Are internal dialup modems becoming obsolete?

  polymath 13:21 12 Oct 2008

It probably sounds a dumb question, but I can't easily get to a computer shop from where I live, or see other people's computers.
I want to know for the purpose of a formal complaint I'm about to make about my phone line (it's a long story!)

I bought a desktop and laptop 10 months ago (it's 8 years since I last bought a computer). I didn't notice there was no phone (RJ11) socket in them until I went to plug in the phone line (I didn't check in the shop, as I'd taken phone sockets for granted). I'd like to know if this absence of internal modem is the norm these days?

  wiz-king 13:33 12 Oct 2008

Yes. - Dammit. I needed one the other day to connect a PC to a banking site that I use once a month and had to go out and buy a serial port one. Cost me £19 just so I could put the wages in the bank. The old computer I use for this job had a PSU fan failure and would not stay on long enough to do the transfer. All the 20 or so newer computers weren't fitted with a modem.

  version8 14:05 12 Oct 2008

Still came with one on a laptop bought last week.
But BB is now via a USB port.

  Diemmess 17:26 12 Oct 2008

Would an external floppy drive that plugs into a usb socket suit you?
click here

  Diemmess 17:33 12 Oct 2008

forgive grabbing the wrong stick..... creeps away into corner.....!

  polymath 19:10 12 Oct 2008

Please don't apologise, Diemmess - the picture your suggestion conjured up was most entertaining! (I'm a Heath Robinson fan).

Anyway, thank you all for confirming my suspicion - I can now hope to put the wind up my phone line provider good and proper when making the complaint. They're supposed to provide 'functional internet access', defined as 28.8kbps or more.

In case you're curious, my new computers acheived an internet connection only once at home, at 16kbps. It was also the last time I could get as much as 16kbps (I'm using the old 98SE computer, which just manages to stay connected most of the time). Having ruled out Vista etc as culprits, I think the external USB dialup modem I'm having to use with the new computers adds one too many layers of complexity to cope with this deteriorating phone line.

It only remains for me to make a brief dialup connection from the laptop through someone else's (doubtless faster) phone line (and keep the the modem log evidence). Then I can suggest to Eircom (the phone line provider here in Ireland) that they might like to pay some attention to their backwaters a bit sharpish, before many more people find they can't use their new computer (in a very litigous country!)

  Woolwell 19:13 12 Oct 2008

New desktops don't have a modem nor it seems a parallel port. You can get a USB modem.

  Woolwell 19:14 12 Oct 2008

Oops - you posted while I was putting together my reply and you have a USB modem.

  interzone55 20:03 12 Oct 2008

Any mostly unused legacy items in a PC simply add to the costs, and in a business with such low margins that can be a killer.

For this reason most PCs now do without a modem, parallel or serial ports.

Most business orientated laptops still have a modem, so that you can get a net connection in hotels that don't provide WiFi, but even laptops usually come with parallel & serial ports, which is awkward for some of my customers, because a serial port is needed for getting reports from most fire alarm panels, and they're handy for moving some movable CCTV cameras when all else fails.

  polymath 21:19 12 Oct 2008

I understand about problems with margins, Alan, and it does make sense that my particular computers don't have dialup modems. The laptop's low-to-mid range, wireless-enabled and compact (not in the desktop-replacement class). I chose the desktop simply on its spec that should be good for a few years (decent disk size, memory etc) and its quietness. But it happened to be marketed as a home entertainment PC, and I don't think they had rural dialup users in mind when they included the TV tuner etc!

Around the time I bought them, our local community broadband (wireless) scheme engineer got a signal from our house. It's a long story, but I ordered it and then the installer couldn't get a good signal. There's supposed to be another mast going up which should do the trick, so I'm still hoping!

  Stuartli 22:18 12 Oct 2008

Probably the main reason for anyone using a dialup modem these days is for fax purposes.

I would suspect that very few new systems have one fitted as broadband is now normally available at even lower prices than for dialup.

If one is needed they can be picked up for a tenner or less (PCI type).

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