Modem (the acronym of “modulator” & “demodulator”) is the hardware device that converts analog signal (changes some characteristics: amplitude, phase or frequency) into digital one (that is understandable to computers) and vice versa mostly with the purpose of the Internet connection. It is the way of maintaining connection with Internet provider via different channels (telephone, cable TV, mobile phone provider lines). To set this gadget into motion, it is necessary to download modems drivers at first. In such a way a computer “gets acquainted” with the new device.
Each modem consists of:
Processing units. They control the work of all other modem’s parts and perform modulation and demodulation of the signal;
ROM, PROM, RAM;
Analog part. It provides connection with a network;
Modems can be external and internal. Internal modems are expansion boards which are inserted mainly in PCI slot on motherboards. External modems are separate devices which are connected to a computer via connector on network interface card.
External modem’s advantages are that it is power circuit-operated (it doesn’t overload power unit) and has indicators (they help a user to be aware of the connection quality). The main advantage of internal modem is its invisibility because it is inside a system unit.
Furthermore, there are wireless modems that are useful for those who run a laptop. They provide users with high-quality Internet connection wherever they are. Wireless modems are usually connected to a computer via USB port.
If a user notices that the Internet connection is poor, the reason for this may lie in modem failure. Before taking radical measures, a user had better try update drivers for modems (especially, if OS has been changed recently).
According to the principle of work, modems are:
Hardware-based (modem itself processes a signal);
Software-based (signal is transformed by computer’s central processing unit).
Modems are also differentiated by the type of connection:
Analog modems (they work via a telephone line);
ADSL modems (work via telephone lines but use their own range unlike analog ones).
Cable (via TV or coaxial cable);
Cellular (operate via mobile communication protocols – EDGE, GPRS, etc.)
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