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 Post subject: What's the difference between a soft and full hardware modem
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:54 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:41 pm
Posts: 66
What's the difference between a soft or winmodem and a full hardware PCI modem and how do you tell the difference? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: What's the difference between a soft and full hardware m
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
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I last covered modems in URPCs 18th edition. I'll quote some information from p. 1140:

    Modems Without a UART (WinModems):

    Modems without a UART chip, sometimes referred to as WinModems after the pioneering U.S. Robotics version, can save you money at purchase time but can cause problems with speed and operating-system compatibility later.

    For users wanting an inexpensive internal modem, a modem that doesn’t use a traditional UART instead of a UART-equipped internal or external modem looks like a great deal, often costing less than $40, compared to $80 or more for a UART-equipped “hardware” modem. But, there is no free lunch for modem users. What can you lose with a modem that lacks a UART?

    First, you need to realize that there are actually two types of UART-less modems: those that rely on Windows and the CPU for all operations (these modems are also called controllerless modems) and those that use a programmable digital signal processor (DSP) chip to replace the UART. Both types of modems use less power than traditional UART-based modems, making them better for use with notebook computers.

As you can see, the difference is that full hardware modems have (or use) a UART (Serial Port). An external modem that connects to a serial port is a sure thing, hardware modems that are PCI cards will incorporate both a serial port and a modem. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: What's the difference between a soft and full hardware m
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:41 pm
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Interesting. We've use these external US Robotics modems with Linux installs. They don't really seem any faster that the little winmodems in WinXP. I'll have to look through our extensive parts bins for this "US Robotics USR5610C" card. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: What's the difference between a soft and full hardware m
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Speed isn't the issue, all modems today will essentially perform at the same speed. The difference is overall universal compatibility (e.g. Linux) and perhaps reliability. If a softmodem does the job for a given application then there is little need to look for anything else today.


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