In development for years and recently announced just a few days ago, US Robotics has completed the preliminary testing of a new modem standard called v.92 (the current standard being v.90). To put this into layman’s terms, the hole in the wall just got a few inches bigger. Basically, the current stable of v.90 modems operate at 56kbps (bites per second) from server to modem (your ISP to you), and at 33.6kbps from modem to server (from you to your ISP). According the the press release, under the new standard, the client-to-server speeds can be increased to 48kbps, but this increase appears to be simply a ‘redirection’ of “excess download” bandwidth, allowing one to lower the 56kbps and raise the 33.6kpbs rates. In clergical terms, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Not as cool as an outright speed boost, this is still a welcome option for many dial-up users.

In addition to the adjustable transfer rates are the following new features, as described in the press release:

Modem On Hold

Users can suspend a data call, answer an inbound telephone call, and then re-establish the data call without losing the connection. This feature permits fuller utilization of a single phone line, removes the need for a second line and eliminates time lost when the user\’e2\’80\’99s modem disconnects from the Internet. Users must be subscribed to call waiting from their local telephone company to take advantage of this feature.

Quick Connect

Quick Connect shortens a modem\’e2\’80\’99s connection time by remembering the line conditions to the dial-up server. It then uses that information to connect quickly without going through the training sequence. Users will be able to re-establish a connection significantly faster than with the previous standard, reducing the waiting period to establish a connection. The increase in connection speed depends on local line conditions.

Both fall into the category of “cool” but sound like mere window dressing to me. According to ZDNet News, the new modems will begin shipping near the end of March and they estimate the street value at just over $100 USD.


ZDNet News

US Robotics

v.92 website – soon to include list of supporting ISPs.