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Modulation fallback is a built-in modem feature that facilitates data connectivity and transfer between two modems operating at different maximum speeds. The highest common speed is the fastest data transfer speed between modems. This means that the faster modem must "fall back" to the speed of the slower modem.
Also, when a modem cannot connect with another modem for other reasons, such as changing line conditions, it will reattempt the transfer at a lower speed.
During a modem call, the calling modem sends out a tone in a specific modulation that is often determined by the interface speed between the modem and its corresponding PC. If the answering modem supports the sent modulation, a connection occurs immediately. If not, the calling modem may have to fall back to the highest modulation that the two modems have in common.
Examples of modulation fallback for specific dial-up standards include: