View Full Version : Stratitec, Zonet, and Broadxent 56k modems in Linux

08-02-2005, 08:55 AM
Obviously these are not car audio products, but I review them anyway.

This recounts my attempts to get connected under Linux. For the less informed, unless you have a full hardware modem, which are > $70 on average, you will have total hell getting online with it. Winmodems are not modems.

A couple of months ago I bought a Broadxent 3631 from Walmart. Using Linuxant drivers for a one time fee of $15, I was able to get a very solid performing modem for roughly $35 total. This modem is great for Linux with the Linuxant drivers, and installing it was a snap. :thumbsup: Connections were a very consistant 40k. I give it a 4 out of 5. No problems connecting or keeping a connection, but it was pricy to get running.

This modem died during an attempt to move my PC case. I dropped it a little too hard, the modem pulled out, and when I started it I fried or shorted it. I should have checked all the components, but I was stupid.

After that, looking for another Conexant chipset modem, I bought a Zonet ZFM5620CF from Newegg.com. It arrived DOA. Newegg never said or implied that anyone other than Zonet warranted them. Zonet has failed to respond to every request for an RMA. I was hoping to get away with a cheap modem this time around, instead I'm out $11. 0 out of 5. Avoid Zonet electronics.

I took my Broadxent back to Walmart, where I bought it. They couldn't help me either. They don't sell it anymore. So trying to find a conexant chipset modem, I stumbled across a Stratitec IC56A modem in their electronics depot. I bought it. This modem is a Lucent chipset, making it a Linmodem. Their Linux install instructions actually told me to use Yum (linux equivalent of Windows Update) to install the drivers! WTF is that nonsense? I gotta connect to the internet to get the software to connect to the internet. NICE. :mad: So I spend 2 days looking for drivers for my computer. I finally found the generic source for Lucent/Agere chipset modem drivers (lt_modem-8.31a10) and compiled them myself. It now works quite nicely and connects at an average of 44K. I give this one a 3 out of 5. It's faster and cheaper than the Broadxent. However, installing it I had NO real support whatsoever, and was two days of this nightmare of different software and running back and forth between Windows XP and Fedora Core 3.

For you Windows users, the Broadxent modem install CD took care of drivers perfectly. The Zonet caused a fatal BSOD about 60 seconds after booting. The Stratitec loaded and worked perfect without installing *any* drivers.

09-13-2005, 11:44 PM
Just to update this.

After filling out the RMA form, Zonet gave me an RMA #. It was prompty filled out the same day I requested it, however my inbox didn't recieve it until two weeks later. The number was valid for 15 days. Needless to say, I never got a new modem. Different circumstances could have gotten me a nice working Zonet modem, but never happened. I don't think bad at all of Zonet anymore, however I still won't buy Zonet products for this reason.

12-09-2005, 08:41 PM
Yet another update...

Recently the Stratitec modem died on me. Not by my own ignorance like the Broadxent, but rather it just stopped working. For the $25 I got about 3 months of good internet and one month of really bad internet. Imagine connections of 7.2k for a month.

To replace it I indulged and bought a US Robotics OEM 2976, which is a real full hardware modem. It installed and works without a hitch on any OS I use, and with an initialization string from newegg.com's product reviews section for the modem, I can connect at very consistant 44k. It seems to be a very promising modem, but you need this init string to get it working:
"AT&F1&K3S15=2S11=38S27=16S0=0" For good connection
"AT&F1M0&K3S15=2S11=38S27=16S0=0" For good connection + no dial noise