View Full Version : What is Firmware?

11-12-2000, 11:21 AM
I need to download some drivers for my modem could someone please explain to me what is meant by Firmware?

Ken Thomas
11-12-2000, 12:16 PM
Hope this helps: "Firmware - Software that is permanently etched onto a chip." (Exam Prep A+, pg 37) And, "a ROM (read-only memory) microchip on a circuit board inside your computer has software instructions permanently etched into it during fabrication. This software is actually a part of the hardware and never be erased. However, you have an example of hardware and software married together, and it's difficult to separate the two, either physically or logically. Some even give a new name to such hybrid components, calling them firmware." (Exam Prep A+, pg 2)

11-14-2000, 12:10 AM
Firmware is a special-purpose module of low-level (e.g., hexadecimal, machine code) software that serves two purposes. First, it acts like a BIOS, enabling the device to take stock of its capabilities and to render those capabilities functional. Second, it coordinates the activities of the hardware during normal operation and contains programming constructs used to perform those operations. For example, in a typical modem, the firmware will be a factor in establishing the modem's data rate, command set recognition, and special feature implementation.

Firmware is stored in a special type of memory chip that doesn't lose its storage capabilities when power is removed or lost. This non-volatile memory is classified as "read-only" memory (ROM) because the user, during normal operation, cannot change the information stored there. The basic type of chip is called a PROM, which is programmable by any technician who has a programming console. A basic PROM receives one version of firmware. That code is "burned in" to the PROM and cannot be changed. To update the firmware, the PROM must be physically removed from the device and replaced with a new chip.


11-14-2000, 01:00 AM
The program that runs a modern (hardware) modem is contained in a flash memory chip on the modem card. That is its firmware. The flash memory can be reprogrammed by a flash update program that you can download from the manufacturers web site along with the new firmware.