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What are Modem Drivers?

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  • Written By: Victoria Blackburn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Most people have a number of different devices connected to their computers. From monitors to printers, scanners, external hard drives, and modems, all of these different types of hardware need drivers to keep them working. Device drivers are types of software that enable the different devices connected to a computer to communicate with that computer and understand instructions provided by the computer. Each device requires a particular type of driver, and modem drivers allow the central processing unit (CPU) of computers to communicate successfully with modems.

Specifically, modem drivers are required to let modems operate successfully and connect to the Internet. Generally, they will be included in compact disc form, in the package a purchased modem comes in. The kind of modem driver required will vary widely depending upon the user’s operating system, Internet service provider and type of modem.

The type of modem driver needed will also depend upon a variety of other factors, including modem brand, model, and chipset. Chipset is a technical term that refers to the unique nature of a hardware circuit in a computer. Modem drivers are generally developed by the manufacturer of the associated hardware along with assistance from programmers of the companies that built the modem. This is effective because the programmers will have an especially strong interest in ensuring optimal success of the driver, as it is for a product from their own company.

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If a modem contains a hardware controller, then the driver is only used to give instructions for Windows® applications. If the modem does not contain a hardware controller, then the modem will not be able to work without the driver. A hardware controller is a piece of software that allows the operating system to control different devices in a centralized manner. Whether or not a hardware controller is included with a modem simply depends on the manufacturer of the modem itself.

Modem drivers are easy to install on standard operating systems such as Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or a Mac. Users should regularly check for updates to the modem driver, as the operating system and manufacturer regularly release important updates and slight modifications to better the driver’s smooth operation. Keeping up-to-date with the modem driver will ensure smooth operation of the modem and easy connection to the Internet. Updates will generally be available by searching on the modem manufacturer’s website.

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