modem. They can only connect at 2400 bps. (All high-speed modems
   in the market support the CCITT V.22bis modulation protocol).
   On the other hand, two V.32 modems can talk to each other at 9600 bps.
   They do not have to be from the same manufacturer. Two V.32bis modems
   can talk to each other at 14400 bps. A V.32 modem can talk to a V.32bis
   modem at 9600 bps.
Things to come
   CCITT is working on a new modem standard, dubbed If all goes
   well, the next modem standard can materialize before 1993. A
   modem is expected to reach a raw speed of 19,200-24,000 bps over
   standard dial-up telephone lines.
   In a couple of years we may not need modems at all. Integrated Services
   Digital Network (ISDN) has been coming for years. When will ISDN really
   become available for the rest of us? It depends on your local telephone
   company. It is estimated that by the end of 1994 about half the
   telephone connections in the U.S. will has access to it. With ISDN, you
   won't need a modem since no modulation or demodulation will be
   necessary. You will need an ISDN adapter instead.
   An ISDN line carries three digital channels: two "B" channels that carry
   various kinds of data at 64,000 bps and a "D" channel at 16,000 bps that
   can carry control signals or serve as a third data channel.
   A single ISDN channel can transfer uncompressed data bidirectionally at
   64,000 bps. Combine that with a data compression scheme and you will be
   able to transfer data at hundreds of kilobits per second.
   Eventually, ISDN will provide widely available, low-cost digital
   communications for voice and data communication. Until ISDN is firmly in
   place, high-speed modems will be with us for a while.

Error Control (Error-Correcting, Error Correction) Protocols

   Besides high-speed modulation protocols, all current models of
   high-speed modems also support error control and data compression
V.42 and MNP-4
   There are two standards for error control protocols: MNP 4 and V.42. The
   Microcom Networking Protocol, MNP, is developed by Microcom. MNP 2 to 4
   are error correction protocols. MNP-5 is a data compression protocol.
   V.42 is established by CCITT. V.42 actually incorporates two error
   control schemes. V.42 uses LAP-M (Link Access Procedure for Modems) as
   the primary scheme and includes MNP-4 as the alternate scheme.
   Therefore, a V.42 modem will be able to establish an error-controlled
   connection with a modem that only supports MNP 4.
   A modem that uses a proprietary modulation protocol may also use a
   non-standard error control protocol. For example, Hayes V-series
   Smartmodem 9600 supports an error control protocol called LAP-B.
   CompuCom's SpeedModem Champ also uses a non-standard error control
V.42 & MNP-4 can provide error-free connections
   Modems without error control protocols, such as most 2400 bps
   Hayes-compatible modems, cannot provide error-free data communications.
   The noise and other phone line anomalies are beyond the capabilities of
   any standard modem to deliver error-free data.
   V.42 (and MNP 2-4) copes with the phone line impairments by filtering
   out the line noise and automatically retransmitting corrupted data. If
   you have used a standard Hayes-compatible modem, you probably notice
   some garbled characters (like "@8d_\nw`[ce") show up on your screen from
   time to time. When two modems establish an error-controlled connection,
   they are said to have a reliable link and are capable of filtering out
   those garbled characters caused by the line noise. Notice that the line
   noise is still there, it just does not show up on your screen or the
   screen on the remote system.
   The filtering process used by V.42 (and MNP 2-4) is similar to the error
   correction scheme used by file transfer protocols (such as Xmodem). The
   two modems use a sophisticated algorithm to make sure that the data
   received match with the data sent. If there is a discrepancy, the data
   is resent.
   What is the difference between error control protocols (such as V.42)
   and file transfer protocols (such as Xmodem)?
   For one thing, file transfer protocols provide error detection and
   correction only during file transfers. File transfer protocols do not
   provide any error control when you are reading e-mail messages or
   chatting with other people online. In other words, an error control
   protocol is "on" all the time during your online session and file
   transfer protocols are "on" only some of the times, namely when you are
   sending or receiving files.
   Even though an error control protocol is "on" all the time, we still
   need file transfer protocols when two modems establish a reliable link.
   A modem works with bit streams, timing and tones. It does not understand
   what a file is. When you download or upload a file, your communications
   software needs to take care of the details related to the file: the
   filename, file size, etc. This is handled by the file transfer protocol
   which does more than error-checking.
   Some file transfer protocols, most notably Ymodem-g and Imodem, are
   developed to handle file transfer without performing any error-checking.
   The idea of using a protocol like Ymodem-g is to eliminate the
   redundancy thus improve the transfer speed. Ymodem-g and Imodem should
   only be used with modems that provide built-in error control protocols.
   These file transfer protocols do not provide any error-detection or
   recovery capability. If a problem occurs during the file transfer, the
   transfer session will be aborted.
   Protocols like Ymodem-g or Imodem depend on the modems to provide
   assurance for the integrity of data being transferred. However, you
   should know that a reliable link between two modems does not provide
   absolute guarantee for the data integrity during file transfer. When you
   call a remote computer, there are really three links involved in the
   process. Besides the link between the two modems, there are still one
   link between your computer and your modem and another link between the
   remote modem and the remote computer. When two modems make a reliable
   connection using V.42 or MNP 4, only the data integrity between the two
   modems is ensured. It is still possible for errors to occur at either
   end between the serial port and the modem (in the cable) or in the
   computer itself. (Fortunately, such errors are rare.)
   For extra protection, you may still want to use a file transfer protocol
   - such as Zmodem - which also performs error checking even if you have a
   reliable link with the remote system. There is a common misconception
   that Ymodem-g is much faster than other file transfer protocols.
   Although Ymodem-g is significantly faster than Ymodem, it offers little
   over Zmodem. Zmodem has proven to be extremely efficient. (See benchmark
      Filename          Ymodem      Ymodem-g      Zmodem
      the-wave.txt      1527 cps    3261 cps      3296 cps
      dayrpt.arc         761        1042          1025
      dayrpt.wks        1244        2314          2337
      sunset.arc         745         987           965
      sunset.pic        1297        2594          2588
      text109k.arc       814        1089          1064
      text109k.txt      1351        2812          2885
      Note: The seven test files used throughout this article are available
      on the Hayes BBS (800-874-2937). It is an excellent source for
      information about Hayes products. The BBS also provides a database
      for thousands of BBS in the U.S. Best of all, it is free.
      Unless noted otherwise, the results are obtained by using the
      Computer: Mac SE with Mobius Two Page Display with 68030 accelerator
      Modem: ATI 9600etc/e (the modem is set as V.32 with V.42bis enabled)
      Operating System: System 7.0
      Communication Software: ZTerm (Comm port speed set to 38400 bps)
      File Transfer Protocol: Zmodem
      All results are reported by ZTerm. (I use several communication
      programs on both IBM PC and Mac. All of them show the average
      throughput while file transfer is in progress, but ZTerm actually
      produces a report after the transfer is completed).
V.42 & MNP-4 can improve throughput
   The other benefit of V.42 (or MNP 4) is that it can improve throughput.
   Before sending the data to a remote system, a modem with V.42 (or MNP 4)
   assembles the data into packets and during that process it is able to
   reduce the size of the data by stripping out the start and stop bits.
   A character typically takes up 1 start bit, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit
   for a total of 10 bits. When two modems establish a reliable link using
   V.42 or MNP 4, the sending modem strips the start and stop bits (which
   subtracts 20% of the data) and sends the data to the other end. The
   receiving modem then reinserts the start and stop bits and pass the data
   to the remote computer.
   Therefore, even without compressing the data you can expect to see as
   much as 1150 characters per second on a 9600 bps connection. (Although
   the modem subtracts 20% of the data, the speed increase is less than 20%
   due to the overhead incurred by the error control protocol.) Here are
   the test results obtained by downlaoding the same file (1) without any
   error control protocol, (2) with MNP-4, and (3) with V.42. No data
   compression protocol is used.
      Filename               No EC        MNP-4        V.42
      the-wave.txt           935 cps      1151 cps     1128 cps
      dayrpt.arc             863          1023         1002
      dayrpt.wks             898          1071         1052
      sunset.arc             838           971          953
      sunset.pic             903          1080         1065
      text109k.arc           908          1085         1064
      text109k.txt           937          1150         1127
Are MNP4 and V.42 useful?
   Absolutely. Anyone that has ever used a standard modem can appreciate
   the benefit of an error-free connection. And the increase in data
   throughput, though modest, is nothing to sneeze at.

Data Compression Protocols

   Besides error control protocols, all current high-speed modems also
   support data compression protocols. That means the sending modem will
   compress the data on-the-fly and the receiving modem will decompress the
   data to its original form.
MNP-5 and V.42bis
   There are two standards for data compression protocols, MNP-5 and CCITT
   V.42bis. Some modems also use proprietary data compression protocols.
   A modem cannot support data compression without utilizing an error
   control protocol, although it is possible to have a modem that only
   supports an error control protocol but not any data compression
   protocol. A MNP-5 modem requires MNP 4 error control protocol and a
   V.42bis modem requires V.42 error control protocol.
   Also note that although V.42 include MNP-4, V.42bis does not include
   MNP-5. However, virtually all high-speed modems that support CCITT
   V.42bis also incorporate MNP-5.
   The maximum compression ratio that a MNP-5 modem can achieve is 2:1.
   That is to say, a 9600 bps MNP-5 modem can transfer data up to 19200
   bps. The maximum compression ratio for a V.42bis modem is 4:1. That is
   why all those V.32 modem manufacturers claim that their modems provide
   throughput up to 38400 bps.
Are MNP-5 and V.42bis useful?
   Don't be fooled by the claim. It is extremely rare, if ever, that you
   will be able to transfer files at 38400 bps. In fact, V.42bis and MNP-5
   are not very useful when you are downloading files from online services.
   How well the modem compression works depends on what kind of files are
   being transferred. In general, you will be able to achieve twice the
   speed for transferring a standard text file (like the one you are
   reading right now). Decreasing by 50% means that you can double the
   throughput on the line so that a 9600 bps modem can effectively transmit
   19200 bps.
   V.42bis and MNP-5 modem cannot compress a file which is already
   compressed by software. In the case of MNP-5, it will even try to
   compress a precompressed file and actually expand it, thus slow down the
   file transfer! Here are the test results obtained by downloading the
   three compressed files using (1) MNP-4 without data compression, (2)
   MNP-5, (3) V.42 without data compression, and (4) V.42bis.
      Filename          MNP-4         MNP-5         V.42         V.42bis
      dayrpt.arc        1023 cps      946           1002         1010
      sunset.arc         971          935            953          950
      text109k.arc      1085          988           1064         1053
   If you have ever downloaded files from a BBS or online service, you know
   that almost all files are in a compressed format. Therefore, you should
   only expect to see an actual throughput between 950 to 1100 cps even if
   your V.32/V.42bis modem is supposed to offer throughput "up to" 38400
   Most PC files are in the ZIP format. Macintosh files are typically in
   the .SIT (Stuffit) or .CPT (Compact Pro) format. Amiga files are usually
   in the ZOO, ARC or LZH format. Note that GIF files are also in a
   compressed format.
Compression by Software vs. MNP-5/V.42bis
   There are several reasons why compression software programs (such as
   PKZIP or Stuffit) are superior to MNP-5 or V.42bis.
   1. Compressed files save disk storage space.
   2. Compression software programs are more versatile. Most of them allow
      you to group several files in a compressed file archive to ensure
      that all the related files get transferred at the same time.
   3. Software compression is more efficient than on-the-fly modem
      compression. In the case of a small file, this may not make much
      difference. But the difference can be significant when you are
      transferring large files.
      Filename          Size               Time           Throughput
      the-wave.txt      143579 bytes       43 seconds     3296 cps
      dayrpt.arc          8423 bytes        8 seconds     1010 cps
      dayrpt.wks         19712 bytes        8 seconds     2337 cps
      sunset.arc          5084 bytes        5 seconds      950 cps
      sunset.pic         16391 bytes        6 seconds     2643 cps
      text109k.arc       29775 bytes       28 seconds     1053 cps
      text109k.txt      111386 bytes       39 seconds     2822 cps
   As we can see from the test results, it is about 30% faster to transfer
   the compressed file text109k.arc than to download the text file with
   Hayes BBS does not provide a compressed version for the file
   the-wave.txt. Using PKZIP (for PC) and Stuffit (for Macintosh), we
   obtain the following results: 6812 bytes (PKZIP)
   the-wave.sit: 6081 bytes (Stuffit)
   Assuming a transfer speed of 1000 cps, the compressed file can be
   downloaded in 7 seconds. That's six times faster than downloading the
   text file with V.42bis!
   Here is another example. Spider Island Software BBS (714-730-5785) has a
   test file called One-Minute Max. It is a Macintosh TIFF file (file size
   206,432 bytes). According to Spider Island Software, the file can be
   downloaded in 56 seconds (with an effective throughput of 3745cps) with
   a V.32/V.42bis modem.
   The result may seem impressive at first. However, the file can be
   compressed to 6065 bytes (with Compact Pro) or 7385 bytes (with
   Stuffit). Assuming a transfer speed of 1000 cps, it would only take 6-8
   seconds to transfer. Again, it is seven to nine times faster than
   downloading the file with V.42bis.
   On-the-fly modem compression does have one advantage. It is more
   convenient. You can send a file without compressing it first and the
   recipient does not need to decompress the file.
Local Flow Control and Data Buffering
   To get the most from a modem with data compression, you'll want to send
   data from your PC to the modem as quickly as possible. If the modem is
   idle and waiting for the computer to send data, you are not getting the
   maximum performance from the modem.
   For example, you have a V.32/V.42bis modem and you want to send a text
   file to a remote system which also has a V.32/V.42bis modem. Let's
   assume the modem is able to send the file at 20000 bps using V.42bis. If
   your computer is sending data to your modem at 9600 bps, your modem will
   have to stop and wait to receive data from your computer.
   To get the maximum performance, you want to set the computer to send
   data to the modem at 38400 bps (the maximum a V.32/V.42bis modem can
   achieve). Since the modem can only send the file to the other modem at
   20000 bps, it will never have to wait.
   Here are the test results for downloading the text file the-wave.txt by
   setting the communication port at different speeds:
   the-wave.txt:    946 cps (modem port speed 9600 bps)
                    1885 cps (modem port speed 19200 bps)
                    3296 cps (modem port speed 38400 bps)
   However, there is a new problem. Since your computer is sending data
   faster than the modem can handle, there needs to be some ways for the
   modem to ask the computer to stop sending data. Otherwise, data loss is
   sure to occur. This is where local flow control comes into play.
   A high-speed modem typically supports two kinds of local flow control:
   hardware handshaking (CTS/RTS) and software handshaking (XON/XOFF). Of
   the two, hardware flow control is the preferred method.
   We have mentioned earlier that there are three links involved when you
   are connected to a remote system:
   1. The link between your computer and your modem
   2. The link between the modems
   3. The link between the remote modem and the remote computer
   Local flow control is used for the first and third links. Notice that
   the first link may not use the same kind of flow control as the third
   Hardware flow control (or hardware handshaking) works by altering
   voltage levels on the RTS (Request To Send) and CTS (Clear To Send)
   signal lines at the RS232 serial interface between the modem and the
   CTS is used by the modem on the sending end of a transmission. When the
   local modem is ready to receive data, it sends the CTS signal to the
   local computer and the computer starts transferring data. If the modem
   is unable to accept the data as fast as it is received from the
   computer, the modem will disable the CTS to inform the computer that the
   modem buffer is almost full (A high-speed modem typically contains a
   small amount of RAM which is used to provide data buffers). The computer
   will then suspend data transfer. Once the local modem has emptied its
   buffer by transmitting data to the remote modem, it will enable CTS
   RTS is used by the computer on the receiving end of a transmission. When
   the computer cannot accept data at the rate at which the modem is
   passing data, it will disable RTS. The computer enables RTS again when
   it is ready to resume receiving data from the modem.
   Software flow control (or software handshaking) is achieved by embedding
   control character in the data stream. XON and XOFF are the most commonly
   used control characters. XON is also known as Control-Q or DC3 (ASCII
   19) while XOFF is known as Control-S or DC1 (ASCII 17).
   The use of XON and XOFF during data transfer can create problem when a
   binary file contain the Control-S (^S) character as a legitimate part of
   the data. Do not use this method if ^S and ^Q are part of the
   transmitted data.
Macintosh and High-speed Modems
   If you use a Macintosh with a high-speed modem, you will need a special
   modem cable that is wired correctly to support hardware handshaking. You
   can order the cable from most mail-order companies that sell high-speed
   modems. I got mine from Maya Computer (800-541-2318) for $10 (plus $2.50
   for shipping & handling).
   Unfortunately, the cable did not work with my SE. The cable is good
   since it worked fine on a Mac IIsi. It just refused to work on my SE. I
   was disappointed but not surprised. After all, my SE is equipped with a
   25 Mhz 68030 accelerator. (Well, it is actually both an accelerator and
   a video adapter for a 19 inch dual-page monitor.) Since I will never
   want to run my SE without the accelerator, I have no choice but to use
   software handshaking.
PC and UART (8250, 16450, 16550)
   Your PC's serial port has a UART (Universal Asynchronous
   Receiver/Transmitter) chip to control the input/output. The XT usually
   has an 8250 UART, the AT usually has a 16450 UART. If you are running
   Windows, Desqview, OS/2 or any other multitasking environment, you
   should upgrade your UART with the 16550 (if your PC does not already
   have one). The 16550 is standard in most IBM PS/2 and many 386-based
   computers. The 16550 UART has a 16 bytes FIFO (first in, first out)
   buffer that helps to prevent degradation when several programs are
   running at the same time.
   If you use an external modem, the UART is in your computer (either on
   the motherboard or on an I/O card that has the serial port). If you use
   an internal modem, the UART is on the modem. (Both internal modems from
   Practical Peripherals and Zoom use the 16550 UART. The Twincom 96/42
   uses a 16450. The CompuCom SpeedModem Champ, due to its unique design,
   does not use a standard UART.)
   Even if you have a 16550 UART, the communication software that you use
   will need to support it. Fortunately, the most recent versions of
   popular communications programs are all designed to support the 16550
   Hayes ESP (Enhanced Serial Port)
   Hayes makes an adapter called Enhanced Serial Port (ESP) that has two
   serial ports complete with an on-board coprocessor. The ESP can save
   your PC's CPU from having to manage the work load. If a 16550 UART is
   not good enough for you, the ESP may be the only answer.

Profiles of High-speed Modems

Here are profiles of some high-speed modems. The list is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be. Unless noted otherwise, the street price quoted are from PC Connection (800-243-8088) in PC Magazine (12/31/91). PC Connection generally does not offer the lowest price, but the service is excellent. I have dealt with PC Connection and MacConnection (800-800-4444) for years and have yet to be disappointed with their services.

Unless noted otherwise, a V.32/V.42bis modem supports V.32, MNP2-5, V.42/V.42bis. And a V.32bis/V.42bis modem supports V.32bis, MNP 2-5, V.42/V.42bis. Most modems listed here are introduced in the past eighteen months.

ATI 9600etc/e
   ATI Technologies is well known for their video adapters. But they also
   make a V.32/V.42bis external modem. As of this writing, it is the least
   expensive external modem from an established manufacturer. It is a
   generic high-speed modem that works well. The street price for the ATI
   9600etc/e is $379.
   I have been using an ATI 9600etc/e for several months now and I am very
   pleased with it. I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking
   for an affordable V.32/V.42bis modem.
   There are two things I really like about the ATI modem:
   * It has a slide volume control on the outside so you can easily adjust
     the volume by hand.
   * It has factory settings for three different modes: V.32 only, V.32
     with MNP-5, V.32 with V.42bis. It is very convenient if you need to
     initialize the modem in different ways.
CompuCom SpeedModem Champ/Star/Storm
   The SpeedModem Champ is a 9600 bps high-speed modem with CompuCom's
   proprietary CSP modulation protocol. It is introduced in early 1991. It
   can be ordered from CompuCom directly at a discount price of $169. The
   CompuCom Champ is supported by hundreds of BBS in the U.S., including
   heavyweights such as EXEC-PC and Channel 1.
   CompuCom also markets the SpeedModem Combo which is a SpeedModem Champ
   with fax and voice mail capabilities. The current price is $269.
   The SpeedModem Storm is a dual-mode modem. It supports both CSP and
   V.32/V.42bis. The discount price is $299 (internal) and $339 (external).
   The Storm is also available with fax and voice mail options for an
   additional $90.
   The SpeedModem Star is also a dual-mode modem. It supports both CSP and
   V.32bis/V.42bis. The discount price is $499 (internal) and $539
   (external). The Star is also available with fax and voice mail options
   for an additional $90.
Hayes Modems
   V-series Smartmodem 9600. Introduced in 1987, this is a high-speed modem
   that supports the proprietary Hayes Express 96 modulation protocol. The
   V-series Smartmodem 9600 is still available from various mail order
   vendors. There is also an internal unit called V-series Smartmodem
   Smartmodem 9600. Introduced in 1988, the Smartmodem 9600 is a V.32
   modem. It does not support any error control or data compression
   protocol. Don't confuse this unit with the V-series Smartmodem 9600.
   Ultra 96 is a dual-mode modem from Hayes. Introduced in 1990, the Ultra
   96 supports both V.32/V.42bis and the Hayes Express 96 modulation
   protocol. Ultra 96 has many unique features that are not needed if you
   are calling BBS or online services. The current street price is $669.
   Introduced in Fall 1991, Ultra 144 is a dual-mode modem that supports
   both V.32bis/V.42bis and the Hayes Express 96 protocol. The current
   street price is $799.
   Optima 96 is a plain vanilla V.32/V.42bis modem. This is Hayes' answer
   to the "generic" V.32/V.42bis modem. The current street price is $479.
Image Communications: Twincom 96/42
   The Twincom 96/42 is an internal V.32/V.42bis modem. It lists for $299.
   (Don't expect to get discount on the price.) It just won a 1991 Best Buy
   Award from Computer Shopper. Notice that it has a 16450 UART, not a
   16550. Furthermore, you cannot replace the 16450 with a 16550, the
   Twincom 96/42 will not support a 16550 UART at all.
Intel 9600EX & 14.4EX
   The 9600EX is a V.32/V.42bis modem. The 14.4EX is a V.32bis/V.42bis
   modem. PC Connection is selling the 9600EX for $499 and the 14.4EX for
   $549. If you decide to buy an Intel modem, the 14.4EX is obviously a
   better deal.
Practical Peripherals PM9600SA & PM9600
   The PM9600SA is a V.32/V.42bis modem. It is designed to be compatible
   with the Hayes Ultra 96. That means you can tell your communications
   software that you have a Hayes Ultra 96. However, the PM9600SA only
   responds to a subset of the commands supported by the Hayes Ultra 96.
   Any commands specific to the Hayes Ultra 96 that are not implemented in
   the PM9600SA will be ignored.
   Some early PM9600SA units have quite a few problems connecting to other
   V.32 modems. (Make sure you send in the warranty card.) Practical
   Peripheral has since sent out several ROM upgrades and the current
   shipping units seem to be working fine.
   Practical Peripherals also makes an internal modem that features a 16550
   UART. You can get the PM9600SA for $469 and the internal PM9600 for
Prometheus Modems
   Prometheus modems are available from many Macintosh mail order
   companies. Until recently, Prometheus is the only manufacturer that
   makes high-speed modems with fax capability.
   Promodem 9600 Plus is a V.32/V.42bis modem. It can also send and receive
   Group III fax at 9600 bps.
   Prometheus Ultima is a V.32bis/V.42bis fax modem. It can also send and
   receive Group III fax at 9600 bps. MacConnection sells the Ultima for
Telebit Modems
   Telebit makes several modems. The prices quoted for the Telebit modems
   are their new list prices.
   TrailBlazer Plus. $849. Introduced in 1985, the Trailblazer has been the
   de facto standard in the UNIX UUCP and Usenet communities. With the new
   pricing, you should consider the T2500 or the T3000 instead of the
   TrailBlazer Plus if you need to connect to a Telebit PEP modem.
   T1000. Introduced in 1988, the T1000 is the little brother of the
   TrailBlazer Plus. The T1000 supports PEP at a slower speed. The actual
   throughput is about 9600 cps. The current list price is $699. Unlike the
   TrailBlazer Plus, the T1000 does not have callback or password security.
   T2500. $949. Introduced in 1989 when V.32 modems started to enter the
   market, the T2500 supports both V.32/V.42bis and PEP. The maximum
   throughput is 19,200 bps due to the limitation imposed by the older
   Rockwell chipset used.
   T1600. $699. The T1600 is a V.32/V.42bis modem introduced in 1991. It
   provides built-in support for UUCP and offers password and callback
   T3000. $949. This is the top of the line model from Telebit. The T3000
   is a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. PEP upgrade is available for $99 until
   3/31/92. After that date, the upgrade will be $199.
   QBlazer. $745. If I am going to buy another high-speed modem today, this
   will be it. (I use a notebook computer). QBlaser is the first portable
   V.32/V.42bis modem (2.3"x2.4"x2.4"). It works with a 9-volt battery for
   about two hours.
   Note that T1600, T2500, T3000 all offer the following features:
   * Built-in support for UNIX UUCP, Xmodem, Ymodem, Kermit file transfer
   * Two types of dial-access security: password security and callback
   * Remote management and diagnostics
U.S. Robotics Modems
   Courier HST. This is the modem that made U.S. Robotics the king of
   PC-based BBS communities. Unless you are only going to communicate with
   other USR HST modems, it is probably not a good idea to purchase this
   unit. The street price for a 14400 bps HST is $550-$600. Telemart
   (800-521-1973) sells either the internal or the external version for
   Courier V.32bis. Introduced in 1990, this is a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. It
   does not support HST. Telemart offers the external version for $565 and
   the internal version for $535.
   Courier HST Dual Standard. This unit is introduced in 1990. If you need
   to connect to HST modems and also want to be able to talk to other
   V.32/V.32bis modems, this is the modem to buy. Its current street price
   is around $800. Telemart sells the HST Dual Standard for $799. (Note
   that earlier HST Dual Standard modems only support V.32 and not
   V.32bis.) The HST Dual Standard is considered by many PC users as the
   best modem money can buy.
   The only reservation I have about the Courier modems is their size. The
   external Courier modems are rather bulky: 8.3" wide, 12.65" deep, 1.57"
   tall. I would not want to carry one of these with me when I travel.
   (It's bigger than my notebook computer.)
   Sportster 9600 V.42bis. This unit is introduced in 1991. The Sportster
   9600 is an entry level V.32/V.42bis modem from U.S. Robotics. The list
   price is $645 for the external version. ($595 for the Internal version).
   WorldPort 9600 V.32. The WorldPort 9600 is a portable pocket modem.
   Originally made by Touchbase Systems, the WorldPort 9600 is a V.32/MNP-5
   modem. It does not support V.42/V.42bis. The WorldPort 9600 works with a
   9-volt battery. The list price is $699.
Zoom V.32 Turbo Modems
   Zoom has been making Hayes-compatible modems for a long time. The V.32
   Turbo is their entry into the high-speed modem arena. The V.32 Turbo is
   a V.32/V.42bis with a 12000 bps turbo mode which is compatible with a
   V.32bis modem at 12000 bps. Zoom also makes an internal version of the
   V.32 Turbo that features a 16550 UART. PC Connection sells the internal
   model for $399.
Things to come
   Every modem manufacturer makes at least one V.32/V.42bis modem now. And
   soon every manufacturer will also make a V.32bis/V.42bis modem. The
   price for V.32 and V.32bis modems will continue to drop.
   In fact, Supra has announced an external V.32 fax modem (SupraFaxModem
   V.32) for $299 and an external V.32bis fax modem (SupraFaxModem V.32bis)
   for $399. These prices are for the modems only. Communication and fax
   software will be bundled with the modem for an additional $50-$70.
   (These modems won't be available at least until January 1992.)

Buying a High-speed Modem

   V.32 and V.32bis modems are clearly the standards of high-speed modems
   today. You should buy a V.32 or a V.32bis modem unless
   1. Your application requires a high-speed modem with a proprietary
      modulation protocol. In this case, you should consider a dual-mode
      modem that support both the proprietary protocol and V.32 (or
   2. You cannot afford a V.32 modem. In this case, your only choice for a
      high-speed modem is the CompuCom SpeedModem Champ.
Should you pay the extra for a V.32bis modem?
   A V.32bis modem is faster than a V.32 modem but it also costs more.
   Should you pay the extra for the speed difference? That depends on two
   factors: what's the price difference and how do you want to reach the
   remote system. If the price difference is $50, I would buy the V.32bis
   modem. But what if the price difference is $200?
   Assuming the remote system support V.32bis, a V.32bis modem will pay for
   itself rather quickly if you are placing long distance calls to the
   remote system. However, it may be more cost-effective for you to use
   some packet-switching networks to reach the remote system by calling a
   local number. A V.32bis modem will be wasted since none of the
   packet-switching networks currently support V.32bis. In fact, they are
   just starting to offer 9600 bps access service. Part III of "The Joy of
   Telecomputing" provides a comprehensive discussion of the issues
Should you buy a modem with a proprietary modulation protocol?
   With the exception of the CompuCom SpeedModem Champ, it is generally not
   a good idea to purchase a modem which only supports a proprietary
   modulation protocol. If you have to connect to a modem that uses a
   proprietary modulation protocol, you should consider getting a modem
   that supports dual modulation protocols (USR Courier Dual Standard,
   Telebit 2500 or 3000, Hayes Ultra).
   Should you buy the SpeedModem Champ? It certainly costs much less than
   even the least expensive generic V.32 modem in the market today.
   Assuming the systems you are calling support both V.32 and the CompuCom
   Champ modems, should you save the money and buy the Champ?
   Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to the question. The answer
   again depends on how you are going to reach the remote systems. If you
   want to reach the remote systems via a packet-switching network, the
   CompuCom Champ may not be a good choice.
   The CompuCom Champ is generally not supported by packet-switching
   networks (The only company that supports the CompuCom Champ is
   Connect-USA). As a result, you will only be able to connect at 2400 bps
   with the packet-switching networks. You would be forced to place a long
   distance call if you want to connect at 9600 bps. See Part III of "The
   Joy of Telecomputing" for the various issues involved.
Should you buy a 2400 bps modem with V.42bis?
   If you are thinking of purchasing a 2400 bps modem with V.42bis data
   compression, think again.
   We have mentioned earlier that V.42bis and MNP-5 are useless for
   downloading compressed files. There is one more reason why a 2400 bps
   with V.42bis is generally not useful when you are calling commercial
   online services or BBS.
   Online services and BBS usually have separate phone numbers for 2400 bps
   and high-speed modems. Most of them do not support V.42bis on their 2400
   bps lines. Therefore, you won't be able to make a connection with
   V.42bis if you call their 2400 bps modem lines.
   Couldn't you call their 9600 bps lines? Well, not really. Commercial
   online services, as well as many bulletin board systems, typically do
   not allow you to call their high-speed modem lines with a 2400 bps
   modem. You won't be able to make a connection even if you try.
   You should seriously consider the CompuCom SpeedModem Champ instead of a
   2400 bps modem with V.42bis. The CompuCom Champ will probably give you
   much more for your money (especially if you need to pay more than $100
   for the V.22bis/V.42bis modem).
Beware of the Ads
   Current V.32 modems typically support MNP 2-5 and V.42/V.42bis. However,
   there are still some earlier models of V.32 modems in the market which
   1. may not support any error control or data compression protocol (Hayes
      Smartmodem 9600).
   2. may support MNP 2-5 but not V.42/V.42bis.
   3. may support proprietary data compression protocol (Microcom MNP-9).
   4. may support V.42 but not V.42bis (Prometheus).
   When a modem is said to offer a 38400 bps speed (or throughput), it may
   mean that
   1. it is a V.32 or V.32bis modem with V.42bis
   2. it is a V.32 modem with proprietary data compression protocol (some
      Microcom modems)
   3. it is a high-speed modem with proprietary modulation protocol and
      V.42bis (U.S. Robotics Courier HST)
   4. it is a high-speed modem with proprietary modulation protocol and
      proprietary data compression protocol (CompuCom Champ)
   An ad that says "USR modem, 38400 bps throughput, V.42bis" does not tell
   us anything except that the modem is made by U.S. Robotics. It could be
   any one of the three Courier modems. It could even be a Sportster 9600.
   When a modem is said to offer a 9600 bps speed (or throughput), it may
   mean several things:
   1. it is a V.32 modem
   2. it is a high-speed modem using proprietary modulation protocol (Hayes
      V-series Smartmodem 9600, Telebit 1000, etc).
   3. it is a 2400 bps modem with V.42bis data compression.
   4. it is a 2400 bps modem with 9600 bps fax
   5. it is a 2400 bps modem both V.42bis and fax

Setting Up Software To Work With High-speed Modems

   Getting a high-speed modem is only half the battle. You will need to get
   it to work with your communications program. Most communications
   programs still come with settings configured for standard 2400 bps
   Since all 2400 bps modems are Hayes-compatible, it is relatively easy to
   set up the software. You simply install the software as if you had a
   Hayes modem. The software usually will work flawlessly. And you don't
   really have to worry about things like the initialization string.
   Getting a high-speed modem to work with your software is a different
   story. There is no longer a Hayes standard that everyone follows. Here
   are some of the reasons why you need to know how to configure your
   high-speed modem to work with your communications program.
   First, your high-speed modem may not be supported by your software.
   Secondly, even if your software supports your high-speed modem, the
   software may not be set up properly.
   Finally, even if your software is set up properly, the settings may not
   work all the times.
The Proper Software Setup
   When we say that the software is set up properly, we mean that
   1. the modem is initialized properly by the communications software, and
   2. the settings of your software match those of the modem
   What is the proper way to initialize a high-speed modem? In general,
   your modem needs to be initialized to:
  • Enable V.42bis Data Compression
  • Enable hardware flow control
  • Handle the DTR and CD signals properly (by adding &C1&D2 to the modem

initialization string)

   We'll use the ATI 9600etc/e modem as an example for our discussions
   below. The initialization string described here is for the ATI modem
   only. Refer to your modem manual for the equivalent initialization
   string for your modem.
   The ATI modem is supported by two popular communications programs:
   Qmodem and HyperAccess 5. Qmodem initializes the modem and also
   configures itself to use hardware flow control. HyperAccess 5 also
   initializes the modem properly, however it does not configure itself to
   use hardware flow control.
   All modems come with default settings pre-configured from the factory.
   Many V.32 high-speed modems are preset to use V.42bis and hardware flow
   control when they are turned on. This optimal configuration enables the
   modem to automatically negotiate a connection with either another V.32
   modem supporting V.42bis or MNP protocols (or even a standard modem).
   Interestingly enough, not all high-speed modems are configured this way.
   The ATI 9600 etc/e modem, for example, is preset to use V.32 without
   error control or data compression at power-on. (Why? Good question.)
   As a result, your communications program needs to issue the appropriate
   initialization string (AT&F2) to set up the ATI modem to use V.32 with
   V.42bis and hardware flow control.
   There is another change required. And it has to do with the parameters
   controlling how the modem deals with two of the RS232 signals: DTR (Data
   Terminal Ready) and CD (Carrier Detect).
   CD is a signal generated by the modem which is used to indicate its
   connection status. DTR is a signal generated by your computer. DTR is
   used to enable the modem to accept commands from your communications
   program, it is also used by most modems to determine when to disconnect
   a call.
   The factory default setting for DTR tells the modem to ignore change in
   DTR (&D0), and the setting for CD forces CD always on (&C0). These
   specific settings are required by some dedicated dumb terminals in order
   to communicate with the modem. (Virtually all modems use &C0&D0 as the
   default setting.) However, these settings will often cause problems when
   hanging up the phone lines or produce an error message which says the
   modem is online when it is not.
   Most communications software programs expect the modem to follow DTR and
   expects CD to follow carrier. &C1&D2 set the parameters for the modem to
   handle the DTR and CD signals as expected by most communications
   Therefore, the proper initialization string to use for the ATI modem
   should be AT&F2&C1&D2.
Does Your Software Initialize the Modem Properly?
   Let's take a look at the initialization strings used by Qmodem and
   HyperAccess 5 for the ATI 9600etc/e modem.
   HyperAccess 5 use the following initialization string
   This string is longer than the one we suggest. But does it do more?
   Actually it doesn't. Many of the commands in the string are redundant or
   not necessary. Only AT&F2&C1&D2 are crucial.
   Four of the commands - E1, V1, Q0 and X4 - are redundant since they are
   duplications of the factory default settings. (Check your modem manual
   to find out what they mean. Since you would most likely need to read it
   sooner or later, you might as well get started now.)
   L0 does not apply to the ATI modem. L0 normally is used to set modem
   speaker volume to the lowest level. However, the ATI 9600etc/e modem
   does not respond to the L0 command. Unlike most modems, the ATI modem
   has a slide volume control on the right side for adjusting the volume
   The other two commands (W2 and S11=55) are not redundant, but they are
   not necessary.
   W2 sets the modem to report Negotiation result codes in single line
   format instead of the default three line format (W1).
      Three line format:              Single line format:
      -----------------               ------------------
      CARRIER 9600                    CONNECT 9600/LAP-M
      CONNECT 38400
   S11=55 (default is 95) sets the modem to dial at a faster speed than the
   factory setting.
   Despite the fact that its initialization string contains some redundant
   commands, HyperAccess 5 does properly initialize the ATI modem.
   Although HyperAccess 5 will initialize the modem with the string every
   time you dial a remote system, the program does not change the factory
   default settings for the ATI modem (which is V.32 without error control
   or data compression). Every time you turn the modem off and back on, the
   modem will revert to its factory defaults.
   Unlike HyperAccess 5 (and other communications programs), Qmodem does it
   in a different way. It actually replaces the old factory default setting
   (AT&F) of the ATI modem with a new default configuration (AT&F2&C1&D2).
   When you first install Qmodem to work with an ATI 9600 etc/e modem, the
   program sends the following two strings to the modem (make sure the
   modem is connected to your PC and is turned on):
   The first string sets the modem as V.32 with V.42bis enabled, hardware
   flow control enabled (among other things). Note that ^M is equivalent to
   sending a Carriage Return to the modem.
   The second string changes the factory settings of the CD and DTR
   (&C0&D0) and then write (&W) all the new active configuration settings
   to the nonvolatile memory of the modem. The new settings are now stored
   by the modem and become the new default configuration when the modem is
   powered on (or when it received the ATZ command).
   Thus, Qmodem simply sends the initialization string "ATZ^M" (which
   resets the modem to its default state, now AT&F2&C1&D2) to the modem
   whenever you load the program.
   Although the two programs use different techniques, the result is the
   same. The modem is initialized as V.32/V.42bis with hardware flow
   control enabled, which is normally the optimum setting.
Does Your Software Configure Itself to Match the Modem Settings?
   Besides sending the right initialization string to the modem, the
   communications software will also need to match the modem setting.
   Specifically, the communications software should also use hardware flow
   control since the modem is initialized with hardware flow control
   One would expect that when a software initializes the modem to use
   hardware flow control, the software itself would also use hardware flow
   control. But it is not always true. As we mentioned earlier, HyperAccess
   5 initializes the modem with hardware flow control enabled, but expect
   you to change the flow control settings in each individual dialing
Why You May Need to Change the Initialization String
   In general, the string AT&F2&C1&D2 should work without any problem. But
   there is no guarantee that it will always work. When it does not work,
   you'll normally need to change the initialization string to solve the
   Here are a few reasons why the initialization string used by your
   communications program may not work:
   1. The settings need adjustments to work with the system you are
      Case 1: When I called the Hayes BBS, the modem would abort and failed
      to make a connection. It turned out that the default setting (30
      seconds) of the S7 register is not long enough for the ATI modem to
      make a connection with the Hayes Ultra 96 modem on the other end.
      Solution: To establish a connection to the Hayes BBS, I need to add
      "S7=60" to the modem initialization string and also change the
      setting in the communications software to wait 60 seconds for a
      By initializing the modem with the string AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60, I was
      able to connect without any problem. (The default setting for the S7
      register is not universal, the Hayes Ultra and Practical Peripheral
      use 50 seconds as the default value.) Note that there is nothing
      special about the number 60. In my particular case, any number larger
      than 45 will work.
      Case 2: When I call a system that uses the Telebit T1600 modems, I
      cannot make a connection if the ATI modem is set to use V.42bis or
      MNP-5. The ATI modem will only connect reliably when it is set to use
      Solution: To connect successfully, I have to set up the modem as V.32
      with MNP-4 by sending the string AT&F1&U0 to the ATI modem. (AT&F1
      sets the ATI modem as V.32 with MNP-5, &U0 turns off data
   2. Your communication software may not be compatible with the setting.
      For example, America Online implemented an error-correcting scheme in
      the software (both the PC and the Mac versions) which is not
      compatible with the modem's error correction protocol.
      Solution: To use America Online, you need to turn off error control
      on the modem. AT&F configures the ATI modem as V.32 without error
   3. Your computer hardware may not work with the setting. As I mention
      earlier, you need a properly wired cable for the Mac to use hardware
      flow control. If you do not have the right cable or if your Mac
      simply won't work with the cable, you will need to use software flow
      control. (&K4 tells the ATI modem to use software flow control.)
      Solution: To use the ATI modem in V.32/V.42bis mode with my Mac, I
      need to disable hardware flow control and use XON/XOFF software flow
      control instead. The string AT&F2&K4&C1&D2S7=60 sets up the modem
      properly (again, S7=60 is for calling the Hayes BBS).
   4. You may need to change the setting to achieve better performance. It
      is advisable that you turn off MNP-5 while downloading pre-compressed
      files from a remote system that has a MNP-5 modem. You can initialize
      the ATI modem to turn off MNP-5 data compression with the string
   Again, the initialization string used here is for the ATI modem only. If
   you use a different modem, you would need to check with the modem manual
   to find out the equivalent commands to use.
Editing the Initialization String
   If the initialization string provided by your software does not work (or
   if your software does not support your modem at all), you'll need to
   edit the initialization string in your communications program.
   The modem initialization string consists of a series of commands (called
   the AT commands). They can be divided into three groups:
   1. A capital character followed by a digit. For example, M1.
   2. An ampersand & and a capital character followed by a digit. For
      example, &M1. Note that M1 is different from &M1.
   3. Sr=n where "r" is the number of the register to be changed and "n" is
      the new value that is being assigned. For example, S7=60.
   There are some other characters that may also appear in the modem
   initialization string. These characters normally should not be changed.
      AT      tells the modem that modem commands follow.
      Z       resets the modem to default state
      ~       makes your software pause for half a second. You can use
              more than one ~ in a row. For example, ~~~~ tells the
              software to pause two seconds.
      ^M      sends the terminating Carriage Return character to the
              modem. This is a control code that most communication
              software translate as a "carriage return."
   Let's assume that the appropriate initialization string to use is
   AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60 (for the ATI modem). You'll need to replace this string
   with the one provided by your communications software.
   If your software does not support your modem, you can install the
   program by telling it that you have a Hayes modem. After the
   installation, you'll simply edit the initialization string with the
   appropriate one. Please make sure you do not delete any ~ or ^M.
   Here are some examples,
   1. To change the string provided by Procomm Plus
          ATE1 S7=60 S11=60 V1 X1 Q0 S0=0^M
      Use the string
   2. To edit the string used by Telix
          ATZ^M~~~AT S7=45 S0=0 V1 X4^M
      change it to
   3. To replace the initialization string provided by ZTerm (Macintosh)
          ATE1M1 V1^M
      use the following string
Match Software Settings To the Modem Settings
   Besides using the right initialization string, you also need to make
   sure that the settings in your communications program match those of the
   Speed setting
   If you have a modem that supports data compression. You want to make
   sure that the speed setting for the entries in your dialing directory is
   the maximum throughput. Here are the general rules of thumb:
   For a V.32bis/V.42bis modem, set speed to 38400 or 57600 bps (check your
   modem manual).
   For a V.32/V.42bis modem, set speed to 38400 bps.
   For a V.32/MNP-5 modem, set speed to 19200 bps.
   For a V.22bis/V.42bis modem, set speed to 9600 bps.
   For a V.22bis/MNP-5 modem, set speed to 4800 bps.
   Note: Your computer may not be fast enough to work reliably at 38400 or
   57600 bps. Also, the communications programs you use may not support
   speed higher than 19200 bps.
   Hardware flow control
   Note that you will need to configure your software to use hardware
   handshaking if the modem is initialized to use hardware flow control.
   Dialing Time-out Value
   Independent from your modem setting, your software may also impose a
   limit on how long it will wait for a connection. If you initialize the
   modem with the command S7=60, you'll need to change the time-out value
   used by your software to 60 seconds accordingly.

Configuring Popular Communications Software to Work with High-speed Modems

   Below are brief instructions for configuring some popular communications
   programs to work with a high-speed modem. The particular initialization
   string is for the ATI 9600etc/e modem. It is assumed that the
   appropriate initialization string to use is AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60.
   Make sure you save the changes you make.
Procomm Plus 2.0
   To change the modem initialization string: (Global, i.e. it works with
   every dialing entry)
   1. Load Procomm, press Alt-S
   2. Select Modem Options
   3. Select Modem Commands
   4. Press A
   5. Change the initialization string to AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60^M
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection: (Global)
   1. Load Procomm, press Alt-S
   2. Select Modem Options
   3. Select General Options
   4. Press A
   5. Type 60 and press Return
   To enable hardware flow control: (Global)
   1. Load Procomm, press Alt-S
   2. Select Terminal Options
   3. Press D (hardware flow control)
   4. Press Space Bar to toggle, press Return to accept
   5. Press C (software flow control)
   6. Press Space Bar to toggle, press Return to accept
   To change the modem initialization string: (Global)
   1. Press Alt-O
   2. Select Modem and dialing
   3. Select A (Init String)
   4. Change the initialization string to ATZ^M~~~AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60^M
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection: (Global)
   1. Press Alt-O
   2. Select Modem and dialing
   3. Select K (Dial time) and enter 60 press Return
   To enable hardware flow control (Global)
   1. Press Alt-O
   2. Select Terminal options
   3. Press J (XON/XOFF software flow control)
   4. Select Off
   5. Select K (CTS/RTS hardware flow control)
   6. Select On
   7. Press ESC to exit
   To change the modem initialization string: (Global)
   1. Press Alt-N
   2. Press M to select Modem menu
   3. Select Modem Commands
   4. Press Return
   5. Change the initialization string to AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60^M
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection: (Global)
   1. Press Alt-N
   2. Press M to select Modem menu and Press Return to select Communication
   3. Press H to select Timeout delay
   4. Type 60 and press Return
   5. ESC to exit
   To enable hardware flow control: (Global)
   1. Press Alt-N
   2. Select Toggles
   3. Press Return to toggle XON/XOFF flow
   4. Select CTS/RTS flow
   5. Press Return to toggle
   6. ESC
   7. ESC
   8. Press E for Exit
   9. Save Changes
HyperAccess 5
Note: HyperAccess 5 supports the ATI 9600etc/e. However, HyperAccess 5 does
not let you edit the initialization string directly. You can add additional
setup commands to change the modem settings for each individual dialing
   To change the modem initialization string: (Individual, i.e. it works
   only with the particular dialing entry)
   1. Select Define system settings from the Main menu
   2. Select Modify
   3. Use cursor to select the system to modify and press Enter
   4. Select Hardware from the System settings menu
   5. Select Modem
   6. Select Additional modem setup commands
   7. Type S7=60
   8. Press ESC twice to go back the Main menu
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection:
   To enable hardware flow control: (Individual)
   1. Select Define system settings from the Main menu
   2. Select Modify
   3. Use cursor to select the system to modify and press Enter
   4. Select Hardware from the System settings menu
   5. Make sure that Data terminal ready signal is output on DTR, delete
      RTS if it is listed
   6. Select Communications port
   7. Select Incoming hardware handshaking and type CTS
   8. Select Outgoing hardware handshaking and type RTS
Crosstalk for Windows
   To change the modem initialization string: (Global)
   1. Pull down Setup menu and select Modem...
   2. Select Custom and click on Settings
   3. Change the initialization string to ^M~AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60^M
   4. Click OK
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection: (Individual)
   1. Pull down File menu and select Open a phone book entry
   2. Open the phone book entry
   3. Pull down Setup menu and select Session
   4. Click on More
   5. Change the value in Allow xx seconds for the host to answer
   To enable hardware flow control: (Individual)
   1. Pull down File menu and select Open a phone book entry
   2. Open the phone book entry
   3. Pull down Setup menu and select Device
   4. Click on RTS/CTS and click OK
MicroPhone II (for Macintosh)
   To change the modem initialization string: (Individual)
   1. Choose Settings Menu
   2. Select Communications
   3. Choose V.32 Standard from the Modem Driver list box
   4. Click OK
   5. Hold down the Command key and choose Scripts menu
   6. Select Modify Script
   7. Click the Modem Scripts button
   8. Double-click on Modem_Init
   9. Double-click on the first line that says
           Set Variable * mcmd from Expression "'AT....'"
   10. Change the initialization string in the lower right box to
   11. Double-click on the second line that says
           Set Variable * mcmd from Expression "'AT....'"
   12. Change the initialization string in the lower right box to
   13. Click OK
   14. Press the Option key and choose the File menu
   15. Select Save Modem Driver (If you want to save the driver under a new
       name, select Save Modem Driver As... in the File Menu. Name the new
       driver, and save it into the Modem Folder.)
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection:
   To enable hardware flow control: (Individual)
   1. Pull down Settings Menu
   2. Select Communications
   3. Click on the Hardware Handshake box
ZTerm (for Macintosh)
   To change the modem initialization string: (Global)
   1. Choose Settings Menu and select Modem
   2. Change Init String to AT&F2&C1&D2S7=60^M
   To set the software to wait 60 seconds for connection: (Individual)
   1. Choose Settings Menu and select Modem
   2. Edit Dial Timeout
   To enable hardware flow control: (Global)
   1. Choose Settings Menu and Select Flow Control
   2. Uncheck Xon-Xoff Receive
   3. Uncheck Xon-Xoff Send
   4. Check HW Handshake

Other Settings for Your Communications Software

Telephone Number
   Online services use different phone numbers for different kinds of
   modems. To get the best throughput, make sure you dial the right phone
   number. Note that many bulletin board systems do not allow calling their
   high-speed modem lines with 2400 bps modems. You would be disconnected.
   For example:
   EXEC-PC, the largest BBS in the United States, has the following
   telephone numbers:
   #1: Standard 2400 bps modems                        414-789-4210
   #2: US Robotics HST 9600 MNP5                       414-789-4337
   #3: US Robotics HST 14400 & V.32/V.42bis/MNP5       414-789-4352
   #4: US Robotics V.32bis/V.42bis & HST               414-789-4360
   #5: CompuCom Speedmodem 9600 MNP5 modems            414-789-4450
   #6: Hayes 9600B V-series modems, NON-V.32           414-789-4315
   If you have a 9600 bps HST modem, call #2.
   If you have a 14400 bps HST modem, call #3 or #4. You can also call #2
   but you won't be able to get the best throughput.
   If you have a V.32 modem, call #3 or #4.
   If you have a V.32bis modem, call #4. You can also call #3 but you won't
   get the best throughput.
   If you have a CompuCom SpeedModem Champ, call #5
   If you have a CompuCom SpeedModem Storm, call #3 or #4 (V.32), #5 (CSP)
   If you have a CompuCom SpeedModem Star, call #4 (V.32bis), you can also
   call #3 or #5 but you can only connect at 9600 bps.
   If you have a Hayes V-series Smartmodem 9600 (or 9600B) modem, call #6.
Dial String: ATDT
   You don't have change the dialing string unless you use a PBX system or
   have call waiting service.
   If you have to dial the digit 9 to obtain an outside line, Use ATDT9,
   (the comma , instructs the modem to pause two seconds). This allows
   enough time for the dial tone to occur before the modem dials. You can
   use as many commas as you like.
   Call Waiting
   Call waiting service will disrupt modem sessions. If your telephone
   company supports the ability to disable call waiting, use the dial
   string ATDT*70, (make sure you add the comma ,) instead of ATDT.
   Also, adding 1170 after the ATDP dial command can be used to disable
   call-waiting on some pulse-dialing phone systems. Check with your phone
   company to see if these features are supported.
8-N-1 or 7-E-1 (data bits-parity-stop bits)
   In general, set the parameters to 8-N-1. If you are calling a commercial
   online service (such as GEnie), you may need to set the parameters to
Half vs. Full Duplex: Local Echo
   The only popular on-line service that uses half duplex is GEnie.
Terminal Emulation
   If you are using an IBM compatible, choose IBM PC or ANSI.
   Otherwise, try VT102, VT100, VT52, TTY.
Comm Port
   For your computer to talk to your modem, you need to tell the software
   where to find the modem. If you use a PC with an external modem, you
   need to specify which serial port the modem is connected to. If you have
   an internal modem, you need to configure the modem and tell the software
   which COM port the modem is configured for.
   If you use a Macintosh, specify whether your modem is connected to the
   modem port or the printer port.
File Transfer Protocols
   Errors that occur during file transfer are automatically detected and
   corrected by file transfer protocols. If a block of data is received
   incorrectly, the receiving system sends a message to the sending system
   and requests the re-transmission. This process is automatic. When errors
   occur during file transfer, the communication program shows an error in
   the file transfer status window.
   This is designed to work with ASCII text files only. Notice that you do
   not have to use this protocol when transferring text files. The ASCII
   protocol is useful for uploading a text file when you are composing
   e-mail online.
   Xmodem is one of the most widely used file transfer protocols. The
   original Xmodem protocol uses 128-byte packets and a simple "checksum"
   method of error detection. A later enhancement, Xmodem-CRC, uses a more
   secure Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) method for error detection. Xmodem
   protocol always attempts to use CRC first. If the sender does not
   acknowledge the requests for CRC, the receiver shifts to the checksum
   mode and continues its request for transmission.
   Xmodem 1K is essentially Xmodem CRC with 1K (1024 byte) packets. On some
   systems and bulletin boards it may also be referred to as Ymodem. Some
   communication software programs, most notably Procomm Plus 1.x, also
   list Xmodem-1K as Ymodem. Procomm Plus 2.0 no longer refers to Xmodem-1K
   as Ymodem.
   Ymodem is essentially Xmodem 1K that allows multiple batch file
   transfer. On some systems it is listed as Ymodem Batch.
   Ymodem-g is a variant of Ymodem. It is designed to be used with modems
   that support error control. This protocol does not provide software
   error correction or recovery, but expects the modem to provide the
   service. It is a streaming protocol that sends and receives 1K packets
   in a continuous stream until instructed to stop. It does not wait for
   positive acknowledgement after each block is sent, but rather sends
   blocks in rapid succession. If any block is unsuccessfully transferred,
   the entire transfer is canceled.
   This is generally the best protocol to use if the electronic service you
   are calling supports it. Zmodem has two significant features: it is
   extremely efficient and it provides crash recovery.
   Like Ymodem-g, Zmodem does not wait for positive acknowledgement after
   each block is sent, but rather sends blocks in rapid succession. If a
   Zmodem transfer is canceled or interrupted for any reason, the transfer
   can be resurrected later and the previously transferred information need
   not be resent.
   Kermit was developed at Columbia University. It was designed to
   facilitate the exchange of data among very different types of computers
   (mainly minicomputers and mainframes). You probably will not need to use
   Kermit unless you are calling a minicomputer or mainframe at an
   educational institution.
   Sealink is a variant of Xmodem. It was developed to overcome the
   transmission delays caused by satellite relays or packet-switching
   Which file transfer protocol should you use?
   In general, I recommend Zmodem. If Zmodem is not supported by the system
   you are calling, use Ymodem-g. (If you are connecting to a UNIX system
   in a university, you may have to use Kermit or Xmodem to transfer
   Here are the test results obtained by downloading the files using
   various file transfer protocols. The number before the parentheses is
   the transfer speed (in cps) and the number in the parentheses is the
   time elapsed (in seconds).
   Protocol         Xmodem    Xmodem-1K   Ymodem     Ymodem-g    Zmodem
   the-wave.txt     429(334)  1508(95)    1527(94)   3261(44)    3296(43)
   dayrpt.arc       314(26)    758(11)     761(11)   1042(8)     1025(8)
   dayrpt.wks       415(47)   1252(15)    1244(15)   2314(8)     2337(8)
   sunset.arc       337(15)    771(6)      745(6)     987(5)      965(5)
   sunset.pic       399(41)   1337(12)    1297(12)   2594(6)     2588(6)
   text109k.arc     343(86)    817(36)     814(36)   1089(27)    1064(27)
   text109k.txt     410(271)  1379(80)    1351(82)   2812(39)    2885(38)

Appendix A: Resources Here is a list of selected modem manufacturers. Manufacturer Information Tech Support Support BBS

ATI Technologies (416) 756-0718 (416) 756-0711 (416) 756-4591 Cardinal (800) 233-0187 (717) 293-3124 (717) 293-3074 Compucom (800) 228-6648 (408) 732-4500 (408) 738-4990 Hayes (404) 441-1617 (404) 441-1617 (800) 874-2937 Image Communications (201) 935-8880 (201) 935-8880 n/a Intel (800) 538-3373 (503) 629-7000 (503) 645-6275 Microcom (800) 822-8224 (617) 551-1313 (617) 551-1655 Multi-Tech (800) 328-9717 (800) 328-9717 (612) 785-9875 Practical Peripherals (800) 442-4774 (818) 991-8200 (818) 706-2467 Prometheus (800) 477-3473 (503) 624-0571 (503) 691-5199 Supra (800) 727-8772 (503) 967-2440 (503) 967-2444 Telebit (800) 835-3248 (800) 835-3248 n/a U.S. Robotics (800) 342-5877 (800) 982-5151 (708) 982-5092 Zoom (800) 666-6191 (617) 423-1076 (617) 451-5284 Support BBS for Communications Programs

Procomm Plus (Datastorm Technologies, Inc.) (314) 875-0523 Telix (Exis Inc.) (416) 439-9399 Qmodem (The Forbin Project, Inc.) (319) 233-6157 HyperAccess 5 (Hilgraeve Inc.) (313) 243-5915 Crosstalk for Windows (DCA) (404) 740-8428 MicroPhone II (Software Ventures) (415) 849-1912 ZTerm n/a Appendix B: How to reach the author If you have any comments or suggestions, I'll love to hear from you. You can reach me via America Online: Pat Chen CompuServe: 70754,3162 DELPHI: POC FidoNet: 1:161/444.38 GEnie: p.chen2 MCI Mail: 445-6669 Internet:


U.S. Mail: Patrick Chen

               P.O. Box 5325
               Irvine, CA 92716

Appendix C: About "The Joy of Telecomputing" What is "The Joy of Telecomputing?"

   "The Joy of Telecomputing" is a 200-page (and growing), three-part
   report consisting of the following articles: "What you need to know
   about modems,""Life beyond CompuServe" and "Is AT&T the right choice?" A
   glossary and an index are also provided.
   The discussions in "The Joy of Telecomputing" are devoted to the
   following online activities: file transfer (downloading shareware,
   exchanging files with colleagues or friends), electronic mail,
   conferences (forums, newsgroups, SIGs), chatting. You won't find
   discussions on stock quotes, shopping malls, online databases, etc.
   Going online has become a way of life for many computer users. It is
   undeniably fascinating, fulfilling and fun. But there is also a down
   side to it: the cost can be prohibitive. I have yet to meet an avid
   modem user who didn't wish that he could afford to be online longer.
   To get the most mileage from your online dollars, you need to know the
   answers to the following three questions:
   1. What is the right modem to use?
   2. What online services are available and how do they compare?
   3. What is the most cost-effective way to reach those services?
   These are not isolated questions. The answers to these questions will
   help you decide what online systems are right for you.
   People live in different cities, use different kinds of computers and do
   different things online. It should come as no surprise that there isn't
   a single online system that is right for everyone.
   The goal of "The Joy of Telecomputing" is to help you get the most from
   telecomputing. Our goal is not to tell you that so-and-so is the best
   but to present you with enough information so that you will be able to
   determine what is right for you. We'll provide you a survey that is both
   comprehensive and specific.
   To be comprehensive, we'll cover the three main groups of online
   systems: commercial online services (CompuServe and others), bulletin
   board systems and the Internet.
   To be specific, we'll present you all the necessary information to help
   you make a decision. Take electronic mail, for example. Virtually all
   online systems offer electronic mail service. However, listing dozens of
   services and saying that they all offer e-mail would do little to help
   you make an intelligent decision. We'll also provide specific details
   about each service such as
  • How much does it cost?
  • How fast does a message get delivered?
  • Is the e-mail message protected? (Can someone else besides the

recipient read your mail messages?)

  • Can you send e-mail to people that are not subscribers of the


  • Can you send a file with your message?
  • Is there a limit on the size of the file you can send with your


  • How can you reach the service?
  • Can you read and reply messages offline?
   I use MCI Mail, CompuServe and the Internet for e-mail on a daily basis.
   Do I need all these accounts? Not really. Theoretically I only need one
   of them. (Yes, you can send e-mail from MCI Mail to a CompuServe or an
   Internet user, and vice versa.) Why do I have three accounts then?
   Because each has its pros and cons. And I use e-mail so much so that the
   three accounts combined offer me the best solution.
   (Note: CompuServe is a good deal for e-mail only if you join the Basic
   Service Plan. To join this experimental program, type GO NEWBASIC at any
   ! prompt. For $7.95 per month, you are allowed to send 60 messages. Each
   message can have up to 7500 characters. Note that there is a surcharge
   for sending e-mail to MCI Mail users. Also, reading e-mail sent to you
   from Internet also count against your monthly allowance.)
   For the past eight years, I've worked as a computer consultant. I
   decided to pursue my career as a computer writer a few months ago. In
   the past three months, I have signed contracts for two computer books to
   be published in 1992.
   "The Joy of Telecomputing" is a project that I believe is sorely needed.
   Initially I have considered submitting it to the computer book
   publishers. However, I have learned that it can easily take six to nine
   months (if no longer) to get a book published. As a result, by the time
   the book gets to the readers, it is probably obsolete. (It may not be
   too bad if this is a book on C programming. But a book on the
   online world?) Therefore, I decide to try it on my own to see whether
   the online community would support such a project.
   The online world is constantly changing and it will remain one of the
   hottest growing area in microcomputing for many years to come. By
   keeping the project under my own control, I'll be able to provide you
   the information you need on a timely basis.
   "The Joy of Telecomputing" is an ongoing project. It will be updated
   every quarter. Future updates of "What you need to know about modems"
   will remain available on BBS and other online services.
   If there are enough supporters for this project, I would like to set up
   a BBS. (What else?) You will be able to exchange informations, download
   files and participate in discussions about the ever evolving online

What's in "Life Beyond CompuServe?"

   Part II of "The Joy of Telecomputing" provides a comprehensive survey of
   the online world. It covers the three major groups of online systems:
  • Commercial online services (America Online, BIX, CompuServe, DELPHI,

GEnie, MCI Mail, Prodigy, etc).

  • BBS (including discussions on FidoNet, RIME, etc)
  • The Internet (including discussions on UUCP, Usenet, Bitnet, etc).
   Commercial Online Services
   In general, commercial online services do not offer good
   price/performance, though some of them excel in certain areas (such as
   e-mail). We'll look at the major commercial online services (CompuServe,
   GEnie, Prodigy, etc.) and see what they offer and what they are good
   for. Major topics covered are:
  • What are the major commercial online services?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How can you access those services?
  • What do they offer? How do they compare with each other?
  • How do they compare with BBS?
   The World of BBS
   It is estimated that more than 30,000 bulletin boards exist in the
   United States. If you live in a metropolitan area, you'll probably find
   hundreds of BBS that are local. Most BBS operate as a hobby by their
   owners and without charge to their users. There are many BBS that have
   members all over the United States (and the world).
   The world of BBS has become a phenomenon. BBS are no longer isolated
   systems. Fidonet, the network linking thousands of BBS around the world,
   allows users on one BBS to communicate with those on other BBS.
   Recently, with gateways to the UUCP network, many BBS has allowed their
   members to exchange e-mail with users of the Internet and to participate
   in Usenet newsgroups.
   We'll cover the following topics:
  • How many BBS are there? How do they compare?
  • How much does it cost to become a member?
  • What are the limitations?
  • How to find BBS numbers?
  • Which BBS offers the latest and greatest files for PC users?

Macintosh users? Amiga users?

  • Which BBS are good for chatting? Which are good for conferences?
  • What is Fidonet? How does it work? What does it offer?
  • How to join Fidonet as a node?
  • How to become a point on Fidonet?
  • How to send e-mail from Fidonet to Internet (and from Internet to


  • What is RIME?
  • What are the major BBS software available?
  • How to use BBS effectively?
  • What software tools you need and where to find them?
  • BBS Etiquette
  • Why ZTerm is the best program to use for calling BBS? (For Macintosh

users only)

  • What are MacBinary files? How to download a Macintosh file to a PC?

How to download a PC file to a Macintosh? (For Mac users or people

     who use both Mac and PC.)
   If you want someone to learn UNIX, show him the Internet. (You don't
   need to be a UNIX expert to use the Internet though. Besides, UNIX is
   not really that hard.)
   Internet is a global computer network linking hundreds of thousands of
   computers (mainly UNIX computers) at universities, research institutions
   and government agencies. Internet is unsurpassed for e-mail and
   conferences (called newsgroups in the UNIX world). It is also an
   invaluable resource for free software. Some major topics covered are:
  • What is Internet
  • What is UUCP? What is Usenet? What is Bitnet?
  • What can you do on the Internet?
  • How to send e-mail on the Internet?
  • How to send e-mail from Internet to CompuServe, MCI Mail, Fidonet

(and vice versa)?

  • How to send binary files?
  • What newsgroups are available?
  • How to participate in a newsgroup?
  • Etiquette
  • What is FTP?
  • What is Anonymous FTP?
  • How to use FTP?
  • What are the FTP sites available?
  • How to find the files you need?
  • What is telnet?
  • What can you do with telnet? (Read "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll

for a first-hand account on how a German hacker use telnet to break

     into computers on Internet.)
   * How to use telnet?
   * How can you get an Internet account?
   * What services are available? What kind of access level do they offer?
   * How much do they cost?
   * How to transfer files from a UNIX host to your personal computer?
   * What are uuencode and uudecode?
   * What are compress, tar and shar?

What's in "Is AT&T The Right Choice?"

Part III of "The Joy of Telecomputing" provides detailed discussions on the
various ways you can reach a remote system (i.e., a system which is not
local to you). What is the most cost-effective way to reach those systems?
There are generally two options you have to reach a remote system:
   1. You can place a distance call using AT&T, MCI, etc.
   2. You can reach the system via some packet-switching networks by
      dialing a local number (the system you are calling may already have a
      deal with a packet-switching network and charge you accordingly, or
      you may subscribe to one of the packet-switching networks yourself).
   However, packet-switching networks differ widely in what they offer, how
   much they charge, and how well they perform. We'll look at some of the
   services available (PC Pursuit, Connect-USA, Accu*Link, Tymnet,
   REDI-Access, etc.).
  • How many ways can you reach a remote system? What are the pros and


  • What are packet-switching networks?
  • How do they work?
  • What services are available?
  • What do they offer?
  • What kinds of modems do they support?
  • What are the differences in performance among different

packet-switching network?

  • How much do they cost?
  • Are packet-switching networks cost-effective?

How to order "The Joy of Telecomputing"

   30-Day Money-Back Guarantee: If you are not satisfied with your purchase
   of "The Joy of Telecomputing," return it in resalable condition with all
   the original packaging within the guarantee period for a refund check.
   Shipping cost is not refundable.
   To order a printed copy of "The Joy of Telecomputing," send a check or
   money order to the following address:
   Patrick Chen
   P.O. Box 5325
   Irvine, CA 92716  (USA)
   "The Joy of Telecomputing"..................................$19.95
   Shipping & Handling (see below).............................$_____
   California residents please add 7.75% tax ($1.55)...........$_____
   Note: Shipping to 48 continental states is $5.00. Alaska, Hawaii, and
   Canada is $10.00. Other countries, please send e-mail before ordering.
   Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.
   There is no need to fill out the order form if you are sending a check
   with your name and address printed on it.
   Non U.S. residents: please send checks or money orders drawn on U.S.
   Banks in U.S. Funds.
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