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View Poll Results: Should I go get an external serial modem or not?
Yes 17 85.00%
No 3 15.00%
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Old 08-31-2003, 04:38 PM   #1
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Internal or External Modem

Quick question...

I've been reading through the posts with regards to Modem problems, including trying out a few things, but still no joy in connecting to the net.

Will I be better connecting through a serial modem (external) than the one that I already have installed? (PCI Conexant 56k HCF).

I am a little confused as to what a Winmodem is, I presume it's a modem designed to be used with Windows???
Old 08-31-2003, 05:03 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
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Check out this link:

I've never had to get a Winmodem to work with Linux. Although, in certain cases I've heard it can be done. If it were me, and had the cash, I'd just get a controller based modem.

Old 08-31-2003, 06:37 PM   #3
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Although some Winmodems can be used with Linux (or so I read now a days) a hardware modem is usually easiest. There is such a thing as an internal hardware modem (USR made one the last I looked.)
Hardware modem = the modem is capiable of performing all the needed functions. The computer just interfaces with the modem.
Software modem (Winmodem) = the modem is not capible of performing all needed functions on it's own. Additional software is required to actually make the modem functional above and beyond just interfacing with it. Since using fewer hardware parts makes them cheaper, and OEM producers like cheaper, most PCs come with a software modem that requires special software to make it work which the modem manufacturer has only provided for Windows (hence Winmodem).
Old 08-31-2003, 06:42 PM   #4
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If find external modems are much more reliable, especially under high cpu usage situations.
Old 08-31-2003, 09:26 PM   #5
Registered: Aug 2003
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here's a link for you...

external modems will always work for you since they are real and complete modems vrs. a soft modem.

Old 09-01-2003, 05:01 AM   #6
Registered: Jun 2001
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With an external you know it's real modem. Saves a PCI slot.

Mine cost more, 25 instead of 15 for a winmodem.

Only some Winmodems work such as hcf, hsf and Lucent based.

Modems I know to work -->
(From Gentoo's portage system)

"* net-dialup/hcfusbmodem [ Masked ]
Latest version available: 0.99.03042703
Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
Size of downloaded files: 513 kB
Description: hcfusbmodem - Modem driver for Connexant HSF chipset

* net-dialup/hsflinmodem
Latest version available:
Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
Size of downloaded files: 1,038 kB
Description: hsflinmodem - Modem driver for Connexant HSF chipset

* net-dialup/ltmodem
Latest version available: 8.26_alpha9-r1
Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
Size of downloaded files: 664 kB
Description: Winmodems with Lucent Apollo (ISA) and Mars (PCI) chipsets
* net-dialup/hcfpcimodem
Latest version available: 0.99.02123100
Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
Size of downloaded files: 619 kB
Description: hcfpcimodem - Modem driver for Connexant HSF chipset"
Old 09-01-2003, 09:17 AM   #7
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Exclamation External

For the record, I had a hardware modem that was internal that would not work with Mandrake 9.1.

Advice, get a external serial modem. Save you a lot of headaches. I have a actiontec that I paid about $45.00 for. No problems.

Old 09-01-2003, 09:54 AM   #8
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Well I never got an internal modem (winmodem) to work in Linux. Well that was a few years back since I ever needed to have a modem to connect to the net soo I haven't tried to make any work.

But then I've only had a working modem once and that was (as I said before) a few years back. Now I only have to use NIC's to connect..

Go for the external just to let you off some possible trouble...

Old 09-01-2003, 10:12 AM   #9
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I got a conexant modem "working" once. As a result, I would get kicked off the net and lots of kernel error messages. When it freaked out, you had to wait forever for it to reset or reboot your system.

You just can't beat an external serial port modem. I get much better faster connections, seldom am I kicked offline and I can reset it with the button on the modem.

The Mandrake user that couldn't get an internal pci modem working, you need to install setserial and configure it.

# Configuring a real hardware pci modem
To configure a pci modem, open an x terminal and su - to the root account:
[fancy@tinwhistle fancy]$ su -
[root@tinwhistle root]# cat /proc/pci
Look for your modem in the returned list. Look for something similar to mine:
  Bus  2, device   2, function  0:
    Communication controller: PCI device 151f:0000 (TOPIC SEMICONDUCTOR Corp) (rev 0).
      IRQ 5.
      I/O at 0xc400 [0xc407].
With this info, I use the setserial command:
[root@tinwhistle root]# setserial /dev/ttyS0 irq 5 port 0xc400 uart 16550a
Then I test the modem with the internet connection wizard and it works. I edit /etc/rc.d/rc.local and enter the setserial command:
[root@tinwhistle root]# pico -w /etc/rc.d/rc.local
My file for an example
# Redhat /etc/rc.d/rc.local file
# This script will be executed *after* all the other init scripts.
# You can put your own initialization stuff in here if you don't
# want to do the full Sys V style init stuff.

touch /var/lock/subsys/local
# configure modem
setserial /dev/ttyS0 irq 5 port 0xc400 uart 16550a
Now, it remains configured after a reboot.

# Modem and connection troubleshooting
WinModems and Linux
Modem NHFs
Conexant/Rockwell modem HOWTO
The Unofficial PCTel Linux Driver page
I finaly got my PcTel hsp56 mr modem to work
Linux driver for Winmodems with Lucent Apollo (ISA) and Mars (PCI) chipsets
Lucent AMR modem listed as an Intel AC'97 - Smart Link Modems
The kppp Handbook
Dial-up Networking Configuration Using KDE's Kppp
Troubleshooting ISP Connection Problems
Old 09-01-2003, 04:33 PM   #10
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Once again (from a previous post), I must take this opportunity to thank everyone for their input...

just got in from work and gonna try Fancy's suggestions first...

From Jago's post it would appear that there are Linux drivers for a Conexant HCF modem, and let's face it, if that saves a few quid (bucks, euros, yen, etc) then all the better...

Much as I enjoy shelling out the spondoolies, I'd rather save it for something I don't have (more RAM perhaps )

Will let you know how we get on....
Old 09-01-2003, 04:41 PM   #11
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Went to the site recommended (HCF Modem Drivers ) and they are talking about Controllerless and Software Modem types....

Just out of interest, does this mean that a Controllerless modem is a Hardware modem (i.e without controllers / drivers) and a Software modem is a Bill-Gates-slave-to-the-Windows-based-drivers-and-useless-in-Linux in-the-main-modem ???

Ta loads...
Old 09-01-2003, 04:53 PM   #12
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Both of those are winmodems and use the cpu to simulate a modem. A real modem is a hardware modem and it uses hardware, not software to be a modem. Nothing is required from the cpu except for it sending the ones and zeros to the proper port.
Old 09-01-2003, 04:59 PM   #13
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so both Software based modems... many thanx Fancy

Gonna try out the download first though... let's see if it works
Old 09-02-2003, 12:54 PM   #14
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Right now, after some troubles ( due to ppp config, not to the modem itself ) i use an HSF modem with Linux and i have no troubles at all.

Works fine with my pc, i stay connected even 2 hours and it has never disconnected.

I have to say that it was already on my pc, if i had to buy a modem i would have probably choosed an external one.

It can't work as a fax and other things, anyway i don't use them.
Old 09-02-2003, 06:03 PM   #15
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internal as opposed to external modem

Auction time baby! I got a Hayes external modem with fax and the whole nine yards for $15US. The real thing. Go online to the different auctions and you may pay that for postage. Try to find local auctions and charities (with a store) to find one. Also put the word out at your local user group.

1) External modems are nice to have for fail-over when cable goes out. (My router will do it auto-magically.) This means until local telephone goes digital it won't be obsolete.

2) If you didn't disable your serial port; set-up is easy, and it probably will auto detect.

3) Could be my imagination, but the damn thing seemed faster in both windows and Linux. It tolerated line noise better (I think).

4) It means that your computer is not directly connected to the phone system. A surge or spike is less likely to do damage. The surge protector for phones (which is built into some of the better products) would be your first line of defense: The modem itself would be your second line of defense.

5) If you are planning to have a home network, there are some routers (like mine) which will run and share the internet connection to the network without added software. (It also has a print server. Heh, heh.)

6) The linux fax software is mature. Unfortunately, in this case, the modem has to be connected to computer (I think) instead of just the network. Oh well.

7) Commercial grade external modems have a lot of programmable functions not available on internal hardware modems, let alone winmodems. Not that I used any, but they were there.

8) They have those nifty led's on them. Just looking at them flicker make you feel computer literate!


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