Main types of hardware modems.
A modem is an abbreviation of a “modulator and
demodulator” A modem lets you connect your computer
to internet through a standard telephone line. It enables you
to transmit and receive electronically converted data. It is the
key that unlocks the world of the Internet.
There are mainly three types of hardware modems. You can have
an external or an internal modem or a PC modem card. The modem
you choose should be depending upon how your computer is configured
and your preferences on accessing internet. All three types of
modems work the same way. However, each has its advantages and
1. External modem
This is the oldest and simplest type of modem. External
modems have been in use for more them 3 decades. They are easy
to install because you do not have to open the computer to fix
it. External modems have their own power supply and connect with
a cable to a computer's serial port. The telephone line plugs
into a socket on the rear panel of the modem.
Key advantage of an external modem is that the external modems
have their own power supply so you can turn off the modem to break
an online connection quickly without powering down the computer.
Another advantage of having a separate power supply is that it
does not drain any power from the computer. You also can monitor
your modem's connection activity by watching the status lights.
The main disadvantage is that it is more expensive then internal
2. Internal modem
As the name suggests, internal modems come installed
in the computer you buy. Internal modems are integrated into the
computer system (mostly in motherboard), therefore, do not need
any special attention. Internal modems are activated when you
run a dialer program to access internet and are turned off when
you exit the program. This convenience is especially useful for
new users. Internal modems usually cost less than external modems,
but the price difference is usually small.
The major disadvantage with internal modems is their location.
When you want to replace an internal modem you have to go inside
the computer case to change it.
3. PC Card modem.
These modems are designed for portable computers. They
are the size of a credit card and could be fitted into the PC
Card slot on notebook and handheld computers. These modems are
removable when the modem is not needed. Except for their size,
PC Card modems are like a combination of external and internal
These devices are plugged directly into an external slot in the
portable computer, so no cable is required other than the telephone
line connection. The cards are powered by the computer, which
is fine unless the computer is battery operated. The only disadvantage
is that running a PC Card modem while the portable computer is
operating on battery power drastically decreases the life of your
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