Alcatel SpeedTouch USB Modem

Alcatel SpeedTouch USB Modem

Post by Steve Parke » Sat, 22 Feb 2003 04:10:05



I see that the Alcatel kernel-level driver for the Alcatel SpeedTouch USB
Modem is now included in the 2.5 kernel.
This seems strange, since there seem to have been (in the past, at least)
a lot of (panic) problems reported with it, and the speedtouch.sf.net (and
complimentary speedtouchconf.sf.net) are fully capable of running this
modem in userspace.
Have these problems been resolved? Is the kernel driver as stable as the
userspace one? Are there demonstrable perfomance benefits in the kernel
driver?

I've certainly been using my modem for well over a year with the userspace
driver (speedtouch.sf.net) with - as at 2.4.18 - an unpatched kernel, and
no troubles whatsoever. Is there any need for the Alcatel code in the
kernel when the n_hdlc and ppp configs already cater for this modem, once
the microcode is loaded?

What is the status of this driver WRT the Alcatel microcode? Last I heard,
the Alcatel microcode was required by both the Alcatel kernel-level and
the speedtouch.sf.net drivers.

Cheers,

Steve.

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Alcatel SpeedTouch USB Modem

Post by Duncan Sand » Sat, 22 Feb 2003 11:00:11



Quote:> I see that the Alcatel kernel-level driver for the Alcatel SpeedTouch USB
> Modem is now included in the 2.5 kernel.

Hi Steve, that is so, and I am maintaining it.

Quote:> This seems strange, since there seem to have been (in the past, at least)
> a lot of (panic) problems reported with it, and the speedtouch.sf.net (and
> complimentary speedtouchconf.sf.net) are fully capable of running this
> modem in userspace.
> Have these problems been resolved? Is the kernel driver as stable as the
> userspace one? Are there demonstrable perfomance benefits in the kernel
> driver?

These problems are being resolved.  Most of them have already been resolved.
The cvs version for 2.4, which you can find at

        http://www.linux-usb.org/SpeedTouch/

is quite stable.  In theory it can still crash (due to various micro races), but in
practice it does not.  In any case, these micro races will be fixed soon.  The
2.5 version, which is essentially identical to 2.4 cvs, doesn't work very well
in the current 2.5 kernel.  I don't know why.  I am working on it.

I have nothing against the user space version, which I used for many moons.
The kernel version is certainly much lighter weight - less CPU, less memory.
Whether this matters for you depends on your machine/needs.  My machine
is slow, and I need all the CPU time I can get!

Quote:> I've certainly been using my modem for well over a year with the userspace
> driver (speedtouch.sf.net) with - as at 2.4.18 - an unpatched kernel, and
> no troubles whatsoever. Is there any need for the Alcatel code in the
> kernel when the n_hdlc and ppp configs already cater for this modem, once
> the microcode is loaded?

The main disadvantages of the kernel mode driver were:
(1) unstable, and very unstable on SMP/preempt boxes
(2) required running the closed source speedmgmt program
(3) required compiling your own kernel

The driver is in 2.5, and is heading for inclusion in 2.4, so I expect that in the
future most distributions will ship with the speedtch module compiled.  Thus
(3) is going away.

The cvs version of the user space driver contains a patch for modem_run
which enables it to be used with the kernel driver in place of speedmgmt
(use the -k flag).  Thus (2) has already gone away.

As I mentioned, (1) is (almost) dealt with.

Quote:> What is the status of this driver WRT the Alcatel microcode? Last I heard,
> the Alcatel microcode was required by both the Alcatel kernel-level and
> the speedtouch.sf.net drivers.

That is correct, but you no longer need to upload it using speedmgmt.
There are efforts underway to reverse engineer the microcode, with
some success.  The goal of writing our own microcode (ARM processor
by the way) is still far, far away though.

All the best,

Duncan.
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Alcatel SpeedTouch USB Modem

Post by Steve Parke » Sat, 22 Feb 2003 16:30:18


Thanks for that, Duncan. Lightweight and stable certainly sounds good; I
look forward to the project being ready.

Steve



> > I see that the Alcatel kernel-level driver for the Alcatel SpeedTouch USB
> > Modem is now included in the 2.5 kernel.

> Hi Steve, that is so, and I am maintaining it.

> > This seems strange, since there seem to have been (in the past, at least)
> > a lot of (panic) problems reported with it, and the speedtouch.sf.net (and
> > complimentary speedtouchconf.sf.net) are fully capable of running this
> > modem in userspace.
> > Have these problems been resolved? Is the kernel driver as stable as the
> > userspace one? Are there demonstrable perfomance benefits in the kernel
> > driver?

> These problems are being resolved.  Most of them have already been resolved.
> The cvs version for 2.4, which you can find at

>    http://www.linux-usb.org/SpeedTouch/

> is quite stable.  In theory it can still crash (due to various micro races), but in
> practice it does not.  In any case, these micro races will be fixed soon.  The
> 2.5 version, which is essentially identical to 2.4 cvs, doesn't work very well
> in the current 2.5 kernel.  I don't know why.  I am working on it.

> I have nothing against the user space version, which I used for many moons.
> The kernel version is certainly much lighter weight - less CPU, less memory.
> Whether this matters for you depends on your machine/needs.  My machine
> is slow, and I need all the CPU time I can get!

> > I've certainly been using my modem for well over a year with the userspace
> > driver (speedtouch.sf.net) with - as at 2.4.18 - an unpatched kernel, and
> > no troubles whatsoever. Is there any need for the Alcatel code in the
> > kernel when the n_hdlc and ppp configs already cater for this modem, once
> > the microcode is loaded?

> The main disadvantages of the kernel mode driver were:
> (1) unstable, and very unstable on SMP/preempt boxes
> (2) required running the closed source speedmgmt program
> (3) required compiling your own kernel

> The driver is in 2.5, and is heading for inclusion in 2.4, so I expect that in the
> future most distributions will ship with the speedtch module compiled.  Thus
> (3) is going away.

> The cvs version of the user space driver contains a patch for modem_run
> which enables it to be used with the kernel driver in place of speedmgmt
> (use the -k flag).  Thus (2) has already gone away.

> As I mentioned, (1) is (almost) dealt with.

> > What is the status of this driver WRT the Alcatel microcode? Last I heard,
> > the Alcatel microcode was required by both the Alcatel kernel-level and
> > the speedtouch.sf.net drivers.

> That is correct, but you no longer need to upload it using speedmgmt.
> There are efforts underway to reverse engineer the microcode, with
> some success.  The goal of writing our own microcode (ARM processor
> by the way) is still far, far away though.

> All the best,

> Duncan.

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1. openbsd 3.1 with an alcatel speedtouch usb modem hub

I recently put openbsd 3.1 onto an old p120 to turn it into a
firewall, router, for general usage. I've a speedtouch usb dsl modem
that I want the box to use but i'm having problems when bsd boots. As
soon as the ohci hub initialises I get a repeated error stating:

"ohci_intr: ignored interrupt while polling"

This seems to print forever, line after line.

If i boot without the modem plugged in, wait until this part of the
boot has passed and then plug the modem in sure enough the modem is
recognised.

I haven't tried other usb devices but i would guess they work.

A friend suggested I should take the cvs version of openbsd, or some
part of it at least. Is this the only way to fix this?

paul

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