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ESS Chipset  Updated 1-Mar-03

The vast majority of modems come with either 3Com/TI, Lucent/Agere, or Rockwell/Conexant chipsets. ESS makes a controllerless host-signal-processing modem chipset.

As with any 56k modem, assuming you have a 56k-compatible line, the firmware for your modem is the single most important factor in the quality of your connection. While these modems will get 56k connects under some conditions, there are more interoperability problems with these modems - and you should check to see if new firmware (aka driver) is available for your modem.

New 5.43.067 drivers are available for the ESS2838 chipset from ESSTech. This driver fixes an echo cancellation problem that impaired modem performance.

Here are some links that may help:

ESS Communications Products
Hi-Val Modem Driver page - This company has made modems with Lucent, Rockwell, PCTel, ESS, and TI chipsets and has drivers (usually without version #) for them all.

ESS Drivers: The ftp site at ESSTech has modem drivers. The link is: 
The ESS TeleDrive chipset is V.90/x2 capable. ESS licensed x2 technology from 3Com, and developed its own x2 firmware for their chipset. See the Speed Limit and Init String pages for appropriate speed/protocol limit commands. A driver for Linux 2.2 kernel versions only is available as a zip file.

Wellmodem: Has beta XP drivers for ESS chipset from their ftp site.

ESS Modems Stop Working - "ESS has discovered a time-based coding error that may affect the dial-up function of a limited number of computers with ESS modems." It appears that the ESS driver causes the modem to stop working in systems with WDM modem drivers (WindowsMe & 2000) on and after February 21, 2001. The modem can be made to work by setting a system date earlier than 21-Feb-01; ESS has released a patch and established a toll-free number for assistance with this problem.

Archtek has Windows 2000 drivers for the ESS chipset as well as Win95/98/NT.

Most of the vendors that make modems with these chipsets also make other models using other chipsets. Some vendors don't even identify themselves on their modem!

As with any 56k modem, you may experience improvements if you Limit the Maximum Connect Speed or disable 56k. The pages on this site include the appropriate commands for most modem chipsets.

Windows 2000 & ME Support - 

All controllerless modems require new Windows 2000-specific drivers to function with this new Microsoft operating system. Microsoft has a web-based Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) that can be used to determine whether a modem is [supposed to be] compatible with Windows2000, NT4, 95 and/or 98.

Archtek's website has Windows 2000 drivers for ESS.

For the latest info on Linux support, try Sean's Linmodem Resources.
Currently, the above page has links for IntelHaM Creatix Modem, various PC-Tel drivers, and ESS ISA modems.

An ESS AT Command Guide is available from Modemsite's Download Area.

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