I’m a bit of a tech-person, and the high pace of change in the Technology sector sees many companies become acquired, or collapse. Today, we examine some of my modem collection – those of the two Banksia modems.
Banksia Technology was a vendor of modems which was quite popular in the early days of the internet. The first modem we’ll see is the MyModem 14.4kbit/s V.32 modem.
This particular grey box, with clear stripe on the front was an icon of the time. You’d see these modems in schools, libraries and homes because they were reliable and affordable. From the side and from the bottom, you can see this is a basic data/fax modem, with no voice capabilities.
When we open up the modem, we can see the secret to its reliability – a Rockwell chipset. In the early days of modems, there were many alternative chipsets, however, the Rockwell chipset became the de-facto chipset for most consumer modems because of it’s simplicity, low cost, reliability and compatibility. This was great news, as it utilized a relatively standardized AT command set which was very compatible with the original Hayes command set. Later on, when 33.6k and 56k modems came around, it was hard to buy a modem that didn’t have a Rockwell chipset in it – or a Conexant branded one (as Conexant acquired Rockwell). Unfortunately, Rockwell chipsets are not the power-choice of chipset though – other chipsets featured special extra-features which allow for better line diagnostics which could be useful. There’s a socketed flash chip for firmware upgrades, and it appears the PCB has provision for voice features if installed.
Another Banksia modem which I happened to come into possession is the WaveSP 33.6k V34bis modem. This modem was Banksia’s attempt to jazz up the modem and make it look funkier, and was quite distinctive.
From the back, you can see the use of DB-9 connector, and not pictured on the side is the voice capabilities. The bottom label gives all the details as usual, but the strange shape is very space-saving!
Internally, it’s clear that it is a voice modem by the fact there is a front panel microphone.
And from behind, we can see again, a Rockwell chipset. Boring and regular …
Anyhow, the Banksia brand disappeared, it was bought out by Netcomm if memory serves me right. Luckily since these were hardware serial modems, as long as one knows how to use AT commands, you don’t need any drivers or anything special to use them. In the meantime, if you need some dose of dialup sounds – visit my old legacy site.