Have dial-up modems reached their limit?

It's not likely that users will soon see modems that exceed 56K bit/sec on store shelves, but it is also not impossible.

ISPs are slow to adopt V.92, the International Telecommunications Union's latest modem standard, but technically, modems can go faster.

"It seems that for the time being we have reached a limit, since there is no proposal from the industry for new algorithms," says Pierre-Andre Probst, a senior telecommunications advisor at Swisscom AG and chairman of the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) study group 16, which works on access standards.

But Probst points out that it is difficult to predict what may develop in the future. "Four years ago the experts were of the opinion that the modem work was almost complete, and they did not expect new standards," he says. Then the ITU was pushed to develop the 56K bit/sec standards.

Although the ITU's V.90 and V.92 standards max out at 56K bit/sec downstream, that doesn't mean modems theoretically cannot go faster.

It's important to note that the limit has nothing to do with the copper lines which make up the public switched telephone network, but instead has to do with the analog-to-digital converters deployed on that network, Probst says.

Each telephone line channel contains 4 KHz of analog bandwidth, which is equivalent to 64K bit/sec of digital bandwidth, he says. With perfect conditions a telephone line could - again, theoretically - support 64K bit/sec.

It's powerful signal processing in V.90 and V.92 modems that allows for 56K bit/sec over this channel today, Probst says. "Further improvements to increase this (throughput) will not only depend on progress in technologies, but also on the priority given by the industry. It seems they are focusing on other products such as DSL."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?