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Sometime ago I needed to download huge chunks of data to my home computer for
my research. Two things became obvious then. My old USR 28.8 K modem was taking
too long and while I was online no one could reach me on the phone. I needed a new
modem. Since my computer is always on and ready to receive faxes, I thought it would
be neat to have a voice modem and use the computer as an answering machine as well.
FaxWorks Lite (a.k.a. PMFax by KellerGroup) that came with Warp 4 had the basic
answering machine capability that worked with some modems. I considered upgrading
the old USR 28.8. It was not software upgradable. When I called USR for their hardware
upgrade option, they told me since my modem came with the Dell computer, I had to
talk to them. Dell said they didn't have any upgrade deals comparable to USR. In
any case the upgrade could only give me higher speed but adding voice capabilities
meant paying the full price. I also checked Zoom modems. I read some good experiences
on the OS/2 newsgroups. But no one said they could get the voice thing to work.
Checking Keller Group's web site, I saw no mention of the Lucent chipset that the
Zoom modems seemed to use.
I saw the blurb on an OS/2 newsgroup about Actiontec Call Waiting Modem, I went
straight to their web site and checked it out. I found this modem also uses the
Lucent chipset. The web site claimed that it works under OS/2 but it was not specific
that the voice features would work too. The price was too high for my wallet. So
I waited. A few weeks ago I saw on the newsgroups that Keller Group has released
v. 3.2 of PMFax Lite for free download. A visit to their website <http://www.kellergroup.com>
was not very helpful regarding new features of this upgrade. So I sent an e-mail
to their support and asked if the new version's voice features would work with the
Lucent chipset in general and Actiontec Call Waiting modem in particular. Mark Ahlstrom
from Keller Group wrote back saying indeed the new version 3.2 PMFax supports Lucent
chipset's voice features. He also mentioned that though call waiting may work with
data connections, it probably won't work with faxes since faxes need constant connections
between two machines. I was almost convinced that this is the modem I should buy.
Finally I saw it for sale for about $80 at Best Buy on a Sunday. My financier and
wife agreed to give me an early Valentines Day gift.
My computer is a Dell with Pentium 133 64MB RAM. Running
Warp 4 FP12. I use the modem to connect to the internet, send and receive faxes
and an answering machine. There is only one phone line which is mainly used for
voice calls. The same line is also used for outgoing dialup to the internet and
outgoing faxes. Additionally, I have a ComShare350 switch, which redirects incoming
faxes transparently to the modem after being being picked up by household members.
The fax software is always ready to receive faxes without any additional input from
I knew my old modem was ISA and the new one is PCI.
So I started by reading up Dell's user's guide on how to remove an ISA card and
insert a PCI one. According to the manual I needed to run ISA Configuration Utility
from a DOS floppy to release the resources. No special steps were needed for the
PCI card. I booted from the floppy and noted that the utility found the old ISA
modem. I wrote down the IRQ and I/O address in case the new modem didn't work and
I had to put the old one back again.
Following Dell's manual I ran the ISA Utility again
after booting from the floppy and selected to remove the ISA modem. After confirming
that I wanted to remove the card, it said it removed it. I turned off the machine
and pulled the plugs. The ISA card came off easily but the new PCI modem was a little
tight. Finally I managed to figure out how to push it to fit it in to one of the
free slots. I screwed the plate in its place and closed the computer and hooked
it up. Following the installation instructions for OS/2 Warp, I hit Alt-F1 as soon
as the OS/2 Boot blob showed up. Then I pressed F5 for "Full hardware detection."
It showed that it found the PCI modem and booted normally. I opened a windowed DOS
session and ran a DOS utility from the modem's installation CD-ROM. It said "Found
PCI Data/Fax modem: I/O Port FC00, IRQ 10. As instructed I wrote these down and
closed the DOS session. One drawback of the manual is that it makes no mention
of how to detect the hardware in Warp 3 or earlier versions of OS/2.
Next I had to replace the COM.SYS that came with Warp
by the one provided by Actiontec in it's CD. The directory tree on the CD was different
from the description of the floppy but it was there. I first copied the original
COM.SYS for safe keeping and then copied the file using drag and drop. It was time
to edit the config.sys. According to the manual of the modem, the device statements
for COM.SYS and VCOM.SYS should appear just after KEYBOARD.DCP statement and before
VIOTBL.DCP statement. This was not the case in my original config.sys. I changed
that and added the I/O Port address and IRQ to the COM.SYS statement following the
example in the modem manual. But my COM.SYS statement was REM'ed out! I have been
using SIO.SYS since my Warp 3 days. A little digging in the SIO manual showed that
the syntax of adding I/O Port and IRQ to the SIO.SYS is exactly the same as that
of COM.SYS. So I added those to the SIO.SYS statement so that COM2 refers to the
new PCI modem. The old modem was set to COM2 but it didn't need explicit reference
to I/O Port and IRQ as those were at default setting.
To be sure, I have read reports in the newsgroups
that the COM.SYS that came with the modem works fine. I have not tried it myself.
The original COM.SYS that came with Warp 4 FP 12, is dated later than the COM.SYS
that came with the modem. That may work too, but I have not tried that either.
I tried SIO.SYS first because I was using it before and it worked with the new
I rebooted the machine and fired up Dial Other Internet Provider ("DOIP").
It complained about errors in the INIT strings leftover from the old modem's setup
but proceeded to dial and in a few seconds connected at 52K. I was a happy man.
I found the list of modem initialization strings were not in the user's manual but
was included in a pdf file on the CD. I removed all the old init strings and redialed.
This time the modem connected without complaining.
With the access to the internet restored, it was time
to test the voice and fax features. First I needed to download the PMFax Lite v3.2.
It was a self extracting archive that was to be expanded in the FaxWorks subdirectory.
It kept all the old settings of FaxWorks Lite 3.00 and added a new executable PMFax.EXE
among other things. Running it for the first time created the program object on
the desktop and opened up the properties notebook with a dialog asking me to check
the settings. I chose the Lucent chipset in the Voice Modem tab page and removed
all the special settings I needed for the old USR modem. I kept the *70, dial prefix
to disable call waiting before sending outgoing faxes. From the main PMFax toolbar,
I clicked on an icon that looks like a audio cassette and recorded the outgoing
message for the answering machine. That was it.
Actiontec Call Waiting Modem Price: $84 as listed
on their web page. Also available at Best Buy and elsewhere. http://www.actiontec.com
PMFax Lite v.3.2 from KellerGroup Price: Free http://www.kellergroup.com
ComShare350 from Command Communications: Price: forgotten.
This product seems to be discontinued. Check the web site for a similar product.
SIO "Serial Input Output" drivers and utilities for OS/2 (4Port version
APMTST from IBM EWS Price: Free