So much hype surrounds emerging 56Kbps modems (see page 9) that we don't want to add more. But if you buy one, you may have to upgrade your PC serial port.
The port on most PCs uses a chip called the 16550 UART, which was itself an upgrade to cope with rising modem speeds. The 16550 is rated at 115Kbps, which you will note is a sight more than 56Kbps.
However, fast modems compress and decompress data to boost speed, so their PC-side data rate can be greater than the line speed. Most data reaches them already compressed, so the difference is not significant. But certain data streams, such as text, may be very highly compressed and thus overload your port.
Brain Boxes (0151 220 2500) is one company offering an upgrade. Its #125 Velocity RS232 uses the new 16750 UART and can pass nearly 1Mbps. But check whether your old port works before you buy one.
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