56k / X2 Technology
t0003: 56k/X2 Technology
00658: What is 56k Technology?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
56K refers to 56 kilobits per second (or 56Kbps) as applied to a modem's data transfer rate. Until recently the highest uncompressed data transfer rate achievable with an analog modem was around 33.6Kbps. Several companies have developed technology that theoretically allows up to 64Kbps transfer rates. Until a standard is set, the 56K technology from the different companies is not necessarily compatible.
For more information about the latest 56K news please check the MindSpring homepage at http://www.mindspring.com , the mindspring.users.x2 newsgroup, the mindspring.announce newsgroup, the mindspring.discussion newsgroup, and this document (which will change as needed).
00659: Which companies are working on this?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
00660: What are the necessary conditions for 56k technology to work?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
00662: Will MindSpring support 56K technology on a nationwide basis?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
Mindspring does plan to support 56K technology on a nationwide basis. However, Some areas of the Mindspring network are being maintained by third part network providers who do not yet support 56K technology. Currently, only the servers that are run by Mindspring support 56K using the US Robotics X2 protocol. This is one of the two protocols that comprise the 56 technology, the other being k56flex. Right now the two protocols are not compatible with each other and have proprietary hardware requirements. UTI, the industry standards board has committed to forming a standard for 56K technology by January1998 so that users will be able to purchase a 56K of either protocol, download the needed software update for the modem to comply with the UTI standard, and then be able to use the 56K modem anywhere that 56K is supported and not worry about having the correct protocol.
00663: The MindSpring POPs with U.S. Robotics hardware
Revision Date: 08/21/97
X2 technology is currently available in a majority of our USR equipped POPs, and we are working hard to upgrade the rest. The most current information available is located at our Local Dial in Cities Listing, available from the Mindspring home page at http://www.mindspring.com . Utilizing 56K technology with the USR POPs will require the customer to use a modem compatible with USR's X2 technology. This will change however when ITU implements an industry wide standard for 56k technology in January of 1998. This meaning that users with modems of either protocol can log into Mindspring servers of either protocol (X2 or 56Flex) and still utilize the 56K connection speeds. This will require that the modem be upgraded with the software code made available by it's manufacturer for the ITU 56K standard when it is release in January of 1998.
00664: Can my modem be upgraded?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
You will need to check with your modem manufacturer to find out if they will support the X2 or 56K upgrade. Also check with these three companies for a list of compatible hardware:
00665: Will I definitely have a 56K transfer rate?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
The companies developing the technology claim data transmission rates up to 56Kbps (Rockwell claims to approach 64Kbps) and data receipt rates up to 33.6Kbps (Lucent claims to approach 45Kbps). This is based on their tests, not MindSpring's. The FCC has limited connection speeds to a maximum of 53K however. Updated info from the companies can be found at their sites:
Please stay tuned to the MindSpring homepage ( http://www.mindspring.com ) , the mindspring.users.x2 newsgroup, the mindspring.announce newsgroup, the mindspring.discussion newsgroup, and this document (which will change as needed) for information regarding usage of this technology with a MindSpring account.
00681: USRobotics x2 Technology: What is x2?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
x2 is the new method developed by U.S. Robotics for 56K downloads from the Internet and online services using a modem over regular phone lines.
00682: USRobotics x2 Technology: How does it work?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
With x2, you are able to receive information through MindSpring at speeds up to 56K per second. This is made possible by a digital connection from MindSpring to your phone company, which is then converted to a clean analog signal. What this means is that everything will be faster on the net: surfing the Web, downloading files via FTP, reading the newsgroups, etc.
However, when you are sending information back onto the net (uploading files, sending emails, etc), it can only travel at a maximum speed of 33.6K per second. This is because from your house to the phone company is an analog connection and not a digital one.
Until the entire phone line system from the phone company to your house is upgraded to a digital cable such as fiberoptic, 33.6K is the fastest you will be able to upload.
00683: USRobotics x2 Technology: Which cities have x2 capability?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
We are currently implementing x2 in select cities within our Southeastern network.  The MindSpring POP list indicates which access numbers are currently capable of x2.  The list is available at http://www.mindspring.com/pop.html .
00684: USRobotics x2 Technology: What's the average connect speed of x2 users?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
Because phone lines vary in different areas (some are cleaner than others), your connect speed my vary. USR doesn't claim that everyone will be able to connect at 56K. In fact, they anticipate the average connect speed to be between 42K and 53K per second.
Based upon data collected during x2 testing between 03/01/97 and 03/11/97 from a sample of 1900 calls, we feel that an x2 connection in the mid-40k range should be considered quite successful. A breakdown of the x2 connection speeds we've seen in our public testing is shown below. As you can see, mileage does vary considerably.
Speed # Calls Connected Percentage
52000 2 0.1% 50666 10 0.5% 49333 71 3.7% 48000 159 8.3% 46666 567 29.6% 45333 317 16.6% 44000 132 6.9% 42666 189 9.9% 41333 82 4.3% 40000 39 2.0% 38666 24 1.3% 37333 72 3.8% 36000 45 2.3% 33333 126 6.6% 32000 20 1.0% 29333 60 3.1%
00686: USRobotics x2 Technology: Why do I get disconnect every so often?
Revision Date: 08/21/97
Although x2 is out and is being sold, it is still very early technology that has some problems. Many other x2 users encounter disconnects every once in a while. There are two things you can try to prevent this from happening:
To check your modem's BIOS date:
  1. Click your Start button, and then under Settings​, select Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Modems​.
  3. Click the Diagnostics tab at the top.
  4. Select your modem from the list of devices and press the More Info button.
  5. After a few seconds you will see a window titled More Info. Scroll to the bottom and look for the following lines:
    ATI7 EPROM date 3/21/97 ATI7 DSP date 3/21/97
    If the dates are earlier than 3/21/97, you need to upgrade using the Modem Update Wizard from USRobotics.
Note: The Modem Update Wizard places a call to USRobotics in order to download the latest version. If this is a long distance call for you, MindSpring is not responsible for the charges made to your telephone bill.
00687: USRobotics x2 Technology: Where can I found out the latest news about MindSpring and x2
Revision Date: 08/21/97
MindSpring's  x2 information page ( http://www.mindspring.com/x2.html ) contains the most up-to-date information available.
MindSpring's POP number pages ( http://www.mindspring.com/pop.html )show access numbers with X2 capability by marking them with a red X2 next to the number.
The MindSpring x2 newsgroup ( mindspring.users.x2 ) can be a good source of information from MindSpring customers and staff who are using the x2 technology on a daily basis.
US Robotics maintains a web page devoted to X2 at http://x2.usr.com as well as a FAQ about the technology at http://x2.usr.com/faq.html
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