Init Strings| Drivers | Support Sites| HighSpeed | Product Reviews | Command Sets|

Init Strings

Manufacturer Support Sites

Driver Sites

Modem Resource Sites

Modem Command Sets

Where to put inits?

High Speed Alternatives

Remote Access Server Support

Monthly Webstats

Product Reviews

V.92 Commands

Windows Error Codes

Cisco VPN Error Codes

Android Errors

    Review of the MainPine Rockforce Duo Modem

    This month we reviewed MainPine's Rockforce Duo 2 Port Modem Card. This is a PCI card with 2 Rockwell/Conexant chipsets on it. That is right, no cheap PCTel based software chipsets here. Here you get 2 good quality modems.

    You keep hearing about all the people moving to highspeed DSL/Cable but remember that there are a lot of areas that are either to far from CO (Central office) to be serviceable for DSL, or if they are a business, they probably don't have a highspeed Cable Internet connection. For these individuals who can't get either Cable or DSL, your alternatives are to either get 128k ISDN (expensive option) or put a 56k modem in each of your employee machines and get each employee their own dedicated analog phone line for internet access. The other alternative is that you could get a 2 port analog modem (or 4 port analog modem) in your proxy/firewall and make use of that 112k (or 224k) analog connection for internet access for your users on your LAN. For most small to medium company LAN's, a 112k or 224k bonded analog internet connection is enough as long as the users don't engage in bandwidth intensive activities such as downloading of movies, running file sharing programs or emailing of massive visio/autocad drawings. Since chances are this 2 port (or 4 port) modem card will go in the company firewall/proxy server, it makes it very easy for a good Network Admin to make sure employees aren't wasting bandwidth.

    With some modems you get a flashy box saying how fast the modem inside is.. but when you open the box, you are usually greeted with a PCI card, an installation CD and a few pieces of paper stapled together to form a manual. With Mainpine, you don't get all that flashy of a box, and the manual isn't all that flashy, but it is well put together, nicely detailed and very easy to follow. Nice job on the manual. I wish some of the smaller modem companies would follow suit and create good manuals. A well thought out and easy to follow manual can dramatically decrease the silly tech support calls/emails. Mainpine goes one step further, and all the manuals are on their support site as well, so in case you can't find your manual (which happens to us all after we format the machine and try to reinstall everything, the manual is usually buried in a drawer somewhere, never to be found), you can just download the manual off the website. Mainpine's support site is also pretty good, although I didn't see any good FAQ's, but they do have all their drivers on their website and the user manuals. From the looks of it, they are planning on having the command sets posted on their support site as well. As to drivers, no problem with win95/98, ME, and windows 2000.. But unfortunately the windows XP drivers aren't ready yet, and the windows 2000 ones don't work either. I'm assuming the problem is with Windows XP and the Rockwell/Conexant Chipsets not getting along. Linux, MAC OS and other Unix drivers are also available, but for the time being, you have to email Mainpine support for them. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to try the Rockforce in a Linux box even though I have the Linux drivers for it (Linux box in the lab melted down, don't ask). One note about installation, even though this is one PCI card with 2 modems on the card, when you install the card, you will get 2 modems on 2 different com ports in device manager in the control panel (just not to confuse some people who think there should only be one entry in device manager since its a single card).

    As to performance, this part is 50% based on the modem, and the other 50% is based on the ISP you are dealing with. Generally with this modem, you would want to bond the two analog lines together via multilink PPP (much like an ISDN connection) and this usually requires your ISP to set you up with a dial in account that does multilink PPP. Most ISP's that sell ISDN internet services have no problem with this. If you are an average user who bought a dual analog modem... Well talk to your ISP to see if will let you bond multiple analog lines... (without charging you a lot more). Back to performance, this modem performs nicely, very nice in fact. With a single port in use and connecting to Cisco AS5800's, Ascend Max's and 3Com Total Control HyperArc's, no problems with connections were reported and speeds were as good as any 56k V.90 modem around. With both analog modems in operation in multilink PPP mode, much the same result, no connection problems and speeds are good for analog connections.

    Mark Breakdown:

    Category: Comments:

    Performance: The Modem exhibited great performance for a bonded dual 56k modem. Better then the 3Com Dual Lan Connect Bonded 56k Modem/Router.

    Supportability: The MainPine Support Site is coming along nicely, nicely planned out although they don't have all their drivers (for the non mainstream OS's,.. SCO, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc..) up on the website yet. I wish they would have a better FAQ but that will come with time. Good start, check back in about 6 months and I expect to see a much improved support section of their website. 9/15
    Ease of Use/Configuration: Very easy to install, instructions are very simple, easy to read and very well laid out for even novice computer users to follow and successfully install the modem without any problems at all.

    Compatibility: The modem works fine with any Windows95/98, NT, 2000, ME system. Mainpine is working on their XP drivers, and they should be ready soon. Linux drivers are already out (although I wasn't able to test them because our Red Hat box melted down and wasn't up and running for the tests). As you can see Mainpine's modems will work in SCO, and Solaris machines as well so this modem will work with pretty much any machine.

    Features: Forget the fancy wrapping, and the bright ribbons. A high quality bonded 56k Modem is hard to come by. Reliability, speed, ease of use are this modems features.

    Personal: Great simple to use Modem, does a great job, what more can you ask for?

    Overall: If you can't get highspeed Cable, DSL or ISDN Internet service.. this bonded 112k (or its bonded 256k cousins) could be the right solution for your small office. 77/100