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... RIP X2/K56Flex?
MAY, 1998
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Some of you may have read the article in our December 97 issues hinting at a new modem standard. Well it's here. As predicted, the K56 vs X2 argument is now irrelevant.

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Modems ...

By now most of you will have heard of "56K modems". Some may have even read our previous newsletters covering our installation of 56K modems and choices etc. (Modems and Speed, June, 1997.)

At that time, there were two competing products: "X2" which was the proprietary offering from US Robotics, and "K56Flex" supported by the rest of the modem industry.

Whilst this article is not intended to compare one to the other, or determine which was the superior technology, there were certainly some technical shortcomings with X2.

All these considerations are now largely irrelevant, as the long awaited ITU specification has been released. Both K56Flex and X2 are now obsolete, and a new "universal" 56K specification has emerged. Dubbed V.90, the confusion of the last year or so should now be a thing of the past!

So, how does this new standard affect you? Well there are still lots of old X2 and K56Flex modems both in use, and for sale. If you are purchasing a new modem, make sure you get a V.90, but if you already have a K56Flex, you can continue to use it with our system for quite some time to come. At this stage, although we are upgrading our site to V.90, we will maintain K56Flex compatibility for the foreseeable future. We do not, and have never, supported X2 modems. If you own an X2 modem, pressure your supplier or modem manufacturer for a flash upgrade to V.90.

A word of caution though. We have not yet received the firmware upgrade to V.90 for our modems yet, although it has been promised "very soon". We're expecting it before the end of May.

To quote the manufacturers of our digital modem equipment, with reference to connectivity of people with different modem types goes:
"As far as the existing K56 modem users; upon connection, they will first try negotiating the V.90 standard. Then they will drop down to the K56 standard next; and finally, if necessary, they will drop down and negotiate the V.34 standard.
And on the issue of people owning the V.90 modems and using them before you have the opportunity to upgrade, they will still be able to connect to our existing MAX with K56Flex."

What's the difference between K56Flex and V.90? V.90 claims to have the best of both K56Flex and X2. Those who have been using K56Flex will probably notice little or no improvement.

So, the upgrade path is here. Those who want to upgrade can do so, those who subscribe to the theory of "if it aint broke, don't fix it" can carry on as they are.

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Modem pools, local calls etc.
We encourage users to visit our local call selector at to check their best call area. Note, regardless of which number the map recommends, please CHECK that the number you will be calling is a local call from your phone. Telstra offer a call-cost service on 012 for this purpose.

We only offer 56K facilities within the greater Albury-Wodonga area, generally within about a 25Km radius. If you are in an area that CAN call our 56K modem pool, we would encourage you to do so, even if you don't currently have a 56K modem. The 56K modem pool is generally slightly faster than our original analogue modems, and has some other benefits, particularly if you are using Windows95 Dial-Up Networking (DUN).

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If you are using Trumpet, the most recent script we released is dated 17/Oct/97. Older scripts are unlikely to work with either our 56K modems or our newer POPs (like those in Wangaratta, MtBeauty, Corryong etc). You can download a replacement Trumpet script from Download this script into a temporary folder or directory, re-name or back-up your old working script in your Trumpet directory for safe-keeping, then copy the new script into your Trumpet directory.

If you want to try your hand at the Windows95 DUN, a few words of warning.

  1. It's much less stable than Trumpet
  2. It's much more difficult to set up
  3. It's highly likely your DUN will simply stop working at some point even though you have not changed anything.

That said, we have some generic instructions you can read and follow that should help you set up the DUN and associated bits at and if you are using a later version of Windows95 (95B) or are using a scripting tool, you can use a script instead of the post-dial terminal window. The no-frills script we use is available for download from

DO NOT DELETE YOUR OLD WORKING TRUMPET DIALLER. It doesn't take up much space and can be relied on to work if your DUN suddenly decides it wont. Just remember it's "16 bit", so keep a copy of your original issue "16 bit" mailer and Netscape for emergency purposes.

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