I got my first Mac a few months back. A beautiful 24'' imac. Its a wonderful machine. Also I had to purchase a usb modem as I live out in a rural area that does not offer any other internet service. The problem began to happen just this week. The modem when dialing is making this cracking popping sound like its got a bad connection. I checked the wall jack etc. I also took the phone line and plugged it into my old windows machine to see if it also got the same issue. The PC connected clearly and fast without any problems. That narrowed the problem down to the USB modem. I called the support line, but was told I would need to buy apple care or a 49 dollar phone support call "the price of a new usb modem....". That was not very helpful at all. My fear is that if I buy another usb modem its just going to die in a few months like this one did. So I am at a crossroad to either take that plunge or buy one of the previous model airport extreme stations with the built-in modem that may be a bit better built. What do you think? Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.