capsule review

Actiontec 56K USB Call Waiting Modem

When I call my parents and get a busy signal, I know my dad isn't walking in the door with arms full of groceries or sudsing up the dog. He's surfing the Internet, and he's disabled his phone's call-waiting option to avoid being disconnected by a caller. The Actiontec 56K USB Call Waiting Modem could change the way my father and I communicate. It allows those with call-waiting service to put their Internet connection on hold for up to seven seconds to answer incoming calls.

The Right Answer

Setting up the modem is straightforward. First you plug in the modem to an available USB port. It receives its power from the USB connection so no additional power supply is required. Next, double-click on the software CD and follow the directions included in the Read Me file to drag the necessary files to their proper locations on your computer. Open up the modem control panel and select the proper modem script file. Plug your modem into a phone jack in the wall and a phone into the back of your modem.

The modem ships with EarthLink and CompuServe installation CDs, but we used AOL to test the product. AOL doesn't list this specific modem, but the Actiontec recommended Standard Hayes Compatible Modem profile worked like a charm. We were able to dial out and connect to AOL the first time out.

Once online, if you do receive a phone call, your modem, rather than your phone, will start ringing. Once you pick up, you have approximately seven seconds to answer and decide whether to hang up and save your Internet connection, or stay on the phone and be disconnected from your ISP.

Macworld's Buying Advice

All shipping Macintoshes are configured with an internal 56K modem so the Actiontec won't speed up your downloads. But if you're tired of missing calls while online, it might be worth $90 to try this easy-to-set up and -use modem with its clever call-waiting feature.

Actiontec 56k USB Call Waiting Modem
1 2 Page 1
Shop Tech Products at Amazon