The 14.4 Psychology

A little anecdote today: In the "old" days I had a 14.4 kbit/s fixed line modem for quite a number of years. Even though new and shiny 28.8 kbit/s modems came on the market, I was stuck with my '14.4' because the new modems were expensive and as a student my monetary resources forbade an upgrade. So for me, the number '14.4' has a bit of a negative touch attached to it ever since.

Fast forward to today to the "megabit" era. In wireless, HSPA 7.2 Mbit/s downlink is currently pretty much state of the art. Some network operators have announced further upgrades and in due time, top speeds of 21 MBit/s and beyond will be reached. On the way to double digit speeds, there's also a 14.4 step. No, not kbit/s, but Mbit/s. Still it kind of reminds me of my 14.4 kbit/s days and has a negative "psychological" touch to it to me.

Strange strange, because I'd really like to have this 14.4 this time around 🙂 Any numbers in telecoms that have a psychological edge for you?

3 thoughts on “The 14.4 Psychology”

  1. Quite funny, because I had exactly the same feeling when I first heard about this 14.4 Mb/s step…

    However, I don’t think this may have a negative effect on the customer side or on the Telecom community in general (putting aside a small set of GSM techno historians)

    Back to history, 14.4 Kb/s was standardized in ETSI 13 years ago, and it has never been advertized as a service at least in France (apart from a very small number of users, wireless circuit data was not much used at that time).

    Another example of that kind is the 56 Mb/s (HSDPA in 16QAM + MIMO + DualCell) which Huawei has advertised some time ago.

  2. I had a 28.8k modem for the longest time (saved up diligently in high school to buy it), while dreaming of a dedicated T1 line (which is now slower than my 2Mbps mobile connection).

    But I think for me the psychologically negative number is 56. After upgrading from 28.8k to 56k, it didn’t seem like a big improvement (constant fallback to 33.6k). And I was stuck with it for probably even a longer time (poor student, couldn’t afford broadband, sometimes even used the “free” dial-up services like Netzero or Juno).

    When I finally switched to cable, can’t remember if it was 512k or 1M, I was just glad to get away from the 56k moniker. Nowadays I’m pretty happy with my 24Mbps ADSL connection 🙂

  3. 9.6k. That was all I ever managed to get from my Motorola triband GSM phone when travelling. It was just fast enough to browse for a hotel whilst on the train to the airport. My first positive mobile browsing experience.

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