The Haiku/BeOS Tip Server
Tips and tricks for Haiku/BeOS users

Don’t bother with WinModems

Contributed by: Scot Hacker and Malcolm Humes
This tip is valid for: Both BeOS and Haiku

Update: BeOS 5 now supports some software modems, specifically those based on the PCTel and Lucent softmodem chipsets. You should be able to get these working without difficulty. Other softmodems probably won’t work. The old contents of the tip follow for users of R4.5.2 and prior.

See also: Configuring Lucent soft modems.

See also: http://www.idir.net/ ~gromitkc/winmodem.html


Some modems shipped with some machines are known as “WinModems” because they utilize specific aspects of Microsoft Windows, and use your machine’s CPU (P133 or above) to handle much of their workload, rather than using their own on-board DSPs. In general this means poor performance on a slow Pentium running Windows, and tends to cause a lot of performance and reliability problems.

Even worse, these modems will not work with BeOS (or any other operating system besides Windows). If you have one of these, you have no choice but to replace it if you want to get online in BeOS.

If you’re shopping for a modem, take care not to buy one. They’re a classic example of the hardware industry bending over to please Microsoft.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve got a WinModem, look in the Windows Modem control panel for “HSP,” which stands for Host Signal Processing. Additionally,

if it says anything about PCI or HCF, it’s a WinModem. Check the Windows modem diagnostics panel and see the ATI3 field. Look for mention of HCF, or a version number along the lines of 2.1.2.122 or 2.1.2.135 etc. If you find these, you’ve probably got a Rockwell HCF WinModem. “Normal” Rockwell modems usually report version numbers along the lines of 2.210 and above.

WinModems come in both PCI and ISA form factors.

Note: You may also find the Winmodems are not Modems page useful.

If you’re stuck with a WinModem for a while, remember that BeOS can always mount your Windows partition, so you can download stuff in Windows and copy it over to your BeOS partition later.

Posted in Warnings


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