Modems




 
 
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Modems - Drivers

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Drivers

A driver is a small piece of software that works in conjunction with your operating system to communicate with a specific piece of hardware i.e., printer, sound card, video card, modem, etc. Each time you install hardware, there must be a driver to accompany that piece of hardware. However, just as with any software, drivers are prone to bugs, corruption, and various incompatibility issues with the operating system. For this reason, hardware manufacturers upgrade their drivers to improve compatibility and performance. Modem initialization strings can also improve compatibility and performance.

 

Installing Drivers:

This is the easy part, but it's actually the second step.  The first step -- finding the driver -- is the more difficult step, and is the subject of the rest of this page.  Once you've found the correct driver, you can install it on your computer.  If the driver is an executable program (file extension is .exe), then simply click on the .exe file to install the new driver.  Most PC Manufacturers package their drivers this way.

If the driver file is not an .exe, you will have to install it the old fashioned way, as described in the following links.  

Note:  Files may be in .zip or .rar formats, which means you will have to "unzip" or "extract" the files before installing.  Click here for help with WinZIP.

Choose one of the following links for help with installing a new driver:

Windows 95/98

Windows ME

Windows 2000

Windows XP

 

 

Finding Drivers:

Finding the right driver for your modem can prove to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.  There are companies who manufacture modems, companies who manufacture chipsets for modems, and companies who manufacture both chipsets and modems.  The modems are then sold to PC Manufacturers or directly to consumers through retail outlets.  This means that the US Robotics modem that came in your Dell computer may be the same modem your next door neighbor purchased at CompUSA.

Chipset Manufacturers Modem Manufacturers PC Manufacturers

you

you

It's best to get the driver from the last company in the chain.  So, if you purchased you PC from one of the common PC Manufacturers (like Dell, Gateway, Compaq, etc.), and if you still have the modem that came with the computer, then you should get the driver from the PC Manufacturer.  Luckily, most PC Manufacturers make it easy to find drivers on their websites.  Click here for links to PC Manufacturers.

If you've replaced the modem, or if you built your own computer, then you should get the driver from the Modem Manufacturer.  Here's where the difficulty comes in.  
Problem 1:  Your computer often identifies the modem based on the chipset.  The modem control panel may show that you have a "Conexant HSF 56k Modem".  Conexant, however, does not make modems; they only make chipsets.  Now you have to take apart your computer to see the name of the Modem Manufacturer on the modem itself.  There's problem number 2.  
Problem 2:  Many modems do not list the manufacturer.  If you're lucky, you can find printed on the modem an FCC ID, which can be used to find who made the modem.  With no FCC ID, you may find a product ID, which will hopefully pull up the name of the manufacturer in a Google search.  Once you've found who made the modem, we've reached problem number 3.
Problem 3:  Locating the appropriate driver.  You can try the company's website (very often a dead-end) or driver sites such as those listed in the Modem Manufacturer section.

Most Chipset Manufacturers' drivers should only be used as a last resort.  However, some chipset manufacturers provide drivers that always work well.  Lucent is the most notable.  Click here for a list of Chipset Manufacturers whose driver may be the best choice.

 

 

3 possible sources for your modem driver:

  1. PC Manufacturer - This is the easiest.  If you still have the original modem that came with your PC, simply go to the PC Manufacturer's website to download the driver.

  2. Modem Manufacturer - This is often the most difficult.  If you have replaced your original modem, or if your computer was NOT manufactured by one of the major PC Manufacturers, you need to find the driver provided by the Modem Manufacturer.  This often involves removing the modem from the PC to see who made it.

  3. Chipset Manufacturer - This is typically not recommended.  Chipset manufacturers sell chips to the Modem Manufacturers along with a generic driver.  This driver is then modified by the Modem Manufacturer before being sold to PC Manufacturers who modify the driver as well.  So, the Chipset driver is often 3 generations removed from the original and may not work with your modem.  Lucent is the most notable exception to this.

 

Easy PC Manufacturers:

This is the easiest.  If you still have the original modem that came with your PC, simply go to the PC Manufacturer's website to download the driver.

IMPORTANT:  If you have replaced the original modem that came in your PC, you must find the driver provided by the Modem Manufacturer instead of the PC Manufacturer.

Dell: Service Tag Number.
        Dell.com -> support -> Home and Home Office -> Enter Service Tag#
        http://support.dell.com/us/en/register.asp

Compaq: Model (i.e., Presario) and 4-digit Series Number.
        Hp.com -> drivers -> Compaq drivers ->  Presario Desktops -> enter pc info in drop-downs
        http://www.compaq.com/support/files/

HP: Model (i.e., Pavilion) and 4-digit Series Number (possibly ‘c’ after 4-digit number)
        hp.com -> drivers -> HP drivers ->  enter pc Model & Series in Search
        http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/eng/software_drivers.htm

Gateway: Serial Number –or- Model
       
Drivers: www.gateway.com -> support -> downloads -> MyDownloads -> Enter Serial Number
       
                                                                        -> All Downloads -> Select Model/OS
        http://support.gateway.com/support/drivers/dlcenter.asp

IBM: 7-digit machine type & model type (i.e., 2164-651)
       
Drivers: www.ibm.com -> Support & Downloads -> All Downloads & Drivers -> Enter PC 7-digit machine type model
       
http://www-1.ibm.com/support/all_download_drivers.html

Fujitsu:
        Drivers: fujitsupc.com -> support -> Driver Downloads: Notebooks -> Select Series & OS
        http://www.fujitsupc.com/www/support.shtml?support/softwaredownloads/notebooks/drivers_frm

Toshiba:
       
Drivers: portables.toshiba.com -> Service and Support -> Tech Support Center -> Select Product/Family/Model 
       
http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/su/su_sc_modSel.jsp

E-Machines: 5-digit Model Number
       
Drivers: E4me.com -> support -> driver downloads -> Accept -> Click here to search by model
       
                                                                                   ->
       
http://www.emachines.com/support/driver_search.html

Sony:
        Drivers: www.ita.se.sony.com/support -> Choose Desktop or Laptop Model -> Software Updates & Drivers.
        http://www.ita.sel.sony.com/support/

 

Difficult PC Manufacturers:

Packard Bell/NEC: ???????

Acer:
       
www.acersupport.com -> Support & Downloads -> Under Downloads click Desktop -> Choose model.
       
http://www.acersupport.com/desktop/html/downloads.html

 

 

 

Modem Manufacturers:

If you've replaced the modem that came with your computer, or if you built your own computer, then you should get the driver from the Modem Manufacturer.  

If you've replaced the modem, or if you built your own computer, then you should get the driver from the Modem Manufacturer.  Here's where the difficulty comes in.  
Problem 1:  Your computer often identifies the modem based on the chipset.  The modem control panel may show that you have a "Conexant HSF 56k Modem".  Conexant, however, does not make modems; they only make chipsets.  Now you have to take apart your computer to see the name of the Modem Manufacturer on the modem itself.  There's problem number 2.  
Problem 2:  Many modems do not list the manufacturer.  If you're lucky, you can find printed on the modem an FCC ID, which can be used to find who made the modem.  With no FCC ID, you may find a product ID, which will hopefully pull up the name of the manufacturer in a Google search.  Once you've found who made the modem, we've reached problem number 3.
Problem 3:  Locating the appropriate driver.  You can try the company's website (very often a dead-end) or driver sites such as those listed below.

Don't know who made your modem?
If you are trying to locate the manufacturer for your modem, you should first find the name of the manufacturer with the FCC search on the following link:
http://www.fcc.gov/oet/fccid/

Please note that the first three digits of the FCC ID Number are unique for each manufacturer.
Then use your favorite Internet search engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Excite, WebCrawler...) to locate the web site of the manufacturer.  
If you can't find their web site, try modem driver sites like www.driverzone.com, www.modem-drivers.com.

Guide to the whole process:
    
http://peripherals.about.com/library/weekly/aa093000b.htm

Already know who made your modem?
Try the following sites to locate your driver.  They contain lists of Modem Manufacturers:

http://www.driverzone.com/modem.html Great site.  Actual drivers to download. Links to Manufacturers.
http://www.modem-drivers.com/
Great site.  Actual drivers to download.

http://www.56k.com/links/Modem_Manufacturers/ Links to manufacturer's website.
http://www.modemhelp.org/drivers.html  Links to manufacturer's website.

 

 

Easy Chipset Manufacturers:

Lucent (LT): Use Generic V.90 driver at: www.agere.com
                AT&FX w/Hardware Flow

Supra (Diamond) – Makes its own Chipsets & Modems. 
           
http://www.sonicblue.com/support/diamond/default.asp?menu=support&submenu=Modems

Creative – Makes its own Chipsets & Modems  
            http://www.americas.creative.com/support/welcome.asp?rd=download

Zoom - Makes its own Chipsets & Modems  
            http://www.zoom.com/ts1/analog/pci.shtml

 

Difficult Chipset Manufacturers:

This is typically not recommended.  Chipset manufacturers sell chips to the Modem Manufacturers along with a generic driver.  This driver is then modified by the Modem Manufacturer before being sold to PC Manufacturers who modify the driver as well.  So, the Chipset driver is often 3 generations removed from the original and may not work with your modem.  Lucent (above) is the most notable exception to this.

US Robotics  - Makes its own Chipsets & Modems. Also makes OEM form Manufacturers.

                   Retail (in a US Robotics box):  
                        - Try the driver disk that came in the box.  
                   - Try the US Robotics' driver built in to Windows (last resort for ‘Can’t Connect').  
                   - Then, check www.usr.com.  
                      usr.com -> support -> 56k/33.6 Internal -> choose model

                   OEM (Manufactured PC):  
                   - If in manufactured (i.e., Dell) computer, check the manufacturer’s website first.  
                   - Try the US Robotics' driver built in to Windows (last resort for ‘Can’t Connect').  
                   - Then, check www.usr.com. Need 4-digit model number on modem card itself.  
                      usr.com -> support -> 56k/33.6 Internal -> OEM -> Driver

Conexant (HSF, HCF) – Only makes chipsets.  Refer to Modem Manufacturer or POS.  
               As last resort, use these drivers, but be sure to find the true driver once online.
               www.conexant.com

Rockwell – Only makes chipsets. OLD.  Bought by Conexant.

HSP (made by PCTel) – Only makes chipsets.  
                             - If it says just ‘HSP’, go to Modem Manufacturer. Difficult.  
                                 http://www.pctel.com/who_made_modem.php

- If it says ‘PCTel’ in the name, go to http://www.pctel.com/support.php. Easy.

Ambient/HAM (made by Intel)

Motorola – Impossible.  
          http://www.motorola.com/softmodem/driver.htm

3Com (US Robotics) - See above for US Robotics.

 

Additional Driver Resources:

http://www.driverzone.com/modem.html Great site.  Actual drivers to download. Links to Manufacturers.
http://www.modem-drivers.com/
Great site.  Actual drivers to download.

http://www.56k.com/links/Modem_Manufacturers/ Links to manufacturer's website.
http://www.modemhelp.org/drivers.html  Links to manufacturer's website.

http://www.modemhelp.net/stringlist.shtml (Highly Recommended)

http://www.56k.com/inits/a2z.shtml (init strings & drivers link -> sort by manufacturer)

http://modems.rosenet.net/mfr/  

http://www.modemsite.com/56k/drivers.asp   (pay for drivers, but good info before then)
http://www.modemsite.com/56k/chipset.asp

http://www.modem-help.co.uk/chips/index.html

http://www.modem-help.co.uk/mfc/index.html

 

 

 

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