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Re: [SOLVED!] Communicating with USB Modem

On 2010-10-13 22:28:10 -0400, Hal Vaughan wrote:
> Comments and some info at the bottom, so it makes sense when you read it.  (Hey, there's NO way I'm going to top post on this list!)
> Now I have a few notes on this, since there's been a few private
> conversations with people who are in or have seen this thread.
> 1) I'm basically making a "black box" for the people I'm working
> with.  I do NOT want them messing with the computer I give them.
> Many times, in embedded systems, there is no PCI slot.  Sometimes
> there is, but I can't count on that.  (I haven't picked my hardware
> config yet.)  So I really need an external modem since the only
> connection I can count on is a USB connector.  (Even with embedded,
> most systems have 2 or more USB connectors, and some people may need
> to hook up a printer there.)

I see that here in Point 1 you rule out a PCI card-based solution
while also admitting that the hardware has not yet been specified. It
seems feasible that if you found a really great and cheap PCI modem,
you could spec the hardware around that.

I mention this because it seems to me that an external USB modem is
not very "black box". There would be your discrete little appliance
with a very conspicuous dongle coming off it. A PCI internal modem
that fits inside the appliance would be much more black-box-like.

The problem with PCI card modems is that they are not so likely to
support GNU/Linux. So they aren't a clear winner. But they would be
better for a black box.

> 2) I can't count on having an RS232 interface, so that rules out a
> lot of good modems.

Another problem with these hardware modems is that they are large
and require their own power supply, so they are not at all
resembling a black box.

> 3) Yes, I know about US Robotics, I have known about them since my
> Apple ][e days.  (Yes, I'm that ancient!)  However, their modem is
> almost twice as much as this one and if things go well, I could need
> 20 or more of these systems, and 20 * $20 = $400.  That pays for 40
> group Argentine tango lessons or almost pays for a 10 pack of
> private ballroom lessons.  I'd rather be dancing with women than
> spending extra on modems when I don't have to.  I know that's just
> crazy and silly, but that's the way I am.

Don't pay more than you have to, as long as everything works
to your standard.

> 4) I spent the better part of an afternoon and evening on trying to
> get the Encore modem to work and couldn't, so I ordered the Rosewill
> one.  Yes, I'd love to have pursued it, but considering that, at
> this point, I'm only working with one modem and not mass-ordering
> them, it makes no sense to spend hours on making a modem work when
> $30 will get me one that should work.  Again, I know it's silly, but
> I'd rather be dancing with women than working at my computer.  At
> some point, if an idea hits me, I may go back to working on the
> Encore modem, but for now I don't see the point of investing more
> time in it.

I agree that for your purposes it does not make sense to try to make
the Encore modem work, since you are trying to set up something worth
replicating. Why spend many hours battling a modem if you don't have
> Thanks to all that helped me with this.  I would love it if I didn't
> need to add another package, especially one not in repositories, but
> this works and it doesn't take much to work, and including this
> package as part of my setup won't be too hard at all.  I don't know
> what kind of reputation Rosewill has, but I've had good luck with
> them, so I'll be sticking with their modem for now and when I get to
> doing the mass-ordering as well.
> If people still have more suggestions, I'm still open, but I'm not
> going to spend hours Googling or researching or compiling to get the
> Encore working.
> Again, thanks for the help!
> Hal

Thank you for posting the update on this issue. It is interesting to
know the outcome of all the work you are doing.

I think you Rosewill solution is fine, though I would want to make
sure it performs well over time before deploying two dozen of them.

I only responded because I have this nagging feeling that, as
long as you're going to all this trouble, a PCI card-based solution
would be a lot more black-box-like.

On the other hand, I get the feeling that you do not want the R&D
phase to go on for a long time, because it is cutting in to your other
interests.  In which case you might not want to investigate every
possible approach.


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