Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Guide to WinModem

I. Introduction to Winmodems
II. How do I know I have a WinModem?
III. Drivers
VI. Conclusion
VII. Links

I. Introduction to WinModems

A winmodem is a piece of hardware that is commonly found in notebooks and computers designed for a Windows OS. A winmodem is not a modem! It is much more CPU heavy, and relies on Windows to function. But if you are reading this, I assume you want to get your winmodem working under Linux. This can be done, and there are lots of different ways to do it. In this less-than-complete HOW-TO, I'll outline how I got my Lucent WinModem on my Dell Inspiron 7500 working under Red Hat. Lucent is the most common chipset, so I hope this will be useful to many of you. Of course, these steps can be followed by anyone with any winmodem or distribution (but not with guaranteed results).

II. How do I know that I have a WinModem?

I was still running Windows 98SE when I started on my quest to "cleanse" my notebook of Microsoft, and I simply went to the Control Panel and checked my modem name there. However, I understand this may not be possible for everyone. You can use the Linux command 'dmesg' and look for a line that may resemble your modem. If you do not see one there, then it is probable that you are the owner of a WinModem. Now you should become familiar with the term LinModem, because a WinModem under Linux is what we are working towards in this HOW-TO.

III. Drivers

The first step in getting a functional LinModem is getting a driver. If you are using a distribution that supports RPMs or DEBs then you can take a shortcut. However, under RH9 the RPM drivers never did work for me, so that may be a good start, but there is always a more sound backup: source drivers. Just some notes before I move onto them, when choosing a driver take note of the kernel version and chipset associated with the driver, and make sure they match your system.

Determining chipset: (look for scanModem tool)

Here is a great list of LinModem drivers:

So I headed to the above referenced link, and chose the latest Source driver ( ltmodem-8.26a9.tar.gz at the time of writing this). After downloading it on my Windows machine and transferring it via Memory Key to my Linux notebook (Red Hat 9) I pointed my IE browser to . This is a wonderful page and helped me a great deal. I would recommend following the given instructions, but here I will rundown them in "Reader's Digest" form:

(please read the README, and also make sure you have your kernel source on the harddrive)

cd /home/peace
tar -zxvf ltmodem-8.26a9.tar.gz
insmod lt_modem
insmod lt_serial

Now hopefully that went OK without trouble. If anything did go wrong, check the site and make sure you read everything carefully and followed the directions exactly. If you got an error about kernel headers, than you need to make sure you have the kernel source. This is done in Red Hat by making sure the "Kernel Development" box is checked off under Preferred Applications.


PPP is point-to-point protocol, and it is how you connect to the internet using a dial-up connection. In Red Hat, it is easy to setup; you go to System Settings then Internet Configuration Wizard.

PLEASE NOTE: Your LinModem is /dev/ttyLT0 (that is a zero)!

If you do not have Red Hat, I would recommend testing your new LinModem with minicom. Type 'minicom -s' at the terminal and set your Serial device to /dev/ttyLT0. Then, connect to your ISP and you should hear a nice little success tune when it gets through. After, use this PPP-HOWTO to
get fully connected and setup:

If you cannot for some reason get your LinModem to connect using minicom, please make sure you have the device set to /dev/ttyLT0. This is the most common mistake made by far.

VI. Conclusion

This guide is a exact recreation of how I managed to get my WinModem working under Linux. Hopefully it will help you in some way or another. If it hasn't, than please post a concern/question to the LQ forum associated with this guide, and the community will do it's best to assist you. Also, there is a much more in depth LinModem HOW-TO in the links section. This is too long to read in one sitting, but it is very useful.

VII. Links


PPP: (note chapter 7)

Related LQ Threads:


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