Dialup UK Article - Types Of Hardware Modems
The term modem is an acronym of “modulator-demodulator”.
In simple words, a modem enables users to connect their computer
to internet through a standard telephone line. It also enables
to transmit and receive data across the internet. It is the
key that unlocks doors of the world of the Internet for the
user. The modems can be of various types. They may be hardware,
software or controller less. The most widely used modems are
hardware modems. There are mainly three types of hardware
modems. All three types of modems work the same way. However,
each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here, we discuss
The oldest and simplest type of hardware modems are external
modems. In fact, they are the earliest modems that have been
in use for more then 25 years. As the name suggest, they reside
outside the main computer. Therefore, they are easy to install,
as the computer need not be opened. They connect to a computer's
serial port through a cable. On other hand, the telephone
line is plugged in a socket on the modem. Advantage of an
external modem is that the external modems have their own
power supply. The modem can be turned off to break an online
connection quickly without powering down the computer. Another
advantage is that by having a separate power supply is that
it does not drain any power from the computer. The Main disadvantage
is that the external modems are more expensive then the internal
On other hand, Internal modems come installed in the computer
you buy. Internal modems are integrated into the computer
system mostly installed in the motherboard. Hence, do not
need any special attention. Internal modems are activated
when you run a dialer program to access internet. The internal
modem can be turned off when you exit the program. This can
be very convenient. 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. Internal
modems usually cost less than external modems, but the price
difference is usually small.
The third significant type of hardware modem is the PC Card
modem. These modems are mainly designed for portable computers.
They come in size of a credit card and could be fitted into
the PC Card slot on notebook and handheld computers. These
modem cards are removable when the modem is no longer needed.
Most notably, except for their size, PC Card modems combine
the characteristics of both external and internal modems.
The PC card modems are plugged directly into an external slot
in the portable computer. There is no cable requirement like
external modems. The only other requirement is the telephone
line connection. 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 batteries. The
portable computer need tp power the PC card modems. This is
fine unless the computer is battery operated.
Overall, you may have an external, an internal modem or a
PC modem card as per your requirements. The modem you choose
should be depend upon how your computer is configured and
your preferences on accessing internet.