Winmodems: Winmodems are inexpensive modems that perform some signal processing tasks normally performed in hardware in software instead. This reduces the cost of the PC slightly while reducing their capability to do other tasks while data is being transmitted and received over the phone. Winmodems are frequently found in low end, consumer oriented PCs. In general winmodems do work even at the "56K" speeds supported by conventional high speed mass market modems. They present a few problems:

1. They will only work with Windows, and only with windows versions that support them. In principle, MSDOS, Unix, Linux, etc drivers could be written, but they are -- at best -- very uncommon. Any modem that will not run with MSDOS is very likely a Winmodem.

2. They reportedly can only be installed if they are automatically detected by Windows 9x. Attempts to install them manually using the normal procedures reportedly do not work.

3. They will not install if a previous registry entry for the device exists.

4. It may be necessary to run WINMODEM.EXE or something similar in order to be visible to the system.

5. The correct drivers must be available.

6. They do not use conventional COM port addresses and IRQs, and thus could not be accessed by DOS software even if the software emulation of hardware functions were hidden somehow.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.