Drivers Swimovate Port Devices


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This topic presents the software and hardware-related points you must consider when you decide to develop your own WaveRT miniport driver.

Microsoft has developed a set of hardware design guidelines for a Universal Audio Architecture (UAA) and the guidelines incorporate the features we recommend for a WaveRT audio device. The UAA guidelines are closely based on the High Definition (HD) Audio specification developed by Intel.

Windows Vista and later Windows operating systems provide an HD audio driver for UAA-compliant audio devices. So if your audio device is UAA-compliant, you do not have to develop your own WaveRT miniport driver. But for audio devices that have some proprietary, non-UAA hardware features, you must develop your own WaveRT miniport driver to support the proprietary features.

To help you to develop your own WaveRT miniport driver, we recommend that you first review the sample adapter driver, and then review the WaveRT-friendly UAA features.

The sample adapter driver

For information on the sample driver, see Sample Audio Drivers.

The WaveRT-friendly features

After you review the sample adapter driver and start to design your WaveRT miniport driver, you must verify that it supports the following software and hardware features. As a result, the miniport driver that you build then becomes compatible with the system-supplied WaveRT port driver and with the mode of operation of the Windows Vista audio engine.

  • Low hardware latency. A WaveRT miniport driver must provide a fully functioning implementation of the IMiniportWaveRTStream::GetHWLatency method. This method is necessary to support the KSPROPERTY_RTAUDIO_HWLATENCY property.

  • FIFO interrupts. A WaveRT miniport driver must automatically generate interrupts when FIFO overruns and underruns occur. This feature allows the detection of glitches in the audio stream when you run tests on the audio device and driver software. Without hardware support (in other words, FIFO interrupts), no convenient and reliable method exists for obtaining glitch information.

  • Scatter-Gather DMA and Buffer Looping. When your miniport driver supports a DMA controller that has scatter-gather capabilities, it allows data to be moved into and out of the cyclic buffer without the need for intervention from your miniport driver.

    When your miniport driver supports a DMA controller that can perform buffer loops, the DMA controller can automatically wrap around to the start of the buffer after it reaches the end of the buffer with a read or write operation. It can perform the wrap around without intervention from your miniport driver.

    Note that the WaveRT port driver supports existing hardware designs that lack the ability to perform scatter-gather transfers or automatic buffer loops.

    If an audio device lacks scatter-gather capability, the WaveRT miniport driver must first allocate cyclic buffers that consist of pages that are physically contiguous in memory. The miniport driver then uses helper functions in the WaveRT port driver to perform the data transfers and automatic buffer looping. The drawback is that as the nonpaged memory pool of a system becomes increasingly fragmented, a request to allocate a large block of contiguous physical memory is more likely to fail. A device with scatter-gather capability is not affected by memory fragmentation.

    If an audio device cannot automatically perform buffer loops when the DMA channel reaches the end of the cyclic buffer, the WaveRT miniport driver must intervene and configure the channel to begin the transfer of data at the beginning of the buffer.

  • Position Registers. For new designs, hardware implementers should include a position register for each DMA channel. A position register indicates the current buffer position as a byte offset from the beginning of the cyclic buffer. The position register reading is zero at the beginning of the buffer. When the position register reaches the end of the cyclic buffer, it automatically wraps around to the beginning of the buffer (resets to zero) and continues to increment as the buffer position advances.

    Position registers can be mapped to virtual memory so that clients can read the registers directly.

    Ideally, position registers should indicate the buffer position of the samples that are currently moving through the digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters (DACs and ADCs) of the audio device.

    However, this information might not be directly available from an audio chipset that divides the digital and analog functions into separate bus-controller and encoder/decoder (codec) chips. Typically, the position registers are located in the bus-controller chip, and each register indicates the position of the audio data that the controller is writing to or reading from the codecs.

    After obtaining a reading from this type of position register, the client can estimate the current position of the samples that are moving through the DACs or ADCs by adding or subtracting the delay through the codec. The client obtains the codec delay from the KSPROPERTY_RTAUDIO_HWLATENCY property request. For this reason, a WaveRT miniport driver must accurately report the codec delay when the port driver calls the IMiniportWaveRTStream::GetHardwareLatency method in response to this type of property request.

    Note that the WaveRT port driver supports existing hardware designs that lack position registers. For a device with this limitation, the WaveRT miniport driver must fail calls to the IMiniportWaveRTStream::GetPositionRegister method by returning the STATUS_NOT_SUPPORTED error code, which forces the port driver to fail KSPROPERTY_RTAUDIO_POSITIONREGISTER property requests. In this case, clients must obtain the current position through the KSPROPERTY_AUDIO_POSITION property, which incurs the overhead of a transition between user mode and kernel mode for each position reading.

  • Clock Register. A clock register is an optional but useful hardware feature for a WaveRT-compatible audio device. Audio application programs can use clock registers to synchronize audio streams in two or more independent audio devices that have separate and unsynchronized hardware clocks. Without clock registers, an application is unable to detect and compensate for the drift between the hardware clocks.

    The sample clock that the audio hardware uses to clock audio data through the digital-to-analog or analog-to-digital converters should be derived from the internal clock that increments the clock register. A clock register that increments at a rate that is asynchronous with respect to the sample clock is of no use for synchronization and should not be exposed.

    Similar to the position registers, the clock register can be mapped to virtual memory so that clients can read the register directly.

  • Audio Processing Objects. A well-designed WaveRT miniport driver must never touch the audio data in the cyclic buffer of an audio device. The hardware should be designed so that audio data flows directly between the client and audio hardware with no intervention by the audio driver software. However, Windows Vista supports two types of audio processing objects (APOs) that perform software processing of audio data without violating this rule:

    • Local effects (LFX) APOs

      LFX APOs perform generic audio processing functions (for example, equalization) that are not specific to a particular audio device. An LFX APO processes an audio stream from an application before the stream is added to the global mix.

    • Global effects (GFX) APOs

      GFX APOs perform hardware-specific processing of an audio stream. A GFX APO is tied to a particular audio device by the INF file that installs the device. The effect of a GFX APO is global because it affects the global mix that plays through the audio device.

    Global mixing is performed by the audio engine, which is the user-mode system component that is responsible for mixing the audio streams from all audio applications. Typically, the audio engine is the client that directly exchanges data with the WaveRT audio device through the cyclic buffer.

    When the user enables an LFX APO, the audio system inserts the APO into one of the input streams to the audio engine. When the user enables a GFX APO, the system inserts that APO into the output stream from the audio engine. For more information about LFX and GFX APOs and the audio engine, see the Exploring the Windows Vista Audio Engine topic.

    APOs are available for use only with shared-mode audio streams. For exclusive-mode streams, applications exchange data directly with WaveRT hardware devices through cyclic buffers, and no other components can touch the data in the buffers.


Common serial port names are /dev/ttyS0, /dev/ttyS1, etc. Thenaround the year 2000 came the USB bus with names like /dev/ttyUSB0 and/dev/ttyACM1 (for the ACM modem on the USB bus). Multiport serialcard used somewhat differnt names (depending on the brand) such as/dev/ttyE5.

Since DOS provided for 4 serial ports on the old ISA bus:COM1-COM4, or ttyS0-ttyS3 in Linux, most serial ports on the newer PCIbus used higher numbers such as ttyS4 or ttyS14 (prior to kernel2.6.13). But since most PCs only came with one or two serial ports,ttyS0 and possibly ttyS1 (for the second port) the PCI bus can now usettyS2 (kernel 2.6.15 on). All this permits one to have both ISAserial ports and PCI serial ports on the same PC with no nameconflicts. 0-1 (or 0-3) are reserved for the old ISA bus (or thenewer LPC bus) and 2-upward (or 4-upward or 14-upward) are used forPCI, where older schemes are shown in parentheses . It's not requiredto be this way but it often is.

If you're using udev (which puts only the device you have on yourcomputer into the /dev directory at boottime) then there's an easy wayto change the device names by editing files in /etc/udev/. Forexample, to change the name of what the kernel detects as ttyS3 towhat you want to name it: ttyS14, add a line similar to this to/etc/udev/udev.rules
BUS'pci' KERNEL'ttyS3',NAME='ttyS14'

On-board serial ports on motherboards which have both PCI and ISAslots are likely to still be ISA ports. Even for all-PCI-slotmotherboards, the serial ports are often not PCI. Instead, they areeither ISA, on an internal ISA bus or on a LPC bus which is intendedfor slow legacy I/O devices: serial/parallel ports and floppy drives.

Devices in Linux have major and minor numbers. The serial portttySx (x=0,1,2, etc.) is major number 4. You can see this (and theminor numbers too) by typing: 'ls -l ttyS*' in the /dev directory. Tofind the device names for various devices, see the 'devices' file inthe kernel documentation.

There formerly was a 'cua' name for each serial port and it behavedjust a little differently. For example, ttyS2 would correspond tocua2. It was mainly used for modems. The cua major number was 5 andminor numbers started at 64. You may still have the cua devices inyour /dev directory but they are now deprecated. For details seeModem-HOWTO, section: cua Device Obsolete.

For creating the old devices in the device directory see:

Dos/Windows use the COM name while the messages from the serial driveruse ttyS00, ttyS01, etc. Older serial drivers (2001 ?) used justtty00, tty01, etc.

The tables below shows some examples of serial device names. TheIO addresses are the default addresses for the old ISA bus (not forthe newer PCI and USB buses).

For more info see the usb subdirectory in the kernel documentationdirectory for files: usb-serial, acm, etc.

On some installations, two extra devices will be created,/dev/modem for your modem and /dev/mouse for amouse. Both of these are symbolic links to the appropriatedevice in /dev.

Historical note: Formerly (in the 1990s) the use of/dev/modem (as a link to the modem's serial port) wasdiscouraged since lock files might not realize that it was really say/dev/ttyS2. The newer lock file system doesn't fall intothis trap so it's now OK to use such links.

Inspect the connectors

Inspecting the connectors may give some clues but is often notdefinitive. The serial connectors on the back side of a PC areusually DB connectors with male pins. 9-pin is the most common butsome are 25-pin (especially older PCs like 486s). There may be one9-pin (perhaps ttyS0 ??) and one 25-pin (perhaps ttyS1 ??). For two9-pin ones the top one might be ttyS0.

If you only have one serial port connector on the back of your PC,this may be easy. If you also have an internal modem, a program likewvdial may be able to tell you what port it's on (unless it's a PnPthat hasn't been enabled yet). A report from setserial (atboot-time or run by you from the command line) should help youidentify the non-modem ports.

If you have two serial ports it may be more difficult. You could haveonly one serial connector but actually have 2 ports, one of whichisn't used (but it's still there electronically). First check manuals(if any) for your computer. Look at the connectors for meaningfullabels. You might even want to take off the PC's cover and see ifthere are any meaningful labels on the card where the internal ribbonserial cables plug in. Labels (if any) are likely to say something like'serial 1', 'serial 2' or A, B. Which com port it actually is willdepend on jumper or PnP settings (sometimes shown in a BIOS setupmenu). But 1 or A are more likely to be ttyS0 with 2 or B ttyS1.

Send bytes to the port

Drivers Swimovate Port Devices Replicator


Labels are not apt to be definitive so here's another method. Ifthe serial ports have been configured correctly per setserial, thenyou may send some bytes out a port and try to detect which connector(if any) they are coming out of. One way to send such a signal is tocopy a long text file to the port using a command like: cpmy_file_name /dev/ttyS1. A voltmeter connected to the DTR pin (seeSerial-HOWTO for Pinout) will display a positive voltage as soon asyou give the copy command.

The transmit pin should go from several volts negative to a voltagefluctuating around zero after you start sending the bytes. If it doesn't(but the DTR went positive) then you've got the right port but it'sblocked from sending. This may be due to a wrong IRQ, -clocal beingset, etc. The command 'stty -F /dev/ttyS1 -a' should showclocal (and not -clocal). If not, change it to clocal.

Another test is to jumper the transmit and receive pins (pins 2 and 3of either the 25-pin or 9-pin connector) of a test serial port. Thensend something to each port (from the PCs keyboard) and see if it getssent back. If it does it's likely the port with the jumper on it.Then remove the jumper and verify that nothing gets sent back. Notethat if 'echo' is set (per stty) then a jumper creates an infiniteloop. Bytes that pass thru the jumper go into the port and come rightback out of the other pin back to the jumper. Then they go back inand out again and again. Whatever you send to the port repeats itselfforever (until you interrupt it by removing the jumper, etc.). Thismay be a good way to test it as the repeating test messages halt whenthe jumper is removed.

As a jumper you could use a mini (or micro) jumper cable (sold in someelectronic parts stores) with mini alligator clips. A small scrap ofpaper may be used to prevent the mini clips from making electricalcontact where it shouldn't. Metal paper clips can sometimes be bentto use as jumpers. Whatever you use as a jumper take care not to bendor excessively scratch the pins. To receive something from a port,you can go to a virtual terminal (for example Alt-F2 and login) andtype something like 'cp /dev/ttyS2 /dev/tty'. Then at another virtualterminal you may send something to ttyS2 (or whatever) by 'echotest_message > /dev/ttyS2'. Then go back to the receive virtualterminal and look for the test_message. See Serial Electrical Test Equipment for more info.

Connect a device to the connector

Another way to try to identify a serial port is to connect somephysical serial device to it and see if it works. But a problem hereis that it might not work because it's not configured right. A serialmouse might get detected at boot-time if connected.

Drivers Swimovate Port Devices Terminal

You may put a device, such as a serial mouse (use 1200 baud), on a portand then use minicom or picocom to communicate with that port. Thenby clicking on the mouse, or otherwise sending characters with thedevice, see if they get displayed. It not you may have told picocomthe wrong port (such as ttyS0 instead of ttyS1) so try again.

Missing connectors

If the software shows that you have more serial ports than youhave connectors for (including an internal modem which counts as aserial port) then you may have a serial port that has no connector.Some motherboards come with a serial port with no cable or externalserial DB connector. Someone may build a PC from this and decide notto use this serial port. There may be a 'serial' connector and labelon the motherboard but no ribbon cable connects to its pins. To usethis port you must get a ribbon cable and connector. I've seendifferent wiring arrangements for such ribbon cables so beware.

If you don't use devfs (which automatically creates such devices) anddon't have a device 'file' that you need, you will have to create it.Use the mknod command or with the MAKEDEV shell script.Example, suppose you needed to create ttyS0:

The MAKEDEV script is easier to use.See the man page for it. For example, if you needed to make thedevice for SwimovatettyS0 you would just type:

Drivers Swimovate Port Devices Gigabit

If the above command doesn't work (and you are the root user), lookfor the MAKEDEV script in the /dev directory and run it.

Drivers Swimovate Port Devices Lucie

This handles the devices creation and should set the correct permissions.For making multiport devices see Making multiport devices in the /dev directory.