What is the REAL modem speed?

I have a HSP micromodem 56.  It came with a FREE e-machine [compuserve signup required . . . ] Apparently this is a 'soft-modem' where the CPU does all the signal processing.  On a message-boards I found a debate regarding how I can dramatically enhance it's ability by adding the following line to the control panel/modems/properties/connection/advanced/extra settings:
People were claiming that their modem went from 31,300 to 115,200  MANY people were claiming this incredible feat, then I came upon this :

People people people. If your modem connects
at 115,200 it's NOT the real speed. It's the port
speed, the speed that your computer talks to your
 modem. If all phone lines were capable of that
speed, we wouldn't even have dial ups, everyone
would be ISDN.

My MAIN GOAL is to get my cheapo modem to release control of my phone line after I sign-off from my ISP.  But If I could convince my 'soft-modem' to go faster than a hardware-controlled modem it would be GREAT.  Then again, if it is too good to be true, . . .
Who is Participating?
The comment "People people people. If your modem connects at 115,200 it's NOT the real speed. It's the port                speed, the speed that your computer talks to your modem" is correct.This is referred to as 'port speed' and is the rate at which data is transferred to/from the modem to the rest of the system via the bus connector that the modem is plugged into.'line speed' is the rate at which data is tranferred to/from the modem via the phone line,and is the figure usually quoted to indicate a modem's speed.

It may seem that the higher port speed is being wasted since data is arriving at the lower line speed,but this line data is usually compressed ; a true 'hardware' modem will un-compress this data on the modem card itself before sending it on to the rest of the system,hence the need for a higher port speed.A 'software' or 'winmodem' passes the compressed data on as-is,letting the system do the work ; a port speed higher than the line speed in this case IS wasted.

If your modem is reporting the port speed in your connection dialog,you can change it to line speed by adding W2 to the init string.Easiest way to do this is in the modem's Properties - Connection - Advanced - Extra settings.
And the question is?????????
First of all, are you on a normal analog phone line?
If so, you can't even get 56k let alone 115,200.  However, the speed you are reading is manually set in the properties of the modem in the maximum speed select.  The number that you're reading is NOT the actual connection speed.  

Second, modem strings can help do many things but increasing the speed of all winmodems regardless of manufacturer is not one of them.  Most manufacturers have specific strings for specific finctions of the modem.

Now, if the modem isn't releasing the line, there's a few things you can try.  And by the way, it will never perform like a firmware modem

First, do you have the installation disk that came with the modem or a disk with the drivers for it?  What kind of modem is it? ( manf & model )
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Also, who is your ISP?
Just went through all this recently and got a lot of great suggestions.  If you will look at the Previously Answered Questions for modems, and find "System Tray Modem Icon Data", you may find the answer to your question.  The web links offered by folks commenting on my question were a great help.  If you are running Windows 98, you may also try configuring your System Monitor to view "Dial Up Adapter: Bytes receieved/second" to give a real-time through-put indication of your modem.  (Need instructions on System Monitor?) Check my previous question (referenced above); you may get your answer for only 20 points.  Good luck!
BrockoleeAuthor Commented:
Thank You.
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