ActionTec Electronics Call Waiting Modem and Home Phone Line Network

ActionTec Electronics Call Waiting Modem and Home Phone Line Network - Page 2


ActionTec's Call Waiting Modem


Once in a great while we get a product to test here at Hot Hardware that has us all asking " why hasn't somebody thought of this before". Call Waiting is a feature that has long been available for the telephone user. Why not have the ability in a modem too? Notify the user that the modem has received a "Call Waiting" request and send an audible signal to the user much like during a phone conversation.

Leave it to the people at Lucent (formerly AT&T) to come up with this technology. Lucent is the manufacturer of the chipset used on ActionTec's Call Waiting Modem. ActionTec has a product now, as a result, that really differentiates them in this VERY crowded market.

Here's its "punch list" of features...

  • 56K Internal PCI Call Waiting Modem - KFlex & V.90 Compatible
  • DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 or above, OS/2, or Linux
  • Typical time to speak on phone before disconnected from internet varies, approximately 7 seconds
  • Fax Speed & Modes:
  • Speeds: 14400; 12000; 9600; 7200; 4800; 2400; 1200; and 300 bps.
  • Modes: ITU-T; V.17, V.29, V.27ter, and V.21ch2 Group 3 fax machines
  • Data Transmission Speeds & Standards:
  • V.90/K56flex technology­Speeds: 56000** (download only); 33600; 31200; 28800; 26400; 21600; 19200; 16800; 14400; 12000; 9600; 7200; 4800; 2400; 1200; and 300 bps.
  • Standards: ITU-T; V.90, V.34+, V.34, V.32bis, V.32, V.23, V.22bis, and V.21; Bell 212A and 103
  • Error Correction & Data Compression
  • MNP 2-4, V.42, LAPM, MNP 5, V.42bis
  • DTE Speeds: 115,200 bps
  • Operating Modes: Auto dial/answer; auto feature negotiation, Full-Duplex
  • Dial Type: Tone and Pulse
  • Command Set: Industry Standard AT Command Set, Extended AT Commands, EIA Class 1 (EIA 578)
  • Flow Control : XON/XOFF; CTS/RTS
  • Test Modes: Analog Loop, Digital Loop, Remote Digital Loop and Pattern Test
  • Limited Warranty: 5 Years

    What's Included:

  • One 56K Internal PCI Call Waiting Modem
  • Voice/Fax Data Communication Software
  • Quick Start & Installation Manual
  • 1 Six-foot Modular Telephone Cable
  • Bonus Software
The above is fairly standard list of specs for today's mainstream V.90 56K Modem. However, you'll note that you can actually pick up the phone and talk to a caller that might be waiting to talk to you. You get 7 seconds, which is not a lot of time but enough to say "I'll call you back" or "leave me alone you miserable telemarketing puke"! :-) I hate the latter of the two interruptions...

Setup, Performance and Ease of Use 

One excellent attribute of this internal modem card is the fact that it is a PCI version. It seems we are to the point now that we can almost get rid of all those old ISA slots on today's motherboards. The card installed in minutes and the drivers were all that were needed for full functionality of the "Call Waiting" feature.

Call Waiting Performance:

We used the modem in our test machine over a period of about a month and never once missed a call. Any time some one tried to call in, the modem made an audible "ringing" sound much like the sound of the ringer on your phone. This sound was loud enough to alert us that there was another call coming in. It would ring as long as the caller on the other end let it ring. We could pick up the phone and acutally speak with the called for that short 7 seconds before the modem would drop the connection to the net. It was as if the modem was put in "suspend mode" for that time. If we hung up within the 7 seconds, we could then initiate a browser command or retrieve an email and the modem would wake up and begin communicating again with the host. The good news is that this technology is compatible with other modems at the host end which don't have this capability. We never once lost a connection to the host if we were quick enough to hang up the phone. What woudl be nice is a "Call Waiting" feature with "Caller ID" ... That will be coming in the not so distant future, I am sure but we are just speculating, at this point in time.

Modem Performance:

I must say that the performance of this modem was surprising. Sometimes with all the bells and whistle you get with multi-featured modems, you get so-so performance. This was NOT the case with the ActionTec Calling Waiting Modem. The Lucent chipset on this modem is a solid performer. We regularly got connect rates at 50,666 bps and when we didn't, the modem connected at 49,333. We got the full 50K connection about 80% of the time. Typically we have come acustomed to a max of 48K connect rates when using our reference system's modem, a Motorola 56K Modem Surfer which is also a KFlex56 V.90 compatible version but uses a Rockwell chipset.

We experienced download speeds on fast ftp sites of approximately 4 - 5.4K on average. Once again we were very pleased with the speed of the unit and feel it is easily in the top 5% of its class.


A great combination for the "connected family"

The Action Tec ActionLink Home Networking Kit and Call Waiting Modem are great tools for the peaceful co-existence of multiple Computer and Internet Users in a household or small office, over a single phone line. Both of these products delivered exactly what they claimed. The performance levels for both the Home Networking Kit and Modem were top notch. We would have liked a little longer talk time on the Call Waiting feature with the addition of Caller ID but regardless, these two great new products from ActionTec really shine.


We give the ActionTec - ActionLink Home Networking a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter rating of...


The ActionTec Call Waiting Modem scored a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter rating of...


-Dave Altavilla

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