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Installing and Configuring a Modem : Modifying the Modem’s Advanced Properties

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The Advanced tab of the modem’s property sheet has a text box named Extra Initialization Commands. Any text you enter into this box is used by Windows XP to initialize the modem. Use this text box to add AT commands or other initialization settings, as described in your modem manual. Note that these commands are sent to the modem after Windows XP has sent the modem’s default initialization string.

For example, you can get most modems to dial faster by changing the value of the S11 register, which sets the number of milliseconds between numbers dialed. The default on most modems is about 70, so try lowering this number gradually until the dialing no longer works. On my modem, I put ATS11=40 in the Extra Initialization Commands text box.



Modifying Advanced Port Settings

In the Advanced tab, clicking the Advanced Port Settings button displays the Advanced Settings dialog box, shown in Figure 1. You use this dialog box to control the FIFO buffers used by the serial port’s UART chip. (This applies only to serial ports that have a 16550-compatible UART. The type of UART you have is one of the things displayed in the modem diagnostics test I told you about earlier.)

Figure 1. The Advanced Settings dialog box enables you to customize the FIFO buffers for a 16550 UART.

Recall from our earlier discussion that the purpose of the UART is to convert the CPU’s outgoing bytes into bits for modem transmission, as well as to convert the modem’s incoming bits into bytes for the CPU. The FIFO buffers are storage areas that the UART uses to hold incoming (the receive buffers) and outgoing (the transmit buffers) bytes. When a certain number of these buffers are full, the UART generates an interrupt to let the CPU know what’s going on.

The two sliders determine when these interrupts are sent:

  • Moving the sliders to the right means that more buffers must be full before an interrupt is sent. This means fewer interrupts are generated, so performance increases.

  • Moving the sliders to the left means that fewer buffers must be full before an interrupt is sent. This gives the CPU more opportunity to deal with the buffers, so you’re less likely to have transmission problems.

Modifying Default Preferences

In the Advanced tab, clicking the Change Default Preferences button displays the modem’s Default Preferences dialog box, The Call Preference group has two options:

Disconnect a Call If Idle for More Than x MinsIf you activate this check box, Windows XP monitors the connection for activity. If there is no activity within the specified number of minutes, Windows XP disconnects the call. (Note that this check box will be disabled if your modem doesn’t support this property.)

Caution

Forgetting that your modem is connected to a remote system is easy to do. If you pay money for your connection time—either a per-minute connect fee or a long distance charge—be sure to activate the Disconnect a Call If Idle for More Than x Mins check box. For the idle time, enter a value between 1 and 42 minutes.


Cancel the Call If Not Connected Within x SecsIf you activate this check box, Windows XP gives the modem the specified number of seconds to connect to the remote system. If the connection doesn’t happen within that time, Windows XP cancels the call. If you’re connecting to a system that takes a while to connect (such as an international call), adjust the number of seconds accordingly (you can enter any integer value between 1 and 254).

The Data Connection Preferences group has options that enable you to configure the various modem protocols, including error correction, compression, flow control, and modulation. Besides setting the default port speed, you can also use the following lists:

Data ProtocolUse this list to select or disable the modem’s built-in error-checking protocol (such as V.42 or MNP 4). Select Standard EC to enable the modem to negotiate the error correction method with the remote mode; select Forced EC to require that the modem use V.42 (if the remote modem doesn’t support V.42, the connection is canceled); select None to disable error checking. (Disable error checking only if you are having trouble connecting to the remote modem.)
CompressionUse this list to enable or disable the modem’s built-in data compression protocol (such as V.44 or V.42bis). As explained earlier, you can use compression for text and binary files, but you should disable it for compressed file transfers.
Flow ControlUse this list to select or disable flow control. Select Hardware (RTS/CTS), Xon/Xoff (software), or None.

In the Advanced tab, use the Data Bits, Parity, and Stop Bits lists to set the default values for these connection parameters. For some modems, you can also use the Modulation list to specify whether the modem uses its default modulation protocol (the Standard option) or some other proprietary protocol.

Other -----------------
- Installing and Configuring a Modem : Modifying the Modem’s General Properties
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