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What is the difference between hard and soft modem?

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June 26, 2004 1:30AM

There are two basic parts to a modem: the datapump and the

controller. The datapump regulates the transforming of digital

signals into analog and analog into digital. The controller tells

the modem how to behave/connect and how to interpret initialization

strings. A hardware modem has hardware chips do both of these

functions, while a software modem has software on the computer

perform the same tasks. Software modems are sometimes called

WinModems. Basically there are two types of software modems. They

are Controllerless and HSP modems. Controllerless modems have

software do the part of the controller, but the datapump is still

hardware. HSP modems are completely software driven except for the

most basic functionality. In an HSP modem, both the controller and

the datapump are in software. Winmodems have a different set of

problems than hardware modems because they depend heavily on

resources and memory on the computer. A slow computer or one that

is always running high-end programs will not have enough resources

to give to a software modem, and this could cause disconnections or

a host of other problems. Also, just like normal Windows programs,

the software on these modems can crash, meaning that you'll have to

restart your computer to get the modem to respond again.

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