VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
[Newsletter Index]
[Previous Page] [Next Page]
[Features Index]

February 2001

Selecting a Modem for OS/2,
The IBM V.90 PCI Data/Fax Modem

By Chris Ayers©February 2001

IBM V.90 PCI Data/Fax Modem: http://www-1.ibm.com/servlet/support/manager?rt=0&rs=0&org=psg&doc=C9C9A332186C9D898525672800622642
Manual: ftp://ftp.pc.ibm.com/pub/pccbbs/communications/v90pci.pdf
Latest drivers/software for it are at: http://www-1.ibm.com/servlet/support/manager?rt=0&rs=0&org=psg&doc=41BCE11B981084878525673100574505
You can buy this modem at Indelible Blue, $90.09US: http://www.indelible-blue.com/catalog/product/info.cfm?part_num=411109
A site to verify if a modem is a winmodem or not is: http://www.o2.net/~gromitkc/winmodem.html
Selecting hardware for OS/2 can be a daunting task, but the pitfalls can be avoided with a little extra effort and questioning. The first problem is that of device drivers. While Sci Tech has virtually eliminated that for display adapters with their Display Doctor, all other hardware is open to question. The first task you have is to decide what you want to do with the hardware. Then, you must find OS/2 software that will perform that task. Looking at the different software packages will tell you the hardware that they support and/or require.

With a modem, things are a little different. You will need to find a driver for your modem. First off, if it says Win Modem, forget it. You will not be able to get it to work under OS/2. (My reports from people who have had them say they don't work that well under Windows, either. Many have replaced them with a standard modem.) Editor's note: A great resource for determining if a modem is a real modem or a win-modem see the table of modems at http://www.o2.net/~gromitkc/winmodem.html.

External modems are the most compatible. They just require connection to one of your standard com ports. "Hayes compatible" will usually work for modem type in the IBM Dial-Up configuration page for Modem if there is nothing closer there. The initialization strings can be revised, too, with what your User's Manual calls for.

Internal modems, on the other hand, require specific drivers. If the modem type you are interested in is not listed in the configuration page for your dialer, and the manual does not give specific instructions for OS/2, then it will probably not work under OS/2.

I went to a reliable OS/2 source for hardware, Indelible Blue, to find a modem. They had three there that would operate under OS/2 and fill my needs. I chose the IBM V.90 Data/Fax Modem, but, to be honest, can not really give you a reason why. It was not the least expensive nor the most. Having never seen any of the three, or read any reviews of them, it was just a matter of feeling more than anything else. Part of it was, undoubtedly, the brand name. I mean, who should know OS/2 better than IBM?

Another factor in my choice was that I wanted an internal modem. OS/2 support was listed on the information sheet for this modem. And, when it arrived, the User's Manual had a section for OS/2 in it and the supplied disk had OS/2 device drivers along with a program used to determine the unit's configuration. No other software was supplied.

Installation was a snap. Once the card was installed, I booted the system. To determine the unit's configuration, there is a program supplied on the floppy disk: PMDMCFG.EXE. This is run in a DOS session and will give you the com port number, address, and IRQ that the modem will use. Next, I copied a file from the disk to my x:\OS2\BOOT subdirectory to replace COM.SYS with the file supporting this modem. I then edited CONFIG.SYS to add the port, address, and IRQ data I had obtained earlier. This is all clearly explained in the instructions. The final step was to go to my dialer and select Hayes Compatible for modem type. After a reboot (to load the new COM.SYS driver), I was up and running.

My installation went smoothly because I planned ahead. This applies to any hardware/software combination you are looking at. Read the supplier's data sheets and manuals beforehand, if you can get them. The time you spend doing this can save you a lot of dollars later. Be sure that there is a driver available for the device you want to install, too. Just because the manufacturer supported earlier versions does not mean they support the current one. When I bought my SoundBlaster 16 ASP a number of years ago, it was Creative Labs' top of the line. Their current SoundBlaster Live! cards do not have OS/2 drivers from Creative. (There is one available from Netlabs, though.)

[Previous Page ] [ Index] [Next Page
VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org