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56k standard ABCs
V.90 standard history
Technical Support

56k standard ABCs

The 56k technology was a new technology that was released as a faster solution for end users and SOHO. When originally introduced, two technologies emerged: X2, which was developed by UsRobotics; and KFlex, which was introduced by Lucent and Rockwell.  However, unfortunately because there was two different technologies there was no one standard that caused a lot of problems for end-users and Internet Service Providers.  For example, if an end-user had an X2 modem but the Internet Service Provider only had KFlex modems, the end-user would be unable to achieve the optimal performance.

Because of this dilemma, a standard was developed that was titled V.90. This standard took both X2 and KFlex and merged them into one standard; this allowed end-users to achieve maximum performance if they were with an Internet provider whom was providing a different technology.

V.90 standard history

September 1996 - UsRobotics (3COM) submitted the first V.90 56k proposal to ITU.
November 1996 - Lucent and Rockwell announce their intention on making the KFlex Standard.
April 1997 - ITU called for special working party to determine a 56k standard.
September 1997 - ITU met, but did not reach consensus on several technical aspects.
December 1997 - Working Party agreed to compromise on spectral shaping and multiple modulus conversion. 25 of 30 favorable votes were cast.
February 1997 - Standard determination.
September 1998 - Standard ratification expected.
February 6, 1998 - V.90 becomes a standard after ITU comes to final agreement.

Technical support

Unable to connect at 56k.
How should I upgrade to V.90?
I've upgraded to V.90, now my modem does not work.
General modem troubleshooting.

Unable to connect at 56K

If you are connecting at or close to 53k or close to 53k, such as 41 or 42, more than likely this the highest that you are going to be able to connect. The FCC has a limitation of 53k, if you're not connecting at high 40k or low 50k speeds verify the below recommendations.

  1. Verify that your Internet Provider is using the same standard that you are using. If your Internet Provider only provides X2 technology, then you are only going to be able to connect at high speeds with an X2 modem. Today, this should non longer be an issue.
  2. The 56k technology will not work over a digital line. The modem will first transmit or receive data over an analog line to the central office, to digital to the central office, then to digital to your Internet provider. Often you would encounter this issue if you're at a hotel using digital lines.

Finally, to help verify that your Internet Service Provider is not at fault and potentially test the phone lines try connecting to other Internet Service Providers or use another computer to test the phone lines to see if able to connect at 56k; in some cases, your phone systems may not be able to support 56k.

How should I upgrade to V.90?

Because of the variety of modem chipsets, it is highly recommended that you contact your computer or modem manufacturer to obtain complete information on upgrading your modem to V.90. Because this upgrade is a flash of a chip on the Modem card incorrectly can cause the modem to stop functioning.

I've upgraded to V.90, now my modem does not work

Unfortunately, this can be caused when downloading the incorrect V.90 modem update. It is recommended you first attempt to reinstall your modem. If after installing your modem you still encounter the same issue, it is recommended that you contact either your computer or modem manufacturer for additional support and information.

Additional information