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Communications and information technology
 
SmartModem
1992
range of modems for personal computers

In 1982 personal computers had just arrived and Chris Howells saw the potential of getting computers to 'talk' to each other. He and two technicians made an equipment interface to link small Apple computers to mainframe IBM computers - and Apple bought the worldwide marketing rights to it.

Howells saw even greater potential in producing a modem for Apple's new computer, the Macintosh. Modems modulate digital data (turn it into analog signals) for transfer over phone lines and demodulate analog signals back into digital ones. So he bought a modem the size of a shoebox and pulled it apart to see how it worked.

Then he started making his own and established the NetComm company. A string of Australian-designed, faster and smaller modems with better features led to the first SmartModem, released in 1985.

By 1992, superfast SmartModems using surface-mount technology were amongst the smallest and most reliable in the world.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Netcomm (Australia) Pty Ltd : design
Containers Hitech Pty Ltd : manufacture
Key People
Chris Howells, Founding CEO of NetComm
Luke Conte, co-founder of NetComm
Ray Rodrick, co-founder of NetComm
Dennis Rosler : R & D manager (design)
Keith Stone : designer
Graeme Edwards : designer

Further Reading
'NetComm sets the running with its modem line-up'
Gareth Powell
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March 1992, p 45.

Links
NetComm
A short history of modems
Cyberworlds exhibition
How modems work


Modem products from NetComm. Courtesy NetComm Australia Pty Ltd.
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ATSE Powerhouse Museum