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Analog Modems

Analog modems are devices that provide a data connection over the POTS, or plain old telephone service. Today, the fastest analog modem, v.90, is 56Kbps—about the speed of the telephone company's internal digital connection. Although the modems are commonly referred to as 56Kbps, they can't send faster than 53Kbps because of FCC restrictions on maximum power transmission. Because of this and line noise problems inherent with analog modems, it's not likely that they will get any faster anytime soon. This means that organizations looking to connect faster than that will need to look to other technologies for their future Internet connectivity needs.

At the low end of the Internet connectivity spectrum, small offices are making the choice between single or multiple analog modems and digital offerings such as ISDN, cable modems, or xDSL. Modems are still popular because of the ready availability of telephone lines, the relative ease of connecting a modem, and the fact that local calls are often included in local billing. The other options, ISDN, xDSL, and cable modems, have the advantage of being digital and therefore less prone to spurious noise. One problem with any new technology is that if it doesn't become widely adopted, chances are high that it will suffer the fate of the BetaMax and the Commodore Amiga.

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