Mobile users can connect with IBM modem kit

Mobile users can connect with IBM modem kit

Sometimes the lowest-cost choice works just fine. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the portable data communications market.

A mobile user's communications needs are basic: Dial into the Internet, connect to e-mail or business files, and occasionally upload or download something that was left behind or modified on the road.

Box Score

56K PC Card Modem Kit

Mobile connection tool

IBM Corp; Armonk, N.Y.;

tel. 888-411-1932

Price: $55

+ Price, XJack connector

- Average performance

Real-life requirements:

Win9x or NT, 133-MHz 486 or faster processor, free Type II or III PC Card slot

Connection speed is also basic'a theoretical maximum of 56 Kbps, and that's if the hotel has good telephone lines. I used to average only about 19 Kbps, but I'm doing better now with IBM Corp.'s 56-Kbps external modem.

The XJack connector pops out of the modem and plugs a phone line directly into the card.

It comes in a box labeled PC Card Modem Kit, which holds the modem plus a CD-ROM with communications software and tools.

Once I slapped the modem card into a slot on a notebook computer, I saw speeds close to 56 Kbps over an open phone line. On average I got about 47 Kbps. The XJack connector, a small plastic square that pops out, plugs the phone line directly into the card.

The revolutionary thing about the IBM kit, however, is not good performance so much as low price: $55. If you are still toting around a notebook without an integrated modem or with a slow PC Card modem, the IBM kit will make an inexpensive but valuable addition to your travel pack, assuming you have a free PC Card slot.

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