Types of Modems
There are a few different types of modems out on the market nowadays.
The three most common are hardware
modems, Controller less modems and software modems.
1. Hardware modems
All hardware based modems contain all essential parts
making it capable of handling all of the communication process
by itself. The only information would be required from the computer's
operating system is to tell the modem what number it is calling,
when to make the call and when to hang up. Hardware based modems
work with every operating system from Apple Macintosh, DOS, All
versions of Windows and UNIX. Because all the communication is
up to the modem it often handles bad/fluctuating phone line conditions
much better than software based modems.
A hardware based modem does not rely on the computer's CPU to
do the processing of the information to send over the net. A Hardware
modem requires nothing more from the computer's CPU after it is
connected. Hence, it is much better at sending and receiving packet
information and correcting errors. All external modems are hardware
modems which connect to your system's serial port through a cable.
2. Controller less Modems
A controller less modem would still contains a hardware
data pump but does all its Data Controller functions in software.
This has two main advantages. The first advantage is s that by
excluding one of the main chips from the modem it cuts the cost
for producing those modems by $20 to $30. It makes it cheaper
for you to buy. The second is that the modem can be more easily
upgraded to newer firmware by simply installing new software provided
by the manufacturer.
Thee main disadvantage is that because a major part of the modem
is based in software, it is required that your computer be specifically
running a specific operation system like Windows 95/98 type to
work properly. These modems may not work in Window NT 4 or 2000
environments and will not work in any Linux or UNIX based operating
system. Additionally, a controller less modem sometimes has difficulties
with phone lines that are not optimal or have frequent changes
in conditions causing slowdowns, disconnections or even not being
able to negotiate a connection.
3. Software Modems:
In these modems, both the Data Pump and the Data Controller
are removed from the modem and emulated in software. Now the modem
contains only the basic circuitry to connect to the telephone
network. Nearly every other function is done by the computer and
the CPU. Because the modem is now depending on software, conditions
are programmed into the software to tell the modem how to react
under various circumstances. If a condition on a phone line does
not match a condition it is programmed with the modem reacts very
poorly causing disconnects, slow connections, constant retains
and often achingly slow speeds.
If you have any of these types of problems your first action
should be to locate a firmware or driver update which may have
more programmed variables then your current version. These modems
do cause more problems but as they are inexpensive to manufacture
and incredibly cheap to sell, they still continue to be a part
of modem market.
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