Preview by Al Giovetti
Release: December 1996 Genre: Fast Internet Access
Vendor: Hughes Network Systems, Germantown, MD
Website: http://www.hns.com

Do you really want fast internet access. Many people are talking about a variety of internet access choices, including ISDN 64 Kbps, ASDL, double modems, compression speeds up to 115 Kbps and others. Many of these types of modems are simply not available in most parts of the United States. Some technologies like ASDL require expensive modems ($2,000 or more currently -Ed.). Other technologies like ISDN are extremely complex and complicated. The new compression standards at 57.6 Kbps and 115.2 Kbps do not yet have standards (There are currently talks going on to adopt interim proposed standards 11-22-96 Ed).

DirecPC Personal Edition allows users to download Internet content at speeds approaching 400 Kbps. This rather respectable speed is available virtually everywhere nationwide via satellite. The system is easy to use and relatively inexpensive when compared to ISDN, ASDL, and others. The technology is 10 times faster than ISDN, and 14 times faster than a 28.8 modem.

Uploading information is not at the same blistering speed. But for most the real bottleneck is the downloading or receiving of information from the internet provider. Most of us can live with the lower rates for uploading unless you are constantly sending large files to a third party location, such as video streaming or video conferencing where ISDN still may hold sway.

The service requires a small dish antenna, a receiver box, and cabling which should not run any more than about $400 installed. The installation can be done with a screw driver. You need only mount the antenna on a corner of your house and run the wiring and you are set.

The DirecPC has received a large numbers of rewards for a system which will be introduced at the end of this year. (The product is already being sold by CompUSA in California.) PC Computing And PC Magazine honored DirecPC with awards at Comdex which ended today, November 22, 1996.PC Computing gave DirecPC the Most Valuable Product (MVP) award in the Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) category, and PC Magazine presented the company with the Technical Excellence award in the Networking Hardware category. DirecPC also received the "Hot Product" Award bestowed by Data Communications in January.

"It is truly an honor for Hughes Network Systems and the DirecPC development team to be recognized by our peers at COMDEX, the industry's premier event," said C.P. Shankar, HNS assistant vice president in charge of sales and marketing for DirecPC. "These awards illustrate that users have the need for speed today. DirecPC continues to be the fastest and most affordable Internet access from your home PC."

According to PC Computing, "ISDN can't match DirecPC's blazing 400 kbps delivery. It handles large documents, video and audio clips with ease." PC Magazine noted that "everyone talks about cable modems, 56 kbps modems, and other fast ways to connect to the Internet, but most of the really high-speed technologies either are not available yet in most locations or are too complex for average users. One impressive exception to the trend is Hughes Network Systems' DirecPC." --

Al Giovetti, The Computer Show, 1615 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD, 21228-5022, 410-747-0396 http://www.charm.net/~wizards/computershow/