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AFRIK-IT  August 1995

AFRIK-IT August 1995

Subject:

Re: E-Mail in Malawi / modems

From:

Paul O'Nolan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Mon, 14 Aug 1995 21:15:09 PDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

> email in Malawi
 
The University of Malawi has an email champion in the Physics dept who has
done a lot to establish email in Malawi and probably knows more than anyone
about what works and doesn't in the country*; I don't have Paulos's email
address here just now, but Margaret Ngwira, librarian at the Bunda College
of Agriculture in the University (address: [log in to unmask]) can
put you in touch.
 
*e.g. if anyone is using radio modems / Satelife etc.
 
Assuming some kind of phone line is available some of the time.. what's
the best modem to use these day? Comments anybody?
 
A few months ago I wanted to see if I could improve on a 2400bps connection
between Entebbe, Uganda, and our office in The Hague, The Netherlands....
 
I studied the available literature on V.34 modems and opted for a pair of
Motorola V.3400s which seemed to be pretty good at adaptive use of available
bandwidth and had the fastest throughput in all benchmark tests I'd seen.
They were for use with MS Mail.
 
Big disappointment, alas. They were the fastest thing I'd ever used with
MS Mail and worked very well here in The Hague (MS Mail can be a pain as it
does its own error checking and is horribly inefficient). The negotiation
time of these modems is only a couple of seconds or so when working on a good
line. Suffice it to say that I failed. 4,800bps was the highest connect I
ever managed and it proved so unreliable that it was better to just put up
with a reliable (when available) but slow 2,400bps link.
 
Had it worked.. the modems would have paid for themselves fairly quickly, so
I was sorry that it didn't, and I am still on the lookout for something better.
 
Telebit Trailblazers are popular in some places in Africa and I have just
had an email from telecoms guru in Germany who reckons that nothing on
the market will touch Telebit's PEP or TurboPEP protocols which will work, he
says, "on anything remotely resembling a phone line". In fact, I'd used the
original Trailblazer T2000s about 6-7 yrs ago and was very happy with them.
They were the fastest things around then but I'd assumed that the market had
caught up. I'm told it's NOT SO. The Trailblazer (there are now other blazers
-- Worldblazer and a Qblazer, the latter is small and shaped like a cube)
works in half-duplex mode so it's not suitable for all protocols.
 
 
Note: I tried also a pair of Multitech V.34 2834s, with no better result.
 
If other subscribers have any recommendations on modems that are particularly
good on bad connections I'll be interested to hear about it (or on sources of
information on the same). Similarly, if there are any suppliers of these now
old and slow Trailblazers<cough> at attractive prices I'll be interested in
that too<g>.
 
Paul O'Nolan
Head, Computer Services
 
International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
Correspondence: Postbus 93375, 2509 AJ The Hague, The Netherlands
Email: [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]

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