COMPUSA 289090 EXTERNAL MODEM REVIEW
The modem is dark blue and very compact - smaller than most external modems. A row of red indicator lights line the front, and there is a small power switch on the back. It has a DB9 serial port and jacks for the phone line and a telephone. The included cable conveniently allows it to be connected to a DB9 or DB25 serial port. Some external modems don't include a cable, or will only work with DB9 ports.
However, the driver CD it comes with is problematic. The CD was apparently made for several different modems produced by the same Taiwanese manufacturer. It includes a PDF-format manual, but the instructions are for a completely different modem. None of the drivers are specific to this modem. On a positive note, it includes various free software like Adobe Reader 4.0 and Netscape Communicator.
The drivers work, but do not utilize the modem's V.92 connection capability. It connects at a maximum of 26.4 kbps, much slower than an Intel internal V.92 modem (usually 40-45 kbps) or a Zonet V.92 PCMCIA modem (up to 46.6 kbps) connected to the same ISP. A driver for the similar Roper Webeasy external serial modem also works but produces the same results. The websites of CompUSA and the manufacturer do not appear to provide any drivers or information about this product.
The CompUSA 289090 features a built-in modem speaker which allows you to listen to the dialing and connection process. The speaker is rather loud; to turn it off in Windows, click "Properties" on the dial-up connection window (username, password, etc), then select the modem and click "Configure". Finally, uncheck "Enable modem speaker" and click "OK".
One advantage of this CompUSA modem (and most other external serial modems) is that it will function under other operating systems. When briefly tested with DOS, it successfully dialed a telephone number. It probably works under Linux and Windows 3.1 as well, although this hasn't been confirmed.
Overall, the CompUSA 289090 is desirable if you want an easy-to-install, compact, inexpensive external modem that will work with many operating systems and both types of serial port. However, it isn't the best choice if you use the Internet frequently and want the highest connection speed available.