feels for you! When your modem won’t work, you can’t connect! We’ve been seeing people complaining recently about problems with a lot of modem or chipset brands: Lucent modem drivers,  Rockwell, PCTEL, and Conexant being the main suspects.

People today are tired of the Internet crawling along at a snail’s pace–they want more speed! Your actual modem hardware is part of the solution, but another part is the modem’s device drivers. These can affect the speed of the connection, and new drivers are released practically often. So, many surfers want to get rid of old drivers, and update–particularly,  if you are having connection problems, stability problems, or slower speeds than you should be getting.

Common errors:

  • The modem won’t initialize
  • Dropped connections
  • Modem doesn’t respond to commands
  • The modem gives a very long or endless “handshake” when connecting

Maybe you have a new operating system (OS), or have changed some of your hardware. Mostly, you need to install a new modem driver.

Black Motorola modem

Another item contributing to the confusion is that many vendors refer  to the .inf file as a modem driver, when in fact the .inf is a text file that contains the proper initialization strings and return codes for the modem.

Need a solution?

First of all,  remember that the idea of a 56k modem achieving speeds of 56,000 bits/second is generally a myth. You cannot truly get this speed, and should consider that any speed over 33,600 is a 56k connection.

Secondly, if you have a modem made by Lucent, PCTEL, Conexant, Rockwell,  or Intel, you really don’t! They are makers of some of the internal “guts” of the modem, the chipset, but not the modem itself. They sell their chipsets to businessmen who actually manufacture (and support!) modems. In fact, Conexant now owns  PCTEL and Rockwell, too.

Here are some of the top chipset manufacturers (not modem manufacturers),  for more advanced users:

  • Agere Systems
  • Alcatel Microelectronics
  • Ambient Technologies
  • Conexant Systems
  • ESS Technology
  • Intel
  • Lucent
  • Motorola
  • PC-TEL
  • Rockwell
  • Smart Link
  • TOPIC Semiconductor
  • Zydas Technology

Who manufactured your modem?

One way to know who built your modem is to go to your Control Panel, and click on “System.” Then click the “Device Manager” tab, and  check the list for “Modem.” If you click the plus sign (+) beside “Modems” you will  find your modem listed.

But the most precise way to find out the manufacturer of your modem is to look on it for an FCC ID#. Then go to the FCC ID help site and enter the number in the correct field. This will give you the manufacturer’s name.

Then visit the manufacturer’s site using the list.

Top Modem Manufacturers

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Filed under: Device Drivers