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Joel Durham Jr. - ExtremeTech

You've had your computer for years. You've been surfing at a mere 28.8K since the beginning of the Internet. You even got a second phone line because you spend so long waiting for pages to load that you're afraid you'll miss important calls. Now you hear about this amazing high-speed dial-up technology, but what are the chances you can use it? You'd probably need to upgrade your whole machine, or at least your modem, right?
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No. No, in fact, you don't. Most of the ISPs that offer a high-speed option require a remarkably lean computer, often with a sub-200MHz processor requirement. Better yet, they'll be copacetic with your current modem, so long as it's at least 28.8K (but you'll be much happier with a 56K modem).

How can that be? The simple truth is that the technology isn't hardware-dependent at all. The caching occurs both in your browser's hard disk cache and on the ISP's server; the compression happens in software. All of the tricks and stunts that the high-speed services employ are behind the scenes, completely transparent to you and indeed to your modem. Thus, the same squeaking little hunk of green plastic and circuitry can handle the gyrations of speedier browsing.

That doesn't mean you don't want to upgrade your modem. If you don't already have one, you might consider upgrading to a V.92 modem from your 28.8K or V.90(56K) modem.

For the uninitiated, V.92 is still a 56K technology--it's not any faster. What it does offer are a few features that, if supported by your ISP of choice, can be very attractive. The most enticing is modem-on-hold, which allows incoming telephone calls to interrupt your Web surfing session without disconnecting it. You can take the call, talk for a few minutes, hang up, and go on surfing as if you had a second phone line. V.92 modems also connect faster and offer other features over earlier technologies.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...1739&ncid=1729