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Old Updates (Jul '00 - Jun '01)
15-Jun-01 - Verizon sues Covad - Verizon filed suit this week against Covad accusing it of blaming Verizon for Covad installation and service problems. At this time, Covad hasn't released any response. (Verizon itself is the target of previously filed class-action on behalf of Verizon's DSL customers. See 19-Jan-01 Update below.)
8-Jun-01 - 3Com to exit Broadband - 3Com has issued a profit warning and announced it will exit the low-margin cable and DSL modem businesses, although it will honor warranties and existing customer orders for the broadband modems. 3Com will concentrate on network equipment (ISPs) with its CommWorks division, although there is a great deal of discontent among ISP customers of that division: A lack of regard for customers, the lack of V.92 upgrades, and heavy-handed support policies are combining to drive a number of 3Com's customers to other vendors.
8-Jun-01 - Juno & NetZero to Merge - A new company - United Online - will be created in an all-stock deal merging the 2 remaining major free Internet Service Providers - both of which have been attempting to convert subscribers from free to paid. The companies claim to have a total of 7 million active subscribers - second in number only to AOL - but, less than 15% currently pay for access. United Online will market its 'free' service under the name NetZero, and its subscription service under the Juno name.
26-May-01 - DUNS Update - Microsoft has released a Dial-up Networking upgrade (version 1.4) for Windows 95/98/98se. The upgrade resolves a problem with and provides 128-bit security for PPTP. See this MS KB Article.
25-May-01 - Broadband: The Weakest Link - Bill Gates, speaking at Microsoft's CEO Summit in Redmond, WA said Wednesday that the bursting of the dot.com bubble is only "the end of the beginning" calling the next few years "the big one". However, Gates said the biggest problem holding back progress in the cost and availability of broadband communication. He said that progress continues to be very slow, and that it would be optimistic to think that even 20% of homes would have a fast Internet connection four years from now! Also see: Broadband: Not So Fast!
10-May-01 - V.92 that isn't V.92? Tell me it isn't so! Phoebe Micro is selling Conexant-based HCF and HSF "V.92" modems that don't include V.92? See V.92 News 10-May-01.
3-May-01 - 808hi.com Mail Server Attacked - Yesterday evening, in a matter of minutes, I received over 4000 identical e-mail messages, apparently sent by a student at the County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ. Before the number rose to 7000, I took steps to disable the receipt of mail. If you sent mail to me addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, it may have been deleted without being read, delivered, or acknowledged. Meanwhile, much of my time is being consumed by the latest trouble and customer service woes at Hawaii Road Runner. Be prepared for broadband price increases: with a large portion of the independent DSL providers in bankruptcy, monopoly telephone companies and cable companies have, or are preparing to implement price hikes for DSL and Cable Internet Access.
19-Apr-01 - USR 5610 Performance Pro Shrieks! - A number of owners are reporting intermittent problems with this modem unable to connect: the modem starts making a screaching noise as soon as it goes off-hook. A number of users have contacted USR support which sends back canned, robotic, inaccurate responses that are totally unrelated to the original inquiry. See: Forum56 - USR 5610 Garbled Noise.
6-Apr-01 - V.92 Commands - US Robotics' command to enable/disable PCM upstream is exactly the reverse of Lucent/Agere's implementation, despite efforts to adopt standard modem commands (V.250). See V.92 commands. Now that V.92 support has been released to ISPs with certain Lucent access servers, isn't it time that Zoom provides driver & software that supports actually supports V.92 for the modems it's been selling since November as 'V.92'???
5-Apr-01 - Trouble ISPs - PSI.net - a global access and hosting ISP received a cash infusion of $277 million by selling part of its business; but, Internet World reports this only delays a Chapter 11 filing - 'all roads lead to Bankruptcy.' PSI Juno and Netzero battle in court. While free ISP Juno may be working on 'taking over your computer', some feel Juno will not be around much longer. Trouble everywhere - predictions that only 10% of the publicly-traded dot.com companies in the SF Bay area will survive. The quality of and 'free' access to information on the Internet is threatened by the total collapse of advertising revenue: just a year ago, it was not uncommon for an advertiser to pay 2 cents or more for each banner displayed on a "quality" site; today, rates are approaching zero (currently, CPM rates as low as 10 cents, or $100 for 1 million banners). This is not a recession - it is a bloodbath.
24-Mar-01 - DSL Disconnected- AT&T will buy assets of wholesale DSL provider Northpoint - minus its 100,000 customers. DSL service to ISPs - and their customers - may be shut down next week. Microsoft has published a "Dear Customer" letter for its DSL subscribers informing them they will lose high-speed service, and offering 6 free months of dial-up service. Other ISPs - including Megapath and EV1are trying to transition customers to other DSL providers. Part of the problem end users face with any DSL provider: once you have even an order for a DSL line, your provider must release your DSL service before you can order service from another provider. A number of people have had to resort to changing their phone number to resolve the DSL provider lock. Other affected ISPs include: IBN, DSLi, Telocity, Panix, Verio, Velotel, DSLNorthwest, APK and more. Many of the customers using the service are businesses with web servers. Meanwhile, EBN reports Intel will give up on its G.Lite DSL chip effort, and that its entire DSL chip effort is "up in the air".
22-Mar-01 - USR & V.92 - Will your USR V.90 modem have a free upgrade to V.92? Not if it's the "old" Courier - which is the only Courier listed on the "current" USR website. In fact, the promise of "many" appears to be in fact only a few USR models. See the updated V.92 Special Report and the new page on the new (not widely available) Courier.
16-Mar-01 - My Vital Agent - is the new name and release of Net.Medic by Lucent INS. Now supporting Windows 9x, NT, Me, and 2K, it is available at no charge. (Also see: Throughput check.) Trouble Beyond the Modem pages updated with information on a great traceroute tool - Ping Plotter, as well as the first Understanding Traces page.
1-Mar-01 - USR V.92 Upgrades - The V.92 Special Report covers the free V.92 upgrade availability for USR modems and the US Robotics V.92 announcement.
23-Feb-01 - ESS Modems Stop Working - "ESS has discovered a time-based coding error that may affect the dial-up function of a limited number of computers with ESS modems." It appears that the ESS driver causes the modem to stop working in WindowsMe on and after February 21, 2001. The modem can be made to work by setting a system date earlier than 21-Feb-01; ESS has released a patch and established a toll-free number for assistance with this problem.
18-Feb-01 - Site updates - New pages include information on Broadcom BCM & Lucent Venus modems. The 56k Modem Survey now has the BCM chipset listed. V.92 news updated with Nortel/Bay Networks information.
11-Feb-01 - Verizon halts DSL sales - Citing capacity issues, this report indicates Verizon has stopped selling DSL services at 53 cites affecting about 35% of its 1850 central offices in 30 states. This move comes less than a month after a class action was filed against Verizon over DSL performance issues. (See Jan. 19 update below)
9-Feb-01 - Zoom & PCTEL losses - Zoom Telephonics reports a loss of $3.1 million and declining sales for the year ending 12/31/00. The loss is more than double the loss reported for 1999. Over 95% of Zoom sales came from dial-up modems in the last quarter. Zoom is pinning hopes for better results of V.92 and broadband (cable and DSL) modems. Zoom stock is trading around $4 a share - off from a high of over $18 in March, 2000. (NASDAQ:ZOOM) Meanwhile, PCTel has announced its first loss in over 4 years and is responding by laying off 11% of its workforce, or 21 of a worldwide total of 198. In addition, some contractors and consultants are also being terminated. PCTel also announced the acquisition of Taiwan-based Bluecom Technologies which will assume "primary responsibility for supporting PCTel's legacy analog" modems. PCTel will focus its efforts on the emerging broadband and wireless markets. PCTel stock is trading around $10 per share - off from a high of over $90 in March, 2000. (NASDAQ:PCTI)
2-Feb-01 - Free ISPs - The Dot.com crash has changed the landscape for Free Internet Access - there are now very few free ISPs, and many have started to place limits on how much you can use them. A new entrant: AmericanExpress Online - offers unlimited free Internet access - the only requirement: you must be an Amex cardholder.
19-Jan-01 - Verizon DSL Class Action - A class action lawsuit was filed Jan. 16 against Verizon on behalf of Verizon DSL customers. The action alleges Verizon promised high-speed Internet access, and that customers have experienced "...significant access disruptions..." and that "...Verizon was aware that it would be unable to provide DSL service as promised..." Customers of other DSL companies face similar and additional problems: many of the smaller independent DSL companies are in severe financial trouble. Most DSL providers require customers to sign a long-term agreement, and are unable to terminate service from troubled companies. See DSL Reports Deathwatch.
8-Jan-01 - USR V.92 PRESS RELEASE? - US Robotics' web site has a V.92 press release that refers to material I cannot find on their own website! See the latest V.92 News & Updates.
31-Dec-00 - Broadband Nightmare - Resolved - It turns out that this problem has affected every Hawaii ISP - dialup or broadband - that purchases connectivity from UUNet. More here.
30-Dec-00 - 900 # Modem Call Scam - A few days ago, I saw an item on an ISP help page regarding a scam that some adult sites are using that downloads a java applet to your system, disconnects you from your ISP, and without your knowledge, reconnects via a 900 number for the duration of your adult-site viewing. It can take 30-60 days for the $40 or more charge to appear on your phone bill. Yesterday, I heard from someone this actually happened to. You can prevent this from happening by disabling Java in your security settings.
29-Dec-00 - Broadband Nightmare - For over 11 days now, my Roadrunner broadband connection effectively blocks me from accessing various websites (speed of 4 minutes or more to load a single page!). The affected sites change depending upon the IP Address assigned to my cable modem/system. I know that this affects at least the entire Island of Hawaii, and have been told that it affects other mainland Roadrunner systems as well. Anyone with a brain can see the problem, but apparently no one is capable of resolving it.... See this page.
21-Dec-00 - Lucent / Agere - The support and information pages for Lucent-based modem products at www.lucent.com have been updated with the new Agere name: this is causing some confusion as there are varying references to Agere-chipset modems with no indication these used to be called Lucent chipset modems. For example, the generic driver information page for the Lucent Win Modem indicates it is for "Agere Systems Chipsets".
8-Dec-00 - V.92 update - Cisco and Conexant plans for V.92/V.44 updated in the V.92 Special Report.
Should You Buy a 56k Modem page revised, updated and renamed Buying a 56k Modem?
6-Dec-00 - Lucent spin-off - The microelectronics division will be named Agere Systems. Lucent's 5-Dec Press Release indicates there will be an IPO for Agere in the first quarter of 2001, and the spinoff should be completed by the summer of 2001.
22-Nov-00 - Zoom: V.92 Party Pooper? - Do you have a Lucent-based Win Modem? The latest update to the V.92 Special Report and the new LT & V.92 page reveal the new Zoom V.92 modem is essentially the old Zoom V.90 modem - with a driver they intentionally wish to cripple.
22-Nov-00 - Free ISPs disappearing - CMGI, owner of FreeISP 1st Up, provider for more than 130 brands of Free Internent Access, is seeking a buyer, and announced it will move customers to another provider if a buyer is not found. (Source: C|Net news item dated 14-Nov) FreeISP Juno announced yesterday "...it will begin taking measures to turn bandwidth hogs into sensible customers" according to this C|Net news item. [Also see my article, The Price of Free, in the latest 56k=v.Unreliable Newsletter.] Driving these changes is the truly drastic reduction in rates for banner ads and other web-based advertising. This will also drive changes in content sites whose [only] source of revenue is from advertising. (No wonder Les at 56k.com is taking a vacation until next year!)
18-Nov-00 - Clogged Information Highway - Want to see how bad the Internet can get? Just try to surf using any national ISP (MSN, Verizon, Prodigy, AT&T, Juno, etc.) using a Hawaii access number. I've added a new page today with more information and opinion: Clogged Highway.
16-Nov-00 - V.92 at Comdex - Lucent exhibit at Comdex in Las Vegas shows V.92 - more or less.... See the V.92 Special Report.
14-Nov-00 - 3Com settles Class Action - pending court approval, 3Com will pay over $250 million in cash to settle class actions resulting from 3Com's purchase in 1997 of US Robotics. Now a separate company (3Com maintains a minority interest in the new US Robotics), USR was repeatedly cited as the reason for 3Com's poor financial performance in 1998 & 1999.
9-Nov-00 - EOL for PortMasters - Lucent Portmaster product manager Marty Likier today formally announced that all Portmaster products have officially reached end-of-life status. This includes the PM3 and [never finished] PM4 product lines used by many ISPs. EOL status means that Lucent will no longer enhance or sell the product line, and will eventually discontinue support and spare parts. Lucent previously indicated that there would be no V.92 upgrade for PortMaster product (see 1-Oct-00 update).
31-Oct-00 - Zoom ships V.92 modem - Although there are no ISPs supporting V.92, Zoom has become the first company to offer modems based on the new standard that has not yet been finalized. See the updated V.92 Special Report.
21-Oct-00 - V.92 Update - Industry source indicates V.92's upstream boost may come at expense of downstream rates. See the updated V.92 Special Report.
19-Oct-00 - PCTel Generic Drivers - In a switch from the "we only make chips - not modems" excuse for lack of modem support, PCTel has made generic drivers for its HSP software modems available at its website. More info on PCTel modems. Meanwhile, promised generic HCF drivers from Conexant have never appeared, and the HCF product will be discontinued.
1-Oct-00 - No V.92 for PM3 ISPs - While no vendor has announced definitive plans for V.92 support, it appears that there will be no V.92 support for ISPs using Lucent Portmaster-3 equipment: V.92 Special Report updated. Meanwhile, the independent Russian USR site is reporting that USR will introduce a new Courier V.Everything and has stopped production on currently-available V.90 models. [The USR website sells the current V.90 Courier external for $289.]
1-Oct-00 - Uninstalling ME - Receiving feedback from several users who upgraded their Win95/98 systems to WinME - things seem to work OK, but soon, enough problems and headache to take the 'easy way out': UNINSTALL ME!
25-Sep-00 - Conexant to split into 2 companies - Conexant, itself a spin-off of giant Rockwell International in February '99, has announced it will split into two independent companies. One will be focused on "Internet Infrastructure", the other on "Personal Networking Applications". The press release does not mention the analog modem business at all - as the Networking Applications company "...will continue its focus on high volume, high-growth opportunities with breakthrough solutions for DSL and cable modems, digital set-top boxes, and accelerating diversification from CDMA to GSM and TDMA digital cellular handsets," The spin-off will take place in two steps beginning in January, 2001.
23-Sep-00 Bandwidth Shortage - Internet backbone provider Cable & Wireless will not take orders for new bandwidth in the US until November 17 according to this ZDNet story. According to ISP Flex.com, only UUNet is taking orders for Hawaii-Mainland circuits until next year - and, as these recent VR traces show, UUNet already offers lousy service at non-peak times. Users converting to cable and DSL broadband services are finding the problem can cause broadband to deliver little more than 56k throughput all too often. The entire internet infrastructure is premised on oversubscription: discarding packets of data when buffers fill, and this oversubscription is not being managed well by the industry as a whole.
23-Sep-00 - Linux & Soft56 - The French portion of the Olitec site has a beta Linux driver for the Rockwell/Conexant Soft56 modem. See [bottom of] Soft56 page.
20-Sep-00 - Thumbtack modem - Lucent has announced new analog modem chipsets that use 2 chips each smaller than the size of thumbtack. This chipset includes digital signal processor (DSP), and according to the Lucent press release, will be upgradable to V.92.
19-Sep-00 - WindowsME & Modems - See this page for issues relating to modems and the newest Microsoft consumer version of Windows. A problem with ME may prevent connections to AOL, cause disconnections, or the computer to hang.
10-Sep-00 3Com/USR Split - As of Sep 2, 3Com and US Robotics are two separate companies with separate infrastructures. The new USR is taking over support of client modems, and is expanding its website - www.usr.com. (For a limited time, some parts of 3Com's site will have modem info/files!) USR links on the Links page have been updated - there are still some working links there to 3Com-maintained pages. The new USR website is lacking important functionality - including a Search that doesn't work at all! Get the 3Com-maintained files while you still can! (Also see: 3Com announcement.)
9-Sep-00 - Soft56 & DOS Support - HP says DOS-box modem support isn't important. Special Report updated. Also: I've solved all my 56k modem trouble - at least for a few hours.... Broadband arrives in parts of South Kona....
3-Sep-00 - Windows & 'High-delay' TCP/IP - Microsoft has a patch for Windows 95/98 TCP/IP problem which may cause premature retransmission of packets in 'high-delay' networks. The problem also affects WindowsNT where the patch is part of ServicePack 6. See this new Netstat page.
31-Aug-00 - Modem Database - New to the site - a searchable modem database that has a lofty goal: to gather information on the thousands of modem variations in the retail & OEM marketplace. This database needs volunteers to make entries for the modem(s) you have information on.
23-Aug-00 - DOS Compatible Modems? - There's a problem with some Conexant Soft56 modems: see this new Special Report on Conexant DOS Support. Also: new troubleshooting page regarding DOS support for Software Modems. Other new pages include: PORT Already Open or Modem Won't Hangup and Comma Magic troubleshooting pages. Recent revisions to Interactive Troubleshooter, DUNS Error Codes, Wave Device, and Speedup Your Internet Connection.. A new V.92 Survey as well as re-design of 56k Modem Survey.
4-Aug-00 - Conexant to release generic HCF driver - Conexant plans to make a generic HCF modem driver available with new/improved HCF code. According to a Conexant spokesperson, the generic driver is targeted for release around the end of this month.
4-Aug-00 - V.92 update - V.92 Special Report updated again. 22-Jul:Lucent, Cisco and Conexant make vague V.92 product announcements - and more details revealed about the new standard. See V.92 Special Report.
22-Jul-00 - Lucent to spin-off microelectronics division - Along with an earnings warning for investors, Lucent announced on Thursday that it will spin off its microelectronics division forming a new company. The company - currently unnamed - will begin life as the leading provider of communications semiconductors with over $4 billion in annual revenues. There will be an IPO for up to 20% of the company, with the remainder being distributed to Lucent stockholders. The microelectronics division makes, among other products, modem chipsets that are sold to many original equipment modem manufacturers.
14-Jul-00 - V.2000 - The July 10 56k=v.Unreliable Newsletter has a feature titled The Real Modem Fix which is a fictional account of V.2000. I thought it was apparent the story was "a dream", but some who read it didn't understand the intent (with adjoining column Reality). Perhaps my modem dream has a chance of becoming reality? It would be possible to provide significant improvement in dial-up connects (and rates beyond 56k) if the phone companies, modem makers and FCC worked together.... [If you haven't seen the feature, you can obtain the latest newsletter here.]
14-Jul-00 - Phone wiring - A few days ago, I decided to check my modem performance with all other wiring/devices on the line removed. Although I had done this a long time ago and found no performance difference, this time my modem connections (with both USR & LT) had significant improvement: same or slightly higher rate, but much lower error rate and reduced retrains and speedshifts. I've modified my wiring for my modem line! Information on how you can check your line is on Testing Your Phone Wiring.
7-Jul-00 - WorldSpy Dies but Spyware lives on - After losing the majority of US access #'s in June, and promises of restoration of service that never happened, WorldSpy sent a service termination e-mail notice to its subscribers around July 1, 2000 indicating WorldSpy service will no longer be available. The e-mail indicates an agreement with Juno and directs subscribers to the Juno site (which offers no list of local access numbers without downloading software) to sign-up for a new free account. Which is a good time to highlight the risks of downloading software like Juno or CuteFTP from the Internet: it may contain SPYWARE without any disclosure! [While I don't know if Juno contains Spyware, CuteFTP does via Aureate.] Hundreds of "freeware" products install Aureate/Radiate spyware that operates secretly when you access the Internet, reporting on your usage patterns and demographics - even if you uninstall the freeware that included Aureate, the stealth spy program probably continues to live and report on your activities! (Also See: Gibson Research's Opt-Out.)
5-Jul-00 - V.92 approved - The International Telecommunication Union has agreed on three new standards at a meeting in Scotland last week. In addition to V.92 - which may provide up to 48kbps upstream on "the best connections", quicker handshaking, and call-waiting/modem-on-hold capabilities, the group hosted by 3Com, Lucent, Conexant and Motorola also adopted recommendations on 2 additional proposed standards. V.44 is a new data compression technique that may provide a 25% improvement over V.42 compression standards - up to a 6:1 ratio. Finally, new procedures for modem and connection fault-finding were recommended in V.59. Final approval of all 3 standards is now slated for a Study Group meeting scheduled for November, 2000. Also see: ITU press release.
3-Jul-00 - What's a Hardware Modem? - Lucent-sponsored K56Flex.com has a page describing two types of modems on the market today: hardware and software. This page would imply the Lucent LT Win Modem is a hardware modem since it contains a DSP. The confusing fact is: there are 3 types of modems on the market today: hardware-controller; controllerless (w/ DSP) software modems, and soft modems (host signal processing - HSP). And, that Lucent itself is now making all 3 types of modem chipsets despite the strong argument it presents on it's own page against doing so!