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Encyclopedia > U.S. Robotics
U.S. Robotics
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1976
Headquarters Schaumburg, Illinois
Industry Computer
Products Modems, Wired and Wireless Networking, VoIP
Owner Platinum Equity
Website www.usr.com

U.S. Robotics (popularly referred to by its acronym USR) is a company that makes computer modems and related technologies. They were a well known brand for some time in the industry, first by selling high-speed modems in the 1980s, and later maintaining their lead through a reputation for high quality and compatibility. With the virtual disappearance of the voiceband modem market in North America in the early 21st century, USR is now one of the few modem companies left in the market. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Coordinates: Incorporated March 7, 1956  - Village President Al Larson Area    - Village 49. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... Computer industry is a collective term used to describe the whole range of businesses involved in developing computer software, designing computer hardware, the manufacture of computer components and the provision of information technology services. ... A modem (from modulate and demodulate) is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... IP Telephony, also called Internet telephony, is the technology that makes it possible to have a telephone conversation over the Internet or a dedicated Internet Protocol (IP) network instead of dedicated voice transmission lines. ... A Web site (or colloquially, Website) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that is hosted on a Web server, usually accessible via the Internet or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML, that is almost always accessible via HTTP... The term company may refer to a separate legal entity, as in English law, or may simply refer to a business, as is the common use in the United States. ... A modem (from modulate and demodulate) is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. ...



USR was founded in 1976 in Schaumburg, Illinois by a group of entrepreneurs, including Casey Cowell, who served as CEO for most of the company's history. Coordinates: Incorporated March 7, 1956  - Village President Al Larson Area    - Village 49. ...

USR was one of the first companies to offer high-speed dialup modems for personal computers. Prior to the development of the high-speed standards such as the V.32 family of protocols, in 1986 USR introduced its own HST (High-Speed Transfer) protocol that operated at 9600 bit/s. In 1989 HST was expanded to 14.4 kbs, 16.8 kbit/s in 1992 and finally 21 kbit/s/24 kbit/s as phone lines improved and the system was adapted to use more bandwidth. V.32 is an ITU-T recommendation for a modem, allowing bidirectional data transfer at either 9. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

USR was not the only company making proprietary high-speed modems; Telebit's TrailBlazer series offered speeds up to 19.2 kbit/s even in its first model, and Hayes eventually responded to USR and TeleBit by introducing their own 9600 bit/s Express 96 (or "Ping-Pong") system. However, USR became the most popular of the three, by far, due to a clever marketing scheme that offered large discounts to BBS sysops. This was an extremely attractive deal, as it allowed large long-distance file transfers, such as FidoNet packets, to be exchanged far more quickly. Of course end users wanting to take advantage of these higher speeds would invariably have to turn to USR in order to be compatible. In contrast, TeleBit became very popular in the Unix world through their ability to "spoof" the UUCP protocol to greatly improve transfers, while the Hayes system never became popular. Telebit, a modem manufacturer, is most notable for the Trailblazer variety modems. ... Hayes Microcomputer Products was a US-based manufacturer of modems. ... A bulletin board system or BBS is a computer system running software that allows users to dial into the system over a phone line and, using a terminal program, perform functions such as downloading software and data, uploading data, playing games, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users. ... SysOp (pronounced /ˈsɪs. ... The FidoNet logo FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems. ... Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®) is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ... UUCP stands for Unix to Unix CoPy. ...

The proprietary nature of HST allowed USR to maintain its market dominance even when off-brand V.32-based modems began selling for less than an equivalent HST modems. As the price differential increased, however, V.32-based modems eventually became a popular and viable alternative to HST. Nevertheless, USR maintained its popularity by creating slightly faster HST protocols (in particular, a 16.8 kbit/s mode), maintaining its exceptional quality, and by producing "dual standard" modems which were able to communicate with both HST and V.32 modems at high speeds.

During this period they differentiated their high and low-end product lines by supporting only the V.32 modes on their low-end Sportster models, while their high-end Courier models supported V.32, HST, or both in the Courier Dual Standard models. The Sportster actually used the same motherboard as the Couriers, and on certain 14.4 models a sequence of AT commands could be issued to enable the 16.8 HST mode.[1] The Courier remained a favorite in the BBS and emerging ISP world, where they were known to run without problem for extended periods of time (although the initial large-scale deployment of Courier modems in the CompuServe network uncovered a serious bug which would cause the modems to crash and stop answering calls under high call volumes). “ISP” redirects here. ... CompuServe, (in full, CompuServe Information Services, or CIS), was the first major commercial online service in the United States, dominating the field during the 1980s and remaining a major player through the mid-1990s when it was sidelined by the rise of information services, such as AOL, who adopted pricing...

Later, when 56 kbit/s modems were introduced, USR again went its own direction, with its X2 technology battling rival K56flex before the creation of a formal 56K standard. Once again, after the V.90 industry standard became available, USR abandoned its proprietary protocol. In a further effort to reduce the retail price of its modems, USR was one of the first companies to market a Winmodem. US Roboticss 56K modem protocol for upload under V.34+ at 33. ... K56flex (originally called the K56Plus) was a modem chipset from Rockwell and Lucent that gave users the possibility of receiving data on ordinary phone lines at 56 kbit/s as opposed to the previous maximum of 33. ... V.90 is an ITU-T recommendation for a modem, allowing 56 kbit/s download and 33. ... A Winmodem is a software modem designed to work with the Microsoft Windows operating system. ...

Some models of Courier modems are famous for their long-term upgradeability, since they used an upgradeable DSP design. When the Courier V.Everything modem was first released in 1994 under the product label "Courier V.34 Ready", they shipped with only V.FC support as V.34 had not been released yet. A free V.34 upgrade was made available shortly via FidoNet networks, as well as via the Internet. USR surprised many early Courier V.Everything modem owners with a limited-time free offer of an X2 firmware upgrade, which added 56K speed capability. Finally, USR released a V.90 upgrade that was compatible with X2-upgraded Courier V.Everything modems. Even the 1994 hardware released pre-V.34 was fully V.90 upgradeable with no hardware modifications, yielding a very long product life to those who owned Courier V.Everything modems; many of these modems are still in use today, more than a decade later. A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... V.90 is an ITU-T recommendation for a modem, allowing 56 kbit/s download and 33. ...

Palm Pilot, 3Com, Commoditization

After acquiring Palm, Inc., inventors of the Palm Pilot in 1995, USR was in turn acquired by 3Com Corporation in June 1997. Palm, Inc. ... An early model - the Pilot 5000 The Palm m130 was one of the first Palms with a colour screen Pilot was the name given to the first generation of personal digital assistants manufactured by Palm Computing in 1996 (then a division of U.S. Robotics and later 3Com). ... 3Com (NASDAQ: COMS) is a manufacturer best known for its computer network infrastructure products. ...

USR was then recreated as a spin-off of 3Com Corporation in June 2000 as an independent company, assuming 3Com's entire client modem business, but minus the Palm portion, which itself had been spun off three months earlier. Other portions of the original USR remained in 3Com as the CommWorks Corporation. USR then quickly built up its device portfolio, and today makes not only traditional dial-up modems, but also wired and wireless networking components including Ethernet switches, gateways/routers, and wireless access points. The company was acquired by Platinum Equity in 2005. 3Com (NASDAQ: COMS) is a manufacturer best known for its computer network infrastructure products. ... CommWorks Corporation was the subsidiary of 3Com Corporation based in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and sold to UTStarcom, Inc. ... A network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Platinum Equity is an American information technology and private equity firm. ...

With modems more of a commodity item today than they were in the 1980s and 1990s, the USR brand no longer carries the mystique it once did. Like other modem companies, it sells more Winmodems than anything else. However, its Performance Pro line is one of the handful of controller-based modems still on the market that are universally compatible with operating systems other than Microsoft Windows. As a result, USR —or at least the USR Performance Pro line— is still held in regard by computer professionals and users of the Linux operating system. Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. ... It has been suggested that Criticism of Linux be merged into this article or section. ...


The name for the company is a reference to Isaac Asimov, who is widely credited with inventing the term robotics, and whose Robot stories featured a fictional company named U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men. The 2004 Will Smith movie I, Robot, loosely based on Asimov's works and set in Chicago, uses U.S. Robotics as the name of the fictional robot manufacturer. The film's U.S. Robotics corporate logo resembles a former real-life USR logo. Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920? – April 6, 1992, IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... Look up robotics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Isaac Asimovs Robot Series is a series of books by Isaac Asimov, both collections of short stories and novels. ... The fictional corporation US Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... I, Robot is a science fiction film released on July 16, 2004, loosely based on Isaac Asimovs Robot Series. ...

External links

Business data

  Results from FactBites:
US Robots and Mechanical Men - definition of US Robots and Mechanical Men in Encyclopedia (178 words)
US Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. was the major manufacturer of robots in the 21st century in Isaac Asimov's fictional Robot Series.
Dr Susan Calvin, the chief robopsychologist at US Robots is the main character in many of Asimov's short stories, usually dealing with robot problems in the lab.
Under the name U.S. Robotics, this company is also featured in I, Robot, the 2004 Will Smith movie inspired by (but quite different from) Asimov's short story collection I, Robot later on as the evil empire ruled by VIKI and the NS-5s.
  More results at FactBites »



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