Under good line conditions, the Lucent K56Flex-compatible MultiMobile boasts raw throughput capabilities of 41.9 kbps. But when we simulated a long local loop condition (as if your location was a long distance from the local switch), performance dropped below nearly every other modem. For traveling, this makes the MultiMobile a poor choice because you can't count on getting good line conditions everywhere you go. With compression, the MultiMobile isn't at the top anymore either, but nevertheless transfers text files at an adequate 88 kbps.
When we began making analog V.34 calls, the MultiMobile played a different tune. With good lines, again, the modem was unbeatable at 31.7 kbps. But this time, introducing impairments didn't hold the MultiMobile back. It connected reliably no matter how noisy the line, and was much speedier than nearly all other modems tested.
Under Windows 95, the MultiMobile installed easily, and although Multi-Tech doesn't provide a quick-install guide, the MultiMobile has complete, well-organized documentation. We were especially pleased with the detailed troubleshooting section and full AT command reference. Multi-Tech bundles Trio Communication Suite for faxing and data communication but does not support cellular connections. The MultiMobile is generally lean in the features department, but it does include a digital line protection guard to prevent hardware damage if you accidentally plug your card into a digital PBX phone system. Also, we found the included connection cord to be sturdier than the majority of other modems--although you'll need to cart this proprietary dongle with you, it clicks into place and doesn't have a tendency to come loose. Multi-Tech backs their MultiMobile MT5634ZLX with a five-year warranty and unlimited toll-free technical support. Free flash ROM upgrades are available for download from Multi-Tech's Web site.
Alas, the MultiMobile could have been a contender, if only it had handled poor-quality digital lines even half as well as the winners of our review. Oh well, there are always ROM upgrades to look forward to.