Courier or Sportster Modem for Cisco AUX?

Good Morning-

I have used the Sportster and it was a little flaky. (Callback) Does anyone have a preference for the more expensive Courier? Just trying to save 150 dollars per site. Thanks!

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Over the past twenty years, Couriers have been rock solid (configure, install, and forget) while Sportsters have varied widely from version to version, ranging from junk that would overheat and fail to connect if left on for more than an hour to rock solid, just like Couriers. Since circa 2000, the Sportsters have been pretty solid and one of my more cost sensitive clients now buys Sportsters rather than Couriers. POTS access is tested once a week and the failure rates of both Sportsters and Couriers have been low. No attempt has been made to measure connection success rates or other quality factors, we see far more variability in POTS lines and POTS calls (Verizon in NYC, NY, USA) than we do in modems.

As always, YMMV. Good luck and have fun!

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Vincent C Jones

Take my advice with a grain of salt as my knowledge may be woefully out of date as I haven't really had to deal with modems on a large scale with my clients since broadband arrived in the area, but when last I looked at the two products closely there was really no comparison.

The Sportsters are produced on assembly lines like commodities. Whatever gets soldered onto the circuit board that day was whatever was on whatever electronic components USR could buy the cheapest the day before. The quality control on the Couriers is more precise. Whatever was specced in the schematics is what is used in production day in and day out with no regard to fluctuations in price. Back in the day when broadband was only for the extremely rich or campus universities & everyone was on dial-up the USR Courier was the gold standard of modems.

I've always bought Couriers for my own personal use...even back when they cost $600+ per unit. They were worth the cost even at that ungodly price. The reliability and quality was astounding. My friends always bought Sportsters & they always lusted after my Courier Dual Standard. Heh...

I suggest you buy one & test it out. Unless USR has cheapened the Courier product I think you are going to find the price difference will be a bargain in what you gain in reliability.

A Courier is the only modem I'd consider buying. I've still got mine tucked away for the day I get bored & make a project of hooking it up to the Aux port on my Cisco.

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Thanks to both of you! I believe that the Courier is more reliable as well. And as an out of band dialback standard I want something that is reliable.

The other info that I can gather seems to support the thought that the Courier is worth the buckfifty extra. I appreciate your help and if anyone wants help with there cisco configs to make a courier wotrk, then just email me.

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Just one comment on Couriers ... we have lately found a compatibility problem between (some?) Couriers and some of our aux ports (e.g. on

83x routers), when using a DTE rate 115200 bps (CSCec88730). Our lab analysis determined that this is a problem with the Courier receiving what appear to be correctly formed async characters (although I suppose it is possible that fault is really ours, e.g. with an out of spec signaling rate.)

This is not to say that you shouldn't use Couriers, just that you should be prepared to set your DTE rate to 57600 bps or below.



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Aaron Leonard

Another nice feature of Courier modems is that you can set a password on the modem so anyone dialing in is prompted for a password before being able to access the router (and be prompted for the router password).


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Vincent Aniello Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.