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Talking Tech

Need For Speed?

Do you frequently e-mail large graphics files, download a lot of resources from the Internet, or just lack patience? If so, you may have grown weary of the sluggish pace you've been encountering on the Internet and are looking for a solution.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) service is one way to pick up the pace. ISDN uses the same wires as the current telephone network, but it carries information digitally in bits rather than as analog sound waves. Data moves much faster--up to speeds of 128 Kbps--and the time it takes to connect to the Internet is also reduced.

If you're considering ISDN, the first step is to call your local telephone company and find out whether service is available in your area. Although ISDN service is widespread, not all areas are served yet. Your local service provider will then either need to activate an existing line or, in many cases, install a second line for you.

Then, probably the best route to take is to purchase a complete ISDN package from your provider, if it's available. Pacific Bell, for instance, has one solution called the Pacific Bell Home Pack, which starts at $299 and includes an ISDN line and modem, Internet software, and a user's guide. These packages are the most desirable options because the service, installation and often the equipment come bundled together, so you don't have to worry about buying the right technology and setting it up yourself.

However, if you'll be doing it on your own, you'll need to become familiar with terms like terminal adapters, ISDN phones and Multilink PPP (see the above box for an easy-to-find ISDN resource). Keep in mind that ISDN service will definitely be more expensive than your standard service, with monthly fees ranging from $40 to $80, and it's been known to take several months to get up and running. So don't undertake this project unless you're sure your business demands it.

FYI: Check out this Web site for more ISDN information: This site contains a thorough explanation of how ISDN works, an analysis of its advantages over analog solutions, and more.

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