A. Not all modems are the same, some are better than others. Modem performance depends on the chip set used by the modem manufacturer. Sometimes manufacturers produce different models, one which works well, while another model works poorly.
Also, the version of the modem firmware (for hardware modems), or the software version in the case of a 'Win Modem' makes a difference. About 80% of all connection related problems, including poor performance, are modem related. A majority of these problems are resolved by upgrading to the latest modem code available from the modem manufacturer.
Finally, you should also be aware that not all ISPs use the same equipment. Some types of modem pool equipment may work better with one type of modem than another. An ISP is not going to replace equipment that may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars because you have trouble with your $20 - $80 modem. Northwest Internet will do its best to advise and assist you, but we are not going to make major changes or investments unless it is a problem that affects a large number of users. Neither will any other ISP.
ISPs upgrade modem pool firmware on a regular basis to the current software released by the equipment manufacturer in order to improve performance or correct problems with pre-existing code.
Doing a little research before you make a purchase may save you many headaches. When you buy a modem, make sure you have acceptable return or exchange privileges.