What modem should I buy ?

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What modem should I buy ?



If you already have a fax modem then there is a good chance that it will work with Snappy Fax.


All modems are not created equal.  A modem can support any or all of the following fax classes:


Class 1

Class 2

Class 2.0

Class 2.1


Class 1 modems are typically very cheap modems.  While they do offer cost savings, dependability may suffer since Class 1 is very sensitive to timing and fax sessions may fail if timing constraints of the Class 1 protocol are violated.  With Class 1, all fax session management is performed by the fax software which requires more of a load on the computer's cpu during the fax session.


Note: We no longer recommend the US Robotics model 5637 USB modem.


Class 2 modems offer an improvement over Class1 in that the modem itself performs the fax session management functions relieving the fax software and the computer's cpu of some of the burden.


Class 2.0 is a further improvement over Class 2 which further refined the Class 2 standard.


Class 2.1 is high speed fax with error correction.  The fax modem performs the entire session management, and error checking.  Class 2.1 modems can transmit and receive faxes at a maximum speed of 33,600 bits per second when communicating with other similarly enabled fax devices.  This high speed fax is referred to as "Super G3".  The installed base of "Super G3" machines is rapidly growing, you will notice that most fax machines you see in the retail stores boast "Super G3" functionality.  In addition, the error correction feature makes less than perfect phone lines less of a problem.  Affordable Class 2.1 modems, were virtually non-existent until recently.  


If reliable faxing is important to your business, you should invest in a good quality Class 2.1 capable modem. You can get a very good Class 2.1 modem starting at about $125. If you do not care to invest that much in a modem, then expect reduced reliability with Class 1 modems.


Just to give you an example, with a 145 page fax transmitting at 31,200 bps with a Class 2.1 modem, the elapsed time to send the fax was 40 minutes and 52 seconds. That is an average transmission time per page of 17 seconds.  With a class 1 modem transmitting at 14,400 bps the transmission time was 1 hour 46 minutes, which is an average of about 45 seconds per page.



Note: Snappy fax (standard edition) support Fax Class 1, 1.0, 2 and 2.0.  Snappy fax (G3 Edition) supports all fax classes including Class 2.1 "super G3" with error correction.


We have heavily tested the following Class 2.1 Modems:


Multitech Model MT9234ZBA-USB-CDC

Multitech Model ISI9234PCIe Multi-Modem Card

MainPine IQExpress Multi-Modem Card


The MultiTech ZBA model is a USB modem that has a small footprint, has a stackable design and multiple units can be installed on one computer.  We have 4 such modems installed on a single computer in our testing lab.  This modem retails for around $125 and is an excellent value.  


The MultiTech ISI9234 and the MainPine boards are multi-port modem cards that come in 4 and 8 port models, the are more expensive with the MainPine boards being the most expensive.  Both of these boards are very dependable.


If you are not constrained by a budget then the MainPine boards offer the ultimate in reliability.