An communication system such as a host signal processing modem includes a host computer and a device that is coupled to communication lines and a host processor in the host computer. In a normal operating mode, the device generates periodic interrupts that cause the host processor to execute a software portion of the communication system. The software portion communicates with the device and implements protocols required to maintain communications with a remote system via communication lines. In a wait mode of the device, interrupts from the device to the host processor are suspended and selection logic in the device selects a communication signal such as a ring signal from the telephone lines as an interrupt to the host processor. While in wait mode, a power management system can place the system in a sleep mode because the periodic interrupts are suspended and do not indicate system activity that would prevent use of the sleep mode. However, since an incoming ring signal interrupts the host processor, the HSP communication system can activate and respond to an incoming communication even if the device is in the wait mode when the incoming communication is initiated.