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LSI/Agere SV92P Soft Modem (Updated 3-Oct-07)
LSI (formerly Agere and beofre that, Lucent Microelectronics) makes a soft modem chipset that enables modem manufacturers to make a PCI or USB software modem. (There is also a version for Notebook computers covered on this page.) The original chip in the series was the same size and format as Agere's 1648C DSP modem chip, and allowed modem manufacturers to build modems using either chip with everything else being exactly the same. The difference is in the drivers: the SV92P relies on your PC's CPU to do digital signal processing, whereas the 1648C does the processing. (Modems with the 1648C are generically referred to as LT Win Modems.) In 2006, a new version of the modem, called SV92PP, was introduced. The SV92PP is functionally the same, but uses a new codec (CSP1040 - nicknamed "pinball"). Since then, additional versions and improvements have been made in both the hardware (chips) and software (drivers) to further increase reliability and performance and at the same time reducing cost.
The 2.1.81 drivers available from Modemsite Downloads supports most versions of the LSI/Agere/Lucent softmodem in 32-bit Windows XP and Vista, and 64-bit Windows Vista. Older versions of the drivers available at Modemsite may support older/other operating system versions. The original driver supplied with the first retail release of Windows Vista lacks modem-on-hold functionality, and has no call-progress sounds. An updated Vista driver may be available from Microsoft Windows Update that corrects the call progress sound; but, the Modem-on-Hold (MoH) applet (available from Modemsite Downloads) along with call-waiting service from your phone company and a V.92-ISP that supports MoH is required to place your Internet connection on hold while making or receiving another call.
SV92P modems support V.92 and V.44, as well as older V.90/V.42, V.34 and lower protocols.
The modem driver is a major factor in how well the modem will perform. Modemsite's Download Area offers the latest drivers and Modem-on-Hold applets for LSI/Agere/SV92P softmodems. As of 3-Oct-07, the latest generic driver is 2.1.81 for 32-bit Windows XP and Vista, and 64-bit Windows. Older version 2.1.73 supports Windows 2000, XP, and 64-bit XP only, and 2.1.47 for all earlier versions of Windows. The latest Modem-on-Hold applet is version 1.78. (The 2.1.81, 2.1.73 and 2.1.47 Vista/XP/2000 drivers from Modemsite are digitally signed.) The 2.1.47 XP driver is offered in 2 versions: 1 routes call-progress audio to the system audio and is suitable for modems that don't include an onboard speaker; the other version routes call progress audio to the on-board modem speaker.) At times, Microsoft's Windows Update may have a later driver available for Windows 2000 & XP - however, this driver may have V.92 disabled: using the driver from Windows Update will result in loss of all V.92-functionality including the ability to do Modem-on-hold. Unfortunately, this driver has been marked such that users who have Windows Automatic Updates turned on may receive this driver automatically and without notification. The drivers available from Modemsite Downloads do not have V.92 disabled. However, in some cases, without changing Automatic Updates to off, or to notify before installation, the V.92-disabled driver from Windows Update may be automatically re-installed. Users who experience loss of V.92/modem-on-hold functionality should either rollback to the prior driver, or download and install a driver from Modemsite. Then, ensure that the Modemsite driver will not be replaced by setting Automatic Updates (Start->Control Panel->System-> Automatic Updates tab: to Notify me but don't automatically download or install them. Examine each update you are notified about, and Cancel installation of any update for the Agere softmodem.
I've tried modems with the SV92P chipset in a number of machines, including an old 266mhz-PentiumII running Windows NT 4. The added load on the PC's CPU is negligible. I get reliable 50.6k connects to local ISP lines compared to 48-49.3k with USR's Courier and Sportster modems. (All phone line conditions aren't the same, and some lines are "beyond help" - not 56k-compatible.) I think the Agere Softmodem may be the best softmodem design available today - the load placed on your system in any softmodem design depends largely on how efficient the driver is. The performance (speed) of any softmodem depends largely on how good the driver is as well.
Modems using the SV92P contain the SV92P-T00 or SV92PL-T00 or SV92P2 chip and a discrete codec. The P & PL versions are functionally identical - the PL is newer (lower cost design inside the chip) and is supported with driver versions 2.1.31 and later. The Agere "Mercury" codec (1034C) uses a line transformer and electro-mechanical or solid-state relay. Agere's "Levana" (1035A) is a line-powered, transformerless DAA codec. The modem operates with the same driver with all codecs. (In my opinion, modems using the electro-mechanical design are more reliable; however, the solid-state DAA design is less expensive, and provides type-1 caller id. Modems using the electro-mechanical DAA don't support type-1 caller id unless driver version 2.1.40 or higher is used, and the modem was manufactured with components for type-1 caller id. Both designs support type-2 caller id.
Modems based on this chipset are made by a number of manufacturers and sold under various names. The drivers and MoH applet for V.92 are developed by LSI/Agere and made available to the manufacturers. Modemsite's Who Made my Modem page may help you determine your modem manufacturer and locate a driver; or, you can download the latest driver from Modemsite. Driver updates may also be available from Microsoft's Windows Update. LATEST DRIVERS MAY BE NEEDED TO GET BEST PERFORMANCE FROM THIS MODEM! To see what drivers you're using, issue the ATi3 command in Hyperterminal, or, use the Query Modem button in the Diagnostics tab of modem properties (Query Modem available in later versions of Windows only).
Protocol - +MS=(options) command.
AT +MS=? from Hyperterminal will display all valid protocol & speed limit option settings
Diagnostics - ATi11 - displays post-call diagnostic information:
Last Connection V.90
Initial Transmit Carrier Rate 24000
Initial Receive Carrier Rate 50666
Final Transmit Carrier Rate 26400
Final Receive Carrier Rate 50666
Protocol Negotiation Result LAPM
Data Compression Result V.42bis
Estimated Signal/Noise Ratio (dB) 33
Receive Signal Power Level (-dBm) 24
Transmit Signal Power Level (-dBm) 13
Round Trip Delay (msec) 16
Near Echo Level (-dBm) 20
Far Echo Level (-dBm) 75
Transmit Frame Count 0
Transmit Frame Error Count 0
Receive Frame Count 0
Receive Frame Error Count 0
Retrain by Local Modem 0
Retrain by Remote Modem 0
Rate Renegotiation by Local Modem 0
Rate Renegotiation by Remote Modem 2
Call Termination Cause 0
Robbed-Bit Signaling 0
Digital Loss (dB) 03
Remote Server ID NA
Connection Time (sec) 22.936
Protocol (V.92, V.90, V.34, etc.)
Upstream rate at first CONNECT
Downstream rate at first CONNECT
Final upstream rate
Final receive rate
Error Control protocol
Data compression protocol
# of retrains your modem started
# of retrains server modem started
# of rate changes from your modem
# of rate changes from remote modem
Disconnect coded value
Telco pad level detected
Time from handshake to CONNECT
Trouble: There were various reports from US & abroad of the modem with solid-state DAA reporting it is connected to a digital line when it really isn't - preventing the modem from going off-hook and dialing. The latest driver will almost always solve the problem. As a last resort, the detection of analog line can be disabled by editing the .inf file, then re-installing the modem. To disable, edit the .inf file (can be located from Modemlog) by removing the comment (semi-colon) from the line in [MONTBLANC_Modem.AddReg] section; save, then re-install modem:
Standby Mode: If you have Quicken software installed, default settings may prevent you from entering standby mode with the PC complaining that the modem driver is preventing the system from entering standby. You'll need to change Quicken's settings to disable background Internet connection.
XP Service Pack 2 / Windows Update: Driver version 188.8.131.52 was added to Microsoft's Windows Update site as a critical update (Oct 04). 2.1.47, and then 2.1.51 were later added to Windows Update. Before the 2.1.47 driver was added, Automatic Updates may have automatically installed the .10 driver which is an HP/Compaq-customized version, and may not be "the best" driver. Driver version 2.1.47 or 2.1.51 currently are the best/latest drivers and both versions - as well as older driver versions - are available from Modemsite Downloads. Generic OEM modems using the SV92P chipset often have the same PCI ID information as HP/Compaq SV92P modems which can cause HP/Compaq-customized drivers to be installed on other modems.
The SV92P is a good Softmodem: In October 2002, I evaluated a modem using this chipset, and was so impressed that I began selling it. In my opinion, this modem doesn't deserve the 'junk' label often associated with soft modems: in almost all cases, it installs easily, and performs as good as or better than any other 56k modem. (Caveat: modems with SV92P may be designed with an audio transformer and electro-mechanical relay (1034C codec) or with a solid-state line-powered DAA (1035A codec). My experience was that the solid-state design has a much higher chance of being DOA or failing in the field. Modemsite currently sells a modem with this chipset that includes the electro-mechanical relay.
AMR (AC'97) or HD Audio versions of the Agere softmodem are often bundled with notebook computers - and require a different driver package from the PCI modems covered here. The 2.1.81 driver for AC'97/HD Audio Agere Softmodems is available from Modemsite Downloads. Also see: LSI/Agere MDC (AC'97 / HD Audio) page.
Also see: Modem-on-Hold