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Compatibility issues between Alcatel Speedtouch 330 USB modem (external)
and VIA Chipset USB controllers

Whilst this is not a new problem (in fact dates back to 2001!) I have put some links and info together for others who may experience the same issue. With the widespread adoption of broadband throughout the UK this problem continues to be an issue with older spec PC's.
I hope that some of this is of use to you. It certainly was news to me , a good example of searching the web and newsgroup BEFORE choosing a connection pack.....
Please e-mail me with comments or suggestions

Problem overview :
  • PROBLEM :
    • Achieving full compatibility / connectivity through the Alcatel Speedtouch 330 ADSL modem when running a board that has a VIA based USB controller.
  • SYMPTOMS :
    • Inability to connect to ADSL exchange. (even though both lights on modem are green)
    • 'One time only' connection to exchange with limited data transfer followed by lockup. Requiring system reboot
    • Poor system stability subsequent to modem software installation.
    • Frequent Operating System lockups requiring reboot
    • Total shutdown of modem power whilst trying to connect.
  • HARDWARE :
    • ASUS A7V-E motherboard (VIA KT133 Chipset) running Athlon 1GHZ processor. ( NOTE : The problem is not limited to just this board but many others . See USBMan site (below) for further details )
    • Alcatel Speedtouch 330 USB modem for ADSL
  • IDENTIFIED PROBLEMS :
    • [POWER REQUIREMENTS] The USB standard states a max current draw of 500mA. Although Alcatel report the Speedtouch 330 USB as a 500mA device , web info puts it more like >570mA. Whilst some chipset manufacturers allow some leeway in current limits , VIA have a strict 500mA MAX. Therefore the VIA chipset detects an excessive drain and shuts down power to the device.
    • [INCOMPATIBILITY] Data transfer and general incompatibility between VIA chipsets and USB modems of this type.
Suggested solutions from websites ( personal experience notes ):
  • Change BIOS settings
    ( No effect , some settings wouldnt allow boot. Conflicting settings from various websites. Basically try all combinations to see if it works for you)
  • Update modem drivers
    ( No effect except modem diagnostics reported available bandwidth correctly )
  • Install latest VIA 4 in 1 drivers
    ( No effect )
  • Remove all USB devices and force OS to rebuild USB stack
    ( No effect )
  • Assign USB controller a unique IRQ
    ( Not successfully implemented )
  • Flash BIOS to newer version
    ( My system was rock solid before my modem problems so flashing the BIOS was a last resort )
  • Add a powered USB hub
    ( Solved the problem of modem being powered down but did not solve connection problems )
  • Add a PCI to USB card that uses a tested chipset
    ( Final solution that worked for me. PCI-USB (2port) card with Opti chipset.
    Supplied by Tait components in Glasgow,UK for 12UKP.
    )
Useful websites :
Conclusion :

Save a lot of time and hassle and just buy an internal PCI USB card or PCI ADSL modem.
OR
If you have more than one PC at home then buying an external modem/router and creating a home Ethernet network is a better long term solution.Be sure to consult your ISP first though to see if they support your anticpated setup if you plan to ditch the USB modem altogether.
In summary bypassing the VIA chipset using one of the methods above should solve all your connection problems.