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AFRIK-IT  August 1995

AFRIK-IT August 1995

Subject:

Re: E-Mail in Malawi / modems

From:

John Sheppard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 15 Aug 1995 09:57:42 ZST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

Paul O'Nolan writes:
>
> > email in Malawi
>
> Assuming some kind of phone line is available some of the time.. what's
> the best modem to use these day? Comments anybody?
>
Hi all
 
I am certainly no expert on the black art of modems but
for what it's worth my modem experience is roughly as follows:
 
This host, zimbix, at the University of Zimbabwe, has been running
a email-only, dialup link to the Internet via Rhodes University in
South Africa since about Sept 1991.
 
The modem used for the first two years was a Hayes Smartmodem 2400 -
no error correction - and it worked pretty well over the Zimbabwe
telephone lines, despite pretty bad line quality.  I did try a
Nokia ECM Quad (V22 bis/V22/V23/V21//MNP5 ) but the Hayes was much
better.  Line quality varied enormously - not only on a day to day
basis, but hourly.  Sometimes almost nothing would work.  At one
stage - after the PTC had changed the international link over
to a modern digital setup - I tried about 8 modems and the only
one that would maintain a link was a GVC 2400 Hayes compatible.
 
Later I obtained a Telebit WorldBlazer to replace the Hayes -
it should have been much better but it was not much of an
improvement until the local exchange went digital and then for
the first time I was able to reach higher than 2400 - sometimes
even a genuine 9600.   Unfortunately the WorldBlazer is ill and
awaiting repair.  Opinions on Telebits vary  - either you love them or
you hate them.  I love them.
 
I am now using both a Black Box 144FX and a US Robotics Sportster
14400 V32 vis with V42 bis.
 
> 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.
 
Most of the time I have to lock the Robotics at 4800 - especially
over weekends.
 
> 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.
>
I have had a WorldBlazer in my office talking to a Telebit T2500 -
also in my office - but via the local telephone exchange - at 57600.
The WorldBlazer talking to another WorldBlazer or other Telebit
is very efficient.  But they are expensive.
 
My advice is to go to a modern, external V32 bis/V42bis modem with the
error correction in hardware.
 
Makes - Zoom, Practical Peripherals, Black Box, US Robotics,
Zyxel (supposedly very good over bad phone lines), - - - -
 
Most modern modems should be fine.
 
I have over 70 hosts dialling into zimbix - the most popular modems
are the USRobotics and Black Box.  Many sites are using PCMCIA modems -
several different makes.  (The software most are using is SNUUPM).
 
Cheers
 
John Sheppard
 
--
Prof John G Sheppard   University of Zimbabwe   [log in to unmask]
Director               P.O. Box MP 167          Phone: +263 4 303211 xt 1378
Computer Centre        Harare, Zimbabwe         UZim FAX: +263 4 333407
                                                     and  +263 4 335249

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