ISPreview - New Modem standard - v.92

ISP Review takes a look at the latest modem standard to hit the streets

New Modem Standard v92
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Mar 21st 2001 : Page 1 of 3

"However since 1997, when the v.90 standard became more commonplace, we've had no real need for a faster modem technology, until now."


A typical modem may not be the fastest of ways you could connect to the Internet, although without a doubt they're still the most robust and common of devices used throughout the world.

In America where broadband is cheaper than most of the UKs unmetered ISPs, bog standard modems still dominate as the chief way of connecting to the Internet. There are many reasons for this, including cost (cheap), ease of use and the fact that not everybody needs a 24/7 connection with super fast speeds.

However since 1997, when the v.90 standard became more commonplace, we've had no real need for a faster modem technology, until now.

The Technical Limits

The problem with making modems faster is simply that standard copper phone lines aren't economically or practically capable of carrying faster than 53,000 Baud transmissions. Older voice networks work in a physically different way from ADSL and Cable-Modem communications, a way which means bandwidth over a normal phone line can be up to four times more expensive.

ADSL and Cable Modem connections connect to specialised routers, switches and networks. Modems and converted ISDN (BT HH) calls still use the older networks, which are more expensive than modern ones. Not to mention the fact that older networks simply weren't designed for data transmissions, making connection speeds limited and variable depending on many factors.

The last standard to be introduced, v.90, took existing connection speeds and technologies to such limits, claiming potential connection speeds of 56Kbps (56,000 Baud). In reality the physical maximum you could reach through a copper wire was 53,000 and the limits of the network and line quality itself meant most people had speeds of between 40,000 and 50,000 baud at best.

So when in early 1999 a new standard was proposed, v.92, it was treated with great caution.

What Is V.92?

The new v.92 standard is different from previous modem standards and incarnations in that it doesn't improve downstream (download) speeds. Instead it improves upon existing technologies present in v.90 (hence the v.02 increase) in order to enhance upstream (upload) transmission among many other things.

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