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US Robotics Chipsets (Updated 10-Jan-04)

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Most US Robotics modems  use a Texas Instruments DSP (digital signal processor). The programming (firmware) that makes the DSP "a modem" is developed by US Robotics. (This is a major difference compared to other modem chipsets including Conexant, Lucent/Agere, PCTel, and Motorola where the programming is developed by the DSP vendor which does not make modems.) US Robotics makes Winmodems (controllerless with DSP), and now, quietly, has begun "making" the worst kind of modem - a software or HSP modem (model 5600, 3094, etc.). The 5600 may sell for less than $30 at stores like Sam's Club, but it's a modem to avoid. In fact, I no longer recommend purchasing any new USR modem - in my opinion, the company isn't designing, making and supporting quality products like it used to. 

The USR HSP modems aren't what I'd call a USR modem at all - they are based upon the Rockwell/Conexant Soft56 HSF design, come with old drivers, and require Conexant - not USR - developed drivers. See Pictures of the USR 3094 and 3095 and Conexant Soft56.

UPDATE 14-Apr-02: Firmware/drivers for all older modems are at the USR FTP site - located at (In the case of hardware-controller modems, the file will be the 'Internet Upgrade Wizard' and doesn't actually contain the modem firmware: an Internet connection is required which connects to USR to check for updated firmware. See this USR page announcing that "Product Upgrades" are no longer available with the Modem Upgrade Wizard. "Product Updates" are available via FTP. Notes on accessing: An FTP application can be used; many browsers, including Internet Explorer also support FTP. Files will be displayed. Check the model number of your modem (it can be displayed by issuing ATi7 in Hyperterminal) - and look for the corresponding model-ud.exe file on the FTP site.

Except for Winmodem and Softmodem models, any firmware changes or upgrades are accomplished by flashing the modem. Winmodem models "Firmware" is part of the driver. See this USR page for Winmodem Drivers

US Robotics makes and sells modems at retail directly and through distribution. USR also has various agreements with OEMs which resell "USR" modems to end-users. In most cases, USR will provide little or not support to OEM models. (Global Village makes a modem using firmware licensed from USR; support must come from Global Village.)

US Robotics FTP server contains documentation, drivers and flash (Internet Upgrade Wizard) files for many modems, including OEM models.

USR controls the distribution of firmware by requiring the use of its proprietary software that obtains an upgrade, flashes the modem, and erases the file. (Except: Courier modems.) USR modems return the product code when given ATi7 from Hyperterminal:

at i7
  Configuration Profile...

  Product type US/Canada External
  Product ID: 00178602

In the case above, USR may identify the code as 1786-02 on its website. To get information on your modem, you'll need to identify its product code.

FLASH MODEMS - 3Com / USR / Sportster
To update - or even check for updates - for supported USR modems, you need to run the proprietary 'Modem Upgrade Wizard', also referred to as 'Internet Upgrade Wizard', or 'ControlCenter'. This wizard can upgrade 56k-x2 models to V.90, as well as upgrade the version of V.90 - if a later version is available. But exercise caution: the flash is irreversible - in some cases, an 'upgrade' can result in reduced performance. Also see: Flashing a Sportster - also has link to Russian site offering 3rd-party USR flashers and firmware.

With the introduction of V.92, USR has introduced yet another modem update product - Control Center - which promises to 'automatically' keep your modem up-to-date, and includes additional software running in the background "that gives you handy tips and information about your new product it can even help solve problems before they affect your computer!" (Aveo Attune). Personally, I wouldn't use Control Center unless forced to do so. Currently, it doesn't even work with some late-model USR modems, failing to identify them as USR product.

USR does offer browser-based download of "drivers and .infs". The .inf files are used by Windows when you install a modem; internal PCI modems, PC-Card & USB modems may also include Windows drivers to enumerate the device and create a COM port.

FLASH MODEMS - Courier v.Everything
These modems can be updated via wizard or Control Center, or preferably, using a DOS-based SDL file. See - Flashing a Courier.

USR product codes: 5699B (V.92), 3CP5699A, 005699-00, 001750, 001783-00, 005683-00, 005683-03, 005690-00, 005698-00, and 2884

The driver contains the firmware, and USR provides web-based download. You can easily revert to an older version driver if you archive your downloads, as well as keep a copy of the driver originally supplied with the modem.


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