U.S. Robotics Modems Die, Zoom's Live In FCC Lightning Test
USR Courier "Pops and
Flashes" in Test by Independent Lab CCL
Boston, MA, March 4, 1997 - After FCC Part 68 surge
testing conducted by Communication Certification Laboratory
(CCL), the low-cost Zoom® V.34X faxmodem emerged fully
functional while the U.S. Robotics Courier V.Everything™
external faxmodem failed to operate.
The Part 68 metallic
surge test simulates electrical surges that are typical of
those caused by lightning striking a telephone line, which
transmits the surge to the modem.
The FCC test simulates
a lightning strike by exposing the test modem to an 800-volt
peak amplitude electrical surge, current-limited to 100 amps,
over a period of time consisting of 10µs (microseconds)
risetime and 560µs decay time to half-voltage peak.
The Zoom V.34X "continued to go on-hook and off-hook
and send data after the electrical surges of FCC Part 68 were
applied," according to CCL. In contrast, the Courier
V.Everything, USR's flagship faxmodem, "failed to go
into an off-hook mode after the FCC Part 68 metallic surges
(at both 800 volts and 600 volts) were applied." The
CCL noted that, "Units in the actual field that experience
lightning surges and remain in a continuous on-hook state
create an inconvenience to the user since the unit cannot
be used and also requires the time and expense to have the
CCL's John L. Chase states, "A
popping sound was heard and an electric flash was seen when
the 800-volt metallic surge was performed on the unit."
The CCL repeated the surge test at 600 volts peak amplitude
with a new USR V.Everything modem. Again the USR modem failed.
"These test results demonstrate the high reliability
and robust performance of Zoom modems," said Zoom President
and CEO Frank Manning. "ZoomGuard™ technology raises
the cost of goods of Zoom's modems, but drastically reduces
the probability of field failure from lightning compared to
U.S. Robotics and others. ZoomGuard is one of a number of
reasons that Zoom modems have unusually few field problems."
"Our ZoomGuard lightning and surge protection program
has dramatically reduced returns due to modem failure,"
said Manning. All current V.34 Zoom modems and ISDN products
are protected by ZoomGuard.
Copies of Communication
Certification Laboratory's test report and letter summarizing
the test report are available from Zoom Telephonics at no
charge on request.
Lightning is the most common cause
of modem failure. Direct hits to overhead lines occur, but
far more common is the induced surge on a buried cable. According
to Roy Carpenter, Chairman of Lightning Eliminators and Consultants,
"Lightning presents one of the greatest threats to military
information systems; probably the most significant, next to
military action by an enemy."
In the United States,
the high point of thunderstorm activity is in western Florida,
with a ripple effect out from this focus of lightning activity.
The high lightning level of the southeast extends all the
way west into eastern Texas. In addition, the United States
has intense thunderstorm activity in areas of Colorado, New
Mexico and Arizona. Even in the relatively low lightning activity
area of the central United States, "there are about 20
strikes per square mile to farmland per year," according
to Carpenter. April is the beginning of lightning's primary
season that extends over six months, ending in early October.
CCL is a full service, independent, electronic testing
and certification laboratory, located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
CCL also provides EMI and safety testing services. CCL has
no affiliation with any manufacturer and their client base
is not concentrated with any particular manufacturer.
CCL has been an active member in the telecommunication and
testing industries since 1971. Its telecom testing services
include FCC Part 68, IC CS-03, EIA RS470, JATE, and AUSTEL.
CCL was one of the first laboratories to offer testing to
FCC Part 68 and was instrumental in the development of the
rules. CCL takes an active part on Telecommunication Industry
Association's (TIA) Committee TR41.9, which prepared the test
procedures for Part 68 and continually works on current Part
CCL has demonstrated its competence to
perform testing to FCC Part 68 and Part 15 by being accredited
by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Voluntary Laboratory
Accreditation Program (NVLAP). CCL is also accredited by AUSTEL
and OSHA and are members of TIA, ACIL, ANSI, IAEI, IEEE, CCT,
Zoom Telephonics designs, produces, and
markets products that link people and their personal computers
through the world's largest network, the international telephone
network, and connected networks including the Internet and
corporate local area networks. Zoom Telephonics is publicly
traded on NASDAQ (NASDAQ: ZOOM).
Zoom products are distributed worldwide. The Zoom Web Site