Getting modem information: what does "?" mean?

How did we get here?

Since you followed this link, you probably own or are considering acquiring a modem that has incomplete information on the "big list." This is not surprising, because in the 1990s, about 10 new modem designs were introduced every two weeks.

If there is a "DIP" icon with a red, yellow, or green background in the same row, you may click the icon and find out more about the chipset your modem is built around. That is usually an excellent indication of whether your modem supports Linux. If your modem doesn't seem to match the description listed, then I have made a mistake and would like to know about it.

The good news

Although there are many, many modem manufacturers, there are just a handful of modem chipset makers.

If the "big list" only has sketchy information about your modem, I need your help. Please take a look at the modem card itself. Once I know what the major chips are, I can usually classify it. Please also note the FCC and/or other registation numbers that are silk-screened on the modem card. This helps make a positive identification possible for other users.

How to get help

I get a lot of e-mail. Anything you can do to minimize sending questions and answers back and forth will help me immensely. So document everything you can find out in the first e-mail, please.

Please also keep in mind that I can help identify a modem and find a driver, but I can't help you use it. Try for that.

I use Slackware and don't keep up with the various versions of Redhat, Mandrake, etc. Your distribution doesn't matter nearly as much as your kernel version. Use 'uname -a' to find out.

Why YOU are so important to this process

In the big list, you have seen the names of hundreds of people who made an effort to make GNU/Linux just a little bit easier for you to use. There are some notable exceptions (on my start page), but most modem manufacturers will not support anything but Windows. Knowledge is power. I am convinced that the "full hardware modem" would have ceased to exist in 1999 or 2000 without the buying power of x86 Linux and *BSD users.

Are you ready?

Please direct all enquiries about modems on the list (or not) to:
     gromitkc @
Include: The model name alone does not help, unfortunately. To be most helpful, I really need you to directly read stuff off the modem card. But do not damage your computer or modem trying to do this. If you are worried about messing up your computer or modem in the process, don't attempt it.

Most laptops have the FCC ID/registration number printed on a sticker on the bottom of the case. For most laptops, the Linux on Laptops page will probably be more helpful to you than I can be.

Rob Clark

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