Friday, March 14, 2003


Some of you may remember that I recently bought a new computer, a Shuttle XPC, a very small and cute PC. As part of the package, I also bought a 56k modem. Now, from the start I had intended to make this a Linux-only computer, so I purposefully went out and bought the Pragmatic I56LVP-F3 controller-based modem (based on the Lucent Venus chipset), a modem which handles all signal processing in hardware on the chip. Modems that pass this work off to to the motherboard are known as software modems, or winmodems and require the user to download and install special drivers. I knew by looking online that the I56LVP-F3 was a hardware modem, so no worries. I installed it, and set up the configuration files. I spent the last *two weeks* trying to get it working; I was sure that it was a controller-based modem and that it didn't need any special driver. I tried everything, messing with IRQ settings in the BIOS, trying all possible variations on the setserial command, and finally modifying the pcitable (because it was identifying my modem incorrectly as a PCTel HS56). That last one was the crucial clue, because when I opened up the case last night I found that the modem wasn't the same model as shown on the box it came in: it is, in fact, the Pragmatic I56PSP, a winmodem, based on a PCTel chipset. Which means a trip back to Fry's this afternoon.



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