MODEMS: It’s Black-and-white…



Technology Options
n Dial-up
Modems:
The ubiquitous dial-up modems have not seen much advancement in
technology, but are still popular. 56k modems are still the fastest available
though the V.92 standard is an enhancement on the existing V.90 technology. The
V.92 standard offers features like faster upload speeds, quicker connection
times and streamlined call handling. This technology lets users take advantage
of Internet Call Notification (ICN). It also offers other features such as
modem-on-hold, quick connect, and V.PCM.

Modem-on-hold suspends the online session for incoming calls, and then
returns to the online activities after the user’s phone conversation, without
the need to redial. For this, the user needs to enable the call-waiting feature
from the telephone service provider.

Main
Vendors

l

D-Link

l

Dax

l

Microtek

l

MRO-Tek

Quick Connect is a feature that can reduce dial-up connection time by 50
percent. This feature ‘remembers’ line conditions from the previous session,
bypasses portions of the training/handshake sequence, and gets the user online
faster.

The V.PCM enhancement lets the user send information quickly on the Web.
V.PCM Upstream reaches speeds up to 48 kbps and lets the user choose either the
fastest downstream speed (up to 53 kbps) or a ‘balanced’ connection of
downstream and upstream communication.

n DSL Modems: Digital
subscriber line (DSL) presents broadband Internet access over regular (copper)
telephone lines. A DSL modem facilitates simultaneous voice and data
transmission over the same line. It does this by splitting the copper line into
two frequency ranges. The frequencies below 4 KHz are reserved for voice, and
the range above that is used for data.

DSL modems based on G.Lite technology can download data at speeds up to 1.5
Mbps, which is 25 times faster than 56k modems.

n Cable
Modems:
Cable modems convert Internet data into a radio frequency (RF)
signal that can be transmitted over coaxial cable. Transmission speeds vary, as
depending on the technology being used there is a difference between upstream
and downstream speeds. Cable is a shared medium and so transmission speeds will
slow down as more users log on. Regular cable TV companies are providing
Internet access as a value-added service. In addition, there are service
providers who are offering only Internet access over cable.

n ISDN Modems:
The ISDN modem connects the computer to a digital communications line (ISDN
line). The transmission over the line is purely digital.

n LAN Modems: The
concept of shared Internet access has resulted in LAN modems. These modems have
a built-in IP router, 4-port 10BASE-T hub and voice ports. In effect, this
device allows the user to instantly create a 10 Mbps LAN for the SOHO, and share
a printer, modem or fax machine.

Buying Tips

n Dial-up
Modems:
The 56k internal modem is more popular today, though power users
still prefer external modems. The external modems are also more reliable and
offer better download speeds. Besides, if the user is not confident about
opening up the machine, it is better to stick to an external modem.

n Driver
Availability:
Check if the modem driver is available on the vendor website.

n Cable Modems–Standards
Compliance
: The cable modem must comply with the Data Over Cable Service
Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 1.0 standards.

n DSL Modems: Standards
Compliance: The modem should support industry standards like G.lite and ITU
G.dmt.

Compatibility: Most of the types of DSL technologies like DSL, HDSL,
VDSL, and RADSL are incompatible with one another. It is therefore important
that the user uses the same type of DSL technology as the service provider.

Market Information

Popular mostly among retail users as well as in some corporates, the dial-up
modem market in India is currently pegged at Rs 116 crore. D-Link at 45 percent
currently enjoys a lion’s share, though Dax and Microtek have also emerged as
strong brands in the south and north respectively. 90 percent of the dial-up
modems sold were internal, but a healthy 10 percent were still external units.
The reasons for this shift: apart from loading the CPU, advantages of internal
modems start right from cost benefits to no external power adapters to space
saving features and discouraging of amateur troubleshooting.

Apart from dial-up, the leased line modem market, pegged at Rs 120 crore,
also saw a significant drop in prices, mostly due to the reduction in the prices
of leased line connections. MRO-Tek continues to lead in this segment with over
70 percent market share, selling over 20,000 leased line modems. However, the
segment is unlikely to witness much growth due to the crash in prices of modems.
The growth rate has been poor because of the delays in the broadband backbones
being implemented. Only enterprises and large government bodies are able to
afford leased lines in India today, and the market for leased line modems is
just these players. Even on the leased line front, players like D-Link and Ascom
have made significant inroads.

In the cable modem space, 3Com, Terayon and Scientific Atlanta were the main
players while Alcatel, Ericsson and MRO-Tek dominated the show in the DSL space.

EXPERTS
PANEL

Anand
Mehta,
marketing manager, D-Link India
S
Narayanan,
chairman and managing director, MRO-Tek
Sujit
Singh,
country manager, Dax Networks

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