Buy these modems in pairs to get top performance

Amquest Corp.'s AM33141V-HY internal HyperModem, for example, has built-in
fax-on-demand and voice-mail capabilities.

The HyperModems are no speed slouches. They send at standard speeds and provide a
maximum compressed data transfer speed of 300 kilobits/sec when used in pairs.

Because of the speed of modem evolution, the external AM3314E-HY HyperModem and the
internal AM33141V-HY specified a top standard speed of 28.8 kilobits/sec even though both
are compatible with the faster 33.6-kilobit/sec standard.

I liked the two-headed serial cable that came with the external modem, ready for both
types of serial ports without an extra adapter.

The external HyperModem doesn't support voice or fax on demand, but its easier
installation could make it the better choice for many federal users.

The internal HyperModem comes in voice and nonvoice versions. I tested the voice
version because of its potential as a reasonably priced telephone and fax management call
center for small offices.

Users can run into port conflicts when installing cards. The internal HyperModem
provided external access for changing COM port and interrupt request (IRQ) settings. That
made configuration easier, because the card didn't have to be removed repeatedly from the
PC to change default settings.

The most installation help came from the utility software. The utility quickly detected
free COM ports and notified me before installation began.

Amquest includes voice mail and fax-on-demand software only with the internal modem,
because the serial cables for external modems lack the necessary connections. The Amquest
voice and fax software works with BitWare from Cheyenne Software Inc. of Roslyn Heights,
N.Y., and is only for Microsoft Windows environments.

If you plan to funnel your voice-mail and fax needs through a HyperModem inside a
dedicated PC, choose an older Windows PC with enough hard-drive space to store the fax
documents and digitized voice messages.

Installation and setup for the voice software is easy: Record messages through the
external microphone input port. These messages can guide callers to any fax documents or
voice mailboxes you might wish to configure.

Fax documents are created by selecting the Amquest fax driver as the printer target for
Windows software-no need to print documents and fax them back into your system.

To set up a fax-on-demand or voice mailbox, just click on a button to designate the
type when you configure each box.

For fax retrieval, users will get instant gratification if they call from the handset
of a fax machine. Or the system can offer the option of faxing to another number.

Both modems should be compatible with all other fast modems. No modem always reaches
28.8- or 33.6-kilobit/sec speeds in real life, but the HyperModems dealt with noisy lines
as well as other fast modems I've tried.

Likewise, fax speeds seldom reached the theoretical 14.4-kilobit/sec maximum, but here
the problem wasn't bad telephone connections, it was that most installed fax machines are
limited to 9,600 bits/sec.

Amquest's proprietary 8-to-1 data compression works only with Amquest or other hyper
modems at both connection ends. This feature uses the newest 20-MHz Rockwell controller/
data pump chip set that compresses better than older 14-MHz chip sets.

When I tested this high-speed data link, it did speed up some file transfers, so I
would rate it a success, although it rarely approached the maximum theoretical transfer
speed of 300 kilobits/sec.

This link would save time on all but the noisiest connections between offices that
transfer lots of files by modem.

Even if you have V.34+ modems, it is worth your while to buy HyperModems for faster
file transfers-as long you buy for both ends.

John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with
computers since the early 1960s.

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