Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 2 / FEBRUARY 1985 / PAGE 84

Ven-Tel Modem; a compact internal modem for IBM PCs and compatibles. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.

A modem, once an almost esoteric optional peripheral, has become almost a necessity in the business world today. Executives and professionals are finding that they can transmit and receive information faster over the telephone lines than by overnight mail. Coupling this speed this speed with a transportable computer in the field lets them communicate information in an even more timely manner. And businessmen know that time is money.

Ven-Tel manufactures the PC-Modem Half/Card,a 300/1200 baud, direct-connect internal modem for the IBM PC and compatibles. It is half the length of a standard expansion board, so it fits in the short slot of the IBM PC XT and in transportable computers like the IBM Portable PC and Panasonic Senior Partner.

The modem looks like a full-length board folded in half. Actually, the Half/Card is two half-sized boards on a single mounting and is slightly thicker than a single board card. The modem is well constructed, with secure connections and the more fragile components sufficiently protected. No patches, jumpers, or other jury-rigged connections appear on the boards. Obviously, Ven-Tel maintains high production standards. Installation

Installing the Half/Card is a snap. Just follow the excellent documentation. In short, you need only remove the system unit and expansion slot covers, gently press the modem into an expansion slot, secure the modem to the system unit with a screw, and reattach the system unit cover.

The last step is to plug the phone cord (included with the Half/Cord) into the modular phone jacks on the wall and on the back of the modem. The modem draws power directly from the computer. Bundled Software

Ven-Tel includes Crosstalk XVI, a powerful command-oriented communications program from Microstuf, with the Half/Card. The program provides two methods of sending a file. The XM command uses the Crosstalk protocol, while the XX command uses the popular Xmodem protocol.

The program also features automatic log-on command files, programmable function keys, viewing transmission time and file size for each file, error checking of the file transfers between systems using Crosstalk, terminal emulation, and sending files to disk or printer. Performance

Testing a modem is quite straightforward. A modem translates outgoing digital code into analog signals and deciphers incoming analog signals into digital code. Thus, it either transmits and receives data or it does not.

We believe a modem should be a completely transparent device, that is, once it is hooked up to your system, you should never have to worry about it again. This is doubly true for internal modems. After all, out of sight, out of mind.

The Half/Card performed flawlessly at both the 300 and 1200 baud speeds. Local or long distance, bulletin boards or sending files--the modem worked perfectly first time, every time. Our Communication

Our evaluation unti did not contain a built-in speaker. The software monitors the status of your communication. However, Ven-Tel has released a new version of the Half-Card that includes an on-board speaker and an extra phone jack. Other than these minor upgrades, the new modem is functionally identical to the one we reviewed.

As we have mentioned, the manual is well written, profusely illustrated, and complete. It divides into two sections: modem installation and software operation.

The Crosstalk section starts you out with simple communications. The more proficient you become, the further into the manual you can delve to use all the features of the program and modem.

If you are looking to buy a full featured, 300/1200 baud internal modem for your IBM PC, consider the Ven-Tel Half/Card. If you need a half-sized modem for your IBM PC XT or transportable computer, put the Half/Card at the top of your list.

Products: Ven-Tel Modem(Modem) - Evaluation