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(?) State of the Art in softmodems

winmodem(tm), HSP, ACP, DSP, whatever. Just call my ISP already

From Marcelo Henrique Gonalves

Answered By Heather Stern

Hi I have a PCTel HSP Micromodem 56! Yes! Onboard :]

This modem is compatible with Conectiva Linux, in the site of conectiva says "no" and yours too! :]

But can i configure my modem anyway! If a download a rpm or other file?!?!


(!) [Heather] HSP means "Host Signal Processing" and that means the host, your computer, has to do all the work. It's a software driven modem.
There used to be only two of these kind of modems with any hope for them whatsoever, in both cases very tricky because vendors had created binary drivers and orphaned them. The only way you can get more unsupported than that is to not have drivers at all.
(Can someome out there please spin up a new buzzword for "software released on the basis that you get no tech support" so we can go back to using "unsupported" for meaning "doesn't work" ?)
Normally for software-modems or controllerless modems (what's the difference? which chip out of three is missing. sigh) we of the Answer Gang simply point querents at the Linmodems site (http://www.linmodems.org) and shake our shaggy heads. It's a lot of work to go through just to use a modem that borrows so much CPU effort and buckles just when the dataflow gets good anyway.
However, I've been watching and it looks like the number of types that can work (whether "supported" or not) has grown to four.
I'll start with yours first because that's what you need. PCTel was one of the early ones to let a driver sneak out, maintained by PCCHIPS. Corel made a .deb of their driver for 2.2.16, and some unknown hero named Sean turned that into a .tgz and has also got available an extra site for Thomas Wright's effort toward the same chipset... a driver for 2.4 :)
Sean's site:
Download point for Thomas' 2.4 PCTel driver:
Hopefully that does it for you!
Now as for good news for everyone else :)
Anyone using Lucent controllerless modems. will also want to take a look at Sean's site, because he keeps a decent listing of useful scripts and kernel parts that you'll find handy.
For those who prefer code built completely from scratch, Richard's LTmodem diagnostic tool moved up to version 0.9.9 ... it can now answer the phone, and handle voice grade work, so you can use it for mgetty setup (where you want to be able to dial straight home) but I think it still isn't good for ppp. Anyone's welccome to let us and the linmodem crowd know if you get ppp working with it:
Richard's LTModem Page
IBM has a project they're calling "Mauve":
...which is a driver for the ACP modem found in the IBM Thinkpad 600E. They say they are working on some licensing issues, but plan to release the source for it as soon as they can. Meanwhile, they have updated it at least once, so we know they're fixing bugs.
And lastly, Mikhail Moreyra wrote a driver for the Ambient Tech chipset... that's a DSP-based modem that used to be from Cirrus Logic, just in case one of you gentle readers has an older box. In theory this may work for your software-driven modem if it claims to be a "sound card modem" since that's what the DSP chip really is. Linmodems only points to his tgz but don't worry, it's source code :) However, it's not exactly a speedy modem even once you use the driver, since he's only gotten 14.4, v.34 (32 Kbps) and v.8 working so far.
To the rest of you, sorry. Maybe you should go out and buy a solid external modem with its very own power supply and line-noise reduction features, or a Cardbus modem that isn't afraid to use a little real estate to offer a complete-chipset modem.

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Published in issue 63 of Linux Gazette February Extra 2001
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