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What is modem "firmware"? How do I tell what version I have?

Firmware is programming that is inserted into erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM), thus becoming a permanent part of a computing device. Firmware is created and tested like software (using microcode simulation). When ready, it can be distributed like other software and, using a special user interface, installed in the programmable read-only memory by the user. Firmware for modems contains the code for the protocols that a modem supports, and the way the modem will respond to AT commands (init strings). As the V.90 protocol continues to undergo revisions (to better deal with line conditions and improve connections), modem manufacturers will release updated firmware. Usually revisions are intended to improve the way modems communicate with other modems with slightly different V.90 revisions, so it is always key that you are using the most up-to-date firmware.

It is possible to tell the revision of the modem firmware by querying the modem directly. This is done by issuing the ATI (AT-information) commands, ATI1 through ATI11. Generally speaking, ATI3 will give you the firmware revision and/or date. For more details, see the 56K pages on this site.


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