Linux Step By Steps


From & Net Llama!  

There is currently some support for these devices. Whether this will increase in the future only time will tell.

The essential problem is that these 'modems' are cut down versions of real modems. They rely on the central processor to do some / most of the work for them. This, in an effort to supply cut cost computing, and, to cut off the competition.

This means, that your CPU can be spending unreasonable amounts of time handling modem signaling when it might be better employed. On a very fast  modern CPU this may not be an issue in a desktop environment. 

The Linux community has a profound reputation for developing drivers for anything. The only bottleneck to development in general is when the 'device' is proprietary, and / or, the source code or means of driving the device is not disclosed. This is the current situation with WinModems. The protocol to drive them is under non-disclosure agreements between Microsoft and the OEMs (I *think* 3Com hold the license).

The only situation that is going to change here, is if an OEM find's it in their interest to supply product directly to the Linux marketplace (such as has happened with Lucent Technologies), OR, a hacker chooses to reverse - engineer the code. Right now, for most WinModems you are stuck with very limited options.

There are SOME WinModems working under Linux so all may not be lost. The Lucent Technologies WinModems like those supplied with some Laptops, e.g. the Toshiba 2100 and 1550 can be driven under Linux using a proprietary binary-only loadable kernel module. See the Toshiba 1550 Step By Step page.  In addition, many recent PCTel WinModems have support in the 2.2.x kernel tree.  See the PCTel SxS page for more info.  However, WinModems remain a fundamentally bad idea.

PS: The link below looks like pretty good references for all things modem for Linux, including "Lin/WinModems":


If your modem is external. It is not a WinModem.

If your modem is NON pip ISA, it is definitely NOT a WinModem.

If your modem is ISAPNP. It is probably not a WinModem.

The message here folks is to use pnpdump to check ISA cards. 

If your modem is PCI. It probably is a WinModem.


If it's an LT modem, you might try their kernel module. Otherwise, throw it out. You've been suckered.


ANY external (56k) modem.