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Page 1 Troubleshooting DOS Compatibility  Conexant DOS Special Report

Conexant HSF/Soft56 Dos Support
Special Report

Conexant licenses TurboViP DOS-box compatibility technology from Pacific CommWare for all of its software modems (HCF/HSF). TubroViP works in Windows 95/98 (will not work in WinNT/2k/ME).

While this support is licensed for all modems, this support is not properly implemented on a number of Conexant Soft56 modems including E-Machines and some Hewlett-Packard machines that come bundled with a Conexant-based Soft56 modem. (Also received report of retail "Freeola 56k Internal" modem with same problem.)

I have contacted Conexant, Pacific CommWare (PCW), E-Machines and HP with regard to this problem:

PCW indicates and Conexant confirms that it licenses TurboViP for the modems. PCW is aware of the problem with some Conexant modems. PCW has been unsuccessful in getting any response from Conexant with regard to the problem.

Conexant released a statement to me on 23-Aug-00 which states in part:

The HSF drivers that Conexant supplies to the OEM have the capability for DOS box support. (Note this is DOS box or a DOS window, we do not support native DOS). However the OEM decides if they want to enable DOS box support, in this case it seems as though E Machines have decided to disable DOS box support. Conexant does not manufacture modems therefore we do not decide what features the OEM's decide to support from the many different features that we offer.

A follow-up clarifies that Conexant's relationship is with an OEM that supplies E-Machines with modems, not with E-Machines. [It appears the OEM is HS Electronics in Korea.]

E-Machines public relations has not responded to my inquiries; however, an initial inquiry to E-Machine's support department produced an incorrect, non-responsive reply:

Win98 does not recognize Dos. The modem cannot be used in that mode. Thank you for choosing eMachines. At eMachines, customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us.

Hewlett-Packard released the following statement to me on September 8, 2000:

Hewlett-Packard offers a variety of modems in the Pavilion PC line of computers, many of which support DOS box commands. However, HP does not require that their modem vendors support DOS box functionality as experienced with HP Pavilion PC's that feature Conexant HSF modems.

HP has seen a strong industry trend away from DOS/modem compatibility requirements. The overwhelming majority of HP Pavilion customers exclusively use a web browser and other windows based applications to access the Internet or otherwise connect remotely.

As such, HP does not view lack of DOS box support as a significant issue for Pavilion owners and has no plans at this time to provide DOS box support across the Pavilion PC line.


The end user is in a catch 22. Conexant designs the product to support DOS-box by licensing technology from PCW. Conexant sells chips and software including the licensed technology to OEMs. These OEMs supply computer manufacturers with modems and software. The computer manufacturers bundle the modem and software with the system. At some point in this chain, the software is improperly supplied which prevents DOS-box support. [Most likely, it is with the OEM manufacturer that is isolated from the end-user by a computer manufacturer like HP.]

Contrast this with Lucent's Win Modem: DOS-box support is built-in to the driver and works in OEM as well as generic versions. At this time, there is no generic driver for Conexant HSF modems. Conexant does not plan to release generic drivers for HSF Modems.

DOS-box support for modems is an issue that affects only a small portion of customers - but, it does affect some. A local business I'm familiar with purchased both an HP Pavilion and an E-Machines system this year - both of which have Soft56 modems, and both of which will not support DOS-box operation. This business uses a government-provided DOS program that requires modem support. Solution: New modem.

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