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Identifying Your Modem Chipset

One of the factors in the quality of advice you'll get from the Interactive Troubleshooter as well as other pages on this site is your ability to determine what chipset your modem uses. 

There are literally hundreds of modem manufacturers, vendors, retailers, OEMs, and distributors that sell "different" modems - but there are only a handful of "chipsets". Once you know the chipset, you are able to determine what commands are used to control the modem; and, how you go about upgrading the modem without needing to find your specific brand and model.

KNOWN CHIPSETS:

Broadcom:
   BCM -
Software PCI HSP modem. See BCM page.

Conexant / Rockwell:
   ACF
- Hardware controller; requires firmware flash from modem vendor. See ACF page.
   HCF - Software modem w/ DSP - see HCF pages.
   HSF -
aka Soft56; Host signal processor software modem. See Soft56 page.

ESS Teledrive:
   ES56x -
Host signal processor software modem. See this page

Agere (formerly Lucent):
   Apollo/Mars -
Software modem w/ DSP - see LT Win Modem pages.
   Venus
- Hardware controller; requires firmware flash from modem vendor. See Venus page.
   Scorpio -
Host signal processor software modem. See Scorpio page.
   Wildwire -
Software modem w/ DSP; combo Analog & DSL Modem. See Wildwire page.


Motorola:
   SM56 -
Host signal processor software modem; made in PCI and AMR (audio modem riser) versions. See this page.


PC-Tel:
   HSP -
Host signal processor software modem made in PCI, ISA and AMR versions. See this page.


Smartlink:
  AMR/CNR/ACR/MDC/MiniPCI
- HAMR5600 or SL2000 + Si3012 or Si3014
  PCI - PCI chip + HAMR5600 or SL2000 + Si3012 or Si3014
  USB - ST7554 (controller) and STLC7550 (Modem AFE)
  See Smartlink page.

STMicro / SGS-Thomson:
   Pegas -
USB host signal-processor. 2 chips: ST7554 (controller) and STLC7550 (Modem AFE). (Discontinued - see Smartlink.)


Texas Instruments (including 3Com/USR):
   TMS320x -
Hardware controller modem requires firmware from modem vendor. Used by 3Com/USR modems; USR firmware is licensed to some other modem vendors making other-brand modems with the TI chipset. In addition, some modem vendors - including Cirrus - have used the TI chipset in their own design with independent (non 3Com/USR) firmware resulting in different performance and AT command set. See USR page.

TOPIC -
  TP560i, TP560x, IP568 - Hardware controller modem from Taiwan-based IC Plus Corp. ATI3 will identify the chipset. More information.

If you have a PCI modem, a utility like PCI Tree can be used to get information about your modem.

Many modems will give you a direct or indirect clue as to the chipset with the ATi3 (or other ATi#) command. 
Direct clues: one of the above names are included in the output - as in:
   LT V.90 Data+Fax Modem Version 5.70 (Lucent LT Win Modem)

3Com/USR modems are identified with ATi3, and more thoroughly with ATi7:
    ati3
  U.S. Robotics 56K FAX EXT V5.0.0

  OK
  at i7
  Configuration Profile...

  Product type US/Canada External
  Product ID: 00178602

Indirect clues: Many times, the version # reported by the modem can help identify it: the various chipsets all use differing version number schemes to identify the firmware level. IE, Rockwell/Conexant modems have version numbers starting with 2.1.2.###.##[.##}.

There are several methods of seeing your modem's response from ATi3 (and all the ATi# commands): With the Diagnostics tab from ControlPanel->Modems (Win95/98); or by using a terminal program like Modemchk or Hyperterminal.

You may also get clues as to who made your modem - and in turn what kind it might be - by checking the FCC ID # and entering it on my Who Made My Modem page.

There is also an excellent resource on Chipset identification at Alex Kemp's modem pages.

IF YOU HAVE A HARDWARE-CONTROLLER MODEM: the modem will work with the most basic standard Windows driver as all intelligence is within the modem and only a COM port is used. (To get all modem features, the correct .inf file is required.) To upgrade this type of modem, you must get a flash file from the vendor of your modem.

IF YOU HAVE A SOFTWARE-DRIVER MODEM: Windows may detect a modem or PCI enumerator at bootup if the modem is not properly installed. The modem will not work without a compatible software driver. In many cases, you can use 'generic' or other vendor-supplied drivers. See the following pages for extensive information on popular software-driver modems:

Lucent "LT" Win Modem
Rockwell/Conexant HCF and Riptide Modem
Rockwell/Conexant Soft56 Modem
Others - PCTel HSP, Motorola SM56, ESS Teledrive

AZTECH MODEMS - The following is a list of some Aztech model #s (which may also be used by OEMs that re-sell or bundle Aztech modems) and their chipsets:

mf3850           -   Conexant/Rockwell ACF
mpd3858-u      -   Conexant/Rockwell HCF
mdp3880         -   Conexant/Rockwell HCF
mdp3900v-u     -   Conexant/Rockwell ?
msp5900-u       -    PCTel
at6800W-u       -    USR OEM (but &U and &N switches don't work)
mdp7800v-u     -    Lucent [Lt Win Modem]

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