The purpose of this page is to identify consumer-grade modems systematically and to note compatibility with Linux as reported by you, the users.
Special thanks to the following translators:
IntroductionSo-called Winmodems, host-based, HCF-, HSP-, HSF-, controllerless, host-controlled, and soft modems require vendor-supplied software to do the work of proper hardware modems. The sale of these devices for x86-based PCs is becoming increasingly popular among retailers and OEMs because of their lower cost.
Since 1998, my opinion on these devices has been tempered by changes in:
This section used to say:
However, Winmodems are only appropriate for use with Microsoft Windows on a fast Pentium.I'm not sure this blanket statement is still true. As evidenced by the big list, there are many GNU/Linux users using their "linmodems" with varying degrees of success. On the other hand, this does not help all the *BSD users, the x86 Solaris users, and others who would also benefit from non-proprietary software drivers.
A chart summarizing the hardware differences between traditional modems, controllerless and software modems can be found here or, for a longer explanation, here or here.
The developers at linmodems.org have coined the term Linmodem to describe a winmodem that can be used with Linux with a commercial or open-source driver.
It has been pointed out to me that the name "Winmodem" is/was a registered trademark of U.S. Robotics (or 3Com while they were merged). I'm sure that they are proud of this fact ;) In any case, when I refer to Winmodems, please read it as "Winmodems(tm), host-based modems, HCF-modems, HSP-modems, and all similar modem-like hardware."
Added a link to Dell's Broadcom BCM421x driver. Thanks to John Martiney for locating this driver!
Winmodem Mini-FAQ1. If Winmodems are not really modems, why do manufacturers make them?
It all comes down to cost. First, a winmodem lacks parts found in regular modems-- these parts are "emulated" by software running on your CPU. This lowers the unit cost to manufacture them. Second, most consumers using Microsoft Windows will never realize that their "56K Modem" is actually a winmodem, so the OEMs are happy.
2. Oops, I bought a Winmodem. Will it work with Linux?
3. This all sounds way over my head. Just tell me where to get the .rpm.
4. Are there any external Winmodems? Am I always safe getting an external modem?
5. How about PCI modems? Are all PCI modems winmodems?
6. Are there any Linmodem drivers for kernel 2.0.x? 2.4.x?
7. My modem is not a winmodem but I'm still having problems getting Linux to "see" it or the modem is always "busy." Why?
Linux/Modem Compatibility Knowledge BaseUsual disclaimers apply. This list is provided only for your convenience and should not be considered an endorsement blah blah blah ;-) Experienced Linux users-- I need your help to mark more modems OK
If you're looking for a particular modem, be sure to use your browser's "Find in Page" command. It may not be where you think it should be!
WM = Winmodem, only proven to work with Windows software so far
Rough GuideThese are handy tip sheets for shopping at chain stores that will fit on one piece of letter-sized paper when printed. Usual disclaimers apply.
Links to other modem information
Reference notes/esoterica for this page
Modems in general
Helpful HOWTOs and tutorials
Laptop modems and Linux
Specialized Linux software
Choosing or buying a modem
Put away that hammer: the gurus are trying to turn winmodems into "linmodems."
Manufacturers' Linux pages [The good guys]
Manufacturers Hall of Shame
Supported hardware lists for specific commercial Linux distributions -- included for completeness, but not recommended
Other Operating Systems
ISDN, cable modems, other stuff like that
Read Guestbook"Leisure and curiosity might soon make great advances in useful knowledge, were they not diverted by minute emulation and laborious trifles." --Samuel Johnson, 1751