modem noises

Why does my modem have to make this cacaphonous squealing noise every time I dial up? Is there any way to mute the sound?

That squealing noise is simply the two modems talking to each other. Since there is no direct electrical connection between the two modems they have to communicate by means of sound. Most (probably all) modems should have the capability to mute it. Check your owner’s manual (or check start button->settings->control panel->modem).

IIRC, they added a speaker to modems way back for a couple of reasons.

  1. So they could hear if it was connecting or not.

  2. So that if for some reason it wasn’t connecting you might be able to hear why (try calling your friends phone with your modem. On older modems if he picked up and started talking you would hear him talk and he would hear squealing).

  3. This is likely a UL. But somebody told me once that somebody thought they could maybe use modems as a form of a phone so people could talk back and forth on their computers. This seems unlikely since at the time computers were strictly expensive research or administration tools.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

You can mute the sound of your modem if you have a PC, and if your modem responds to the settings in your Windows doodahs.

Double click on My Computer, double click on Dial-Up Networking, right click on the icon that is your ISP. At the bottom of General is a button that says Configure… choose that, then set your modem speaker volume level to Off.

Some modems override those settings, and there are AT commands that will do that for you. I’ll let some more knowledgable person set you straight there.

I have no clue what Mac owners do.

“Waheeey! ‘Duck!’ Get it?”
“Errr… No…”
“Duck! Sounds almost exactly like fu-”

If your modem is a Hayes-compatible, either:
[list=1][li]Check your initialization string. (It starts with “AT”, then has several letter/number pairs after it.) Find the “L#” parameter. The “#” can run from 0 to 3; 3 is loudest, 0 is quietest.[/li]
This doesn’t cut the sound entirely. To do that, change the “M#” to M0. However, it’s a little disconcerting not to hear any noise. It’s best to hear something to know things are progressing.

If your comm program goes to a terminal mode, just type the command “ATL0<enter>” (or “ATM0<enter>”). An “OK” acknowledgement may appear. Then proceed with your normal calling.[/list=1]

Also, some laptops (for instance) have a volume control dial on the side of the machine, turn that down to zero.

The squeaking and squawking is sometimes called a “handshake”, as your computer identifies itself to the computer you’re calling, and vice versa.

As noted, the advantage of listening to it is so that you can hear if something goes wrong – frinstance, instead of that buzz-squawk, you hear a human voice say, “McGillicudy residence, Max speaking” or “You have reached Dial-Up-Sex, press 1 if you want hetero,…” Then you know you’re dialing the wrong number, and you won’t continue to bother them every retry.

Glitch “That squealing noise is simply the two modems talking to each other. Since there is no direct electrical connection between the two modems they have to communicate by means of sound.”

The telephone line to the isp modem is an electrical connection to your modem. There might be an fiber optic light transmited component in the telephone company’s equipment. You are never comunicating via sound waves from modem to modem.

The sound you here is just so you know a connection is being made.

Tonight’s the night for spell errors.At least three in the last post.

Once, when I was about 14, I was watching a movie with some friends and in the background, while other people were talking, there was the sound of two modems connecting.

Without even thinking about it I declared that that was a GVC 14.4 connecting to a USR Sportster 14.4.

The things you learn running a BBS…

True enough, tho it is a medium designed for the analog transmission of sound, particularly the human voice range, and the first modems were acoustic couplers that literally did emit sounds.

Those couplers required the phone handset be set on the box the computer used for transmission and reception

Well, yeah. Of course. The “box the computer used for transmission and reception”, as you called it, was a modem.

Ah, acoustic modems. I remember them well. Okay, I remember seeing PICTURES of them in a Radio Shack Wonder Woman comic book. But you get the idea.

Acoustic modems existed for 2 reasons:

  1. Back in the old days, phones were HARD-WIRED to the phone lines in your house. There were no wall jacks that you could plug one of those modern phone clip-in plugs into. Which was all fine and well, because the phone company owned the phones, too. So, it was both a bitch-kitty to wire a modem into your phone lines, and illegal anyway 'cause the phone company owned the wires.

  2. Even after the courts forced the phone companies to relinquish inside wiring ownership and wall jacks became the word of the day, the phone company STILL had a vice-grip over what kinds of equipment could and could not be attached to a phone line. Telephones were okay; modems were not.

So, the only thing you could do in either of those circumstances was have a modem that talked THROUGH your phone, i.e. an acoustic modem.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I know it was a modem. You can tell from the context that the original poster and Glitch weren’t refering to these old dinosaurs. That was the point of saying you had to put the handset on the box, unlike newer modems that plug into the phone jack and don’t transmit with sound.

Well, my modem, a Zoom 2819 (Rockwell K56Flex chip), is much too loud, but I gave up on finding a way to hush it.

I use Windows 95, OEM version 4.00.950 B. To get to the ‘General’ settings mentioned by GuanoLad, after the right click he mentions, you have to click ‘Properties’, and then select the ‘General’ tab. If I set the speaker volume in that window to ‘Off’, the next time I run my modem, it just sets it back to the first detent above ‘Off’.

To get to the init string, you have to change from that ‘General’ tab to the ‘Connection’ tab and then click ‘Advanced’. The string is shown under ‘Extra settings’ in that window. With my modem, the volumn is still the same overloud level whatever the digit is after the ‘L’ in the string.

OK, so I didn’t have much cash to use on a modem. Well, I could tape cotton over the speaker or stick a resistor in series with it, I suppose. But I just turn down my ears instead, while it’s connecting.


; but that doesn’t get you to the modem init string. To get to that,

And I also felt from Glitch’s post that he didn’t literally mean “sound” as in mechanical compression waves. That’s the reason I posted. The coupler thing was an aside. Saying that a modem emits sound would be like saying that an answering machine emits sound. It might not be precisely true, but it’s still a reasonable thing to say. Modems emit analog patterns that are essentially “tones”. These tones don’t need to actually be converted into real sound, but it is very much a sound-like idea.

What Undead Dude said. :slight_smile:

Yes, I didn’t mean sound literally, but rather like Undead Dude said the modems do transmits “tones” which are then reinterpretted (sp) at the other end. The sound you hear is the “phone-like” translation of those electrical pulses to sound. I.e. it uses similar hardware and software to that of your telephone to convert the electrical impulses to sound, which is why also why if you call somebody on your modem you can hear their voice on your modem. Of course, your computer doesn’t deal in sounds and tranlates those tones into computer “statements” (cut me some slack here so I can keep it simple).

Nonetheless, I appreciate Phobia keeping me honest so to speak. And I appreciate Undead Dude coming to my defense.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?