To install dial up external modems, you don’t have to know how to disassemble a computer. If you feel uncomfortable opening up your computers cabinet to install a dial up internal modem, then its probably best to purchase external dial up modems.
Dial up external modems data and power connections are on the outside of the computer cabinet. Because of that internal pci expansion slots would be kept available for other hardware.
External modems also have indicator lights on the case so you can see whether or not you’re connected to the Internet. Being able to easily remove an external dial up modem would help troubleshoot both computer and dial up networking problems.
Forms of dial up external modem
There are many different types or “forms” modem. The form of modem defines how modem plugs into the computer. Modem forms are not defined by their internal processing circuitry. For example, an internal modem fits inside the computer cabinet into a PCI expansion slot.
An expansion slot is an integral part of the computers motherboard. Since dial up external modems rest outside the computer, their forms are defined by how the modems data connection is plugged into the motherboard. There are only two forms of external dial up modem. One is serial, the other is USB. Serial ports and USB ports are also integral parts of a motherboard. Some motherboards are still being manufactured with a serial port, although because of USB porting, serial ports are slowly getting phased out of production.
External serial modems
External serial modems have been around the longest. They earned a reputation for being very reliable early on in dial up networking history. Not because they were serial ported, but because external serial modems were hardware controlled. External serial modems do not draw their power from the serial port and need an external AC power supply. You can manually turn a serial modem on or off via a switch located at the back. Switching a serial modem off then on again with force it to reboot.
A: On/Off power switch
B: A/C power supply
C: Serial port
D: Telephone line
E: Phone handset
Rear view of a common 56k V.92
dial up external serial modem
USB dial up modem
A USB (universal serial bus) modem is so named because they connect to any available USB port on a computer. They were initially available as desktop models. The latest and more popular form of USB dial up modem is called the mini usb dial up modem.
Because USB modems can draw their power and data directly from a USB port it makes them convenient to transport and share between desktop or laptop computers. USB modems can be either controller based (hardware) or controllerless.
Make note of the price of your USB dial up modem when shopping. Price is a good indicator of the architecture of a modem. Controller based (hardware) modems are typically more expensive than controllerless modems. Do some research before you buy. Check the technical specifications of the modem to see if you are purchasing a hardware or controllerless modem.
A: USB port
B: Indicator lights
C: Telephone line
US Robotics mini USB dial up external modem
Regardless of what dial up modem you currently have or want to buy, it would be wise to buy a surge protector. Some will accept common residential phone lines as well as electrical plugs. Modems can be damaged from power spikes from near by lightning strikes. They will also help if you live in a residence that is prone to other types of electrical power surge. Surge protectors cost much less than new dial up external modems.