The ITU has finally "determined" a single standard for the troubled 56k modem technology. The two main rivals in the 56k battle, Rockwell and 3Com, which have in the recent past been blamed for causing confusion in the market with their competing technologies, rallied round to offer their support for the standard - expected to be ratified by the end of the quarter. Optimism for the standard is running high, with several manufacturers promising modems as early as next month. However, all is not well with the proposed standard, as a joint press release from Hayes, Cisco and Ascend highlighted just before the standard was agreed. The statement says that "interoperability is not automatic between differing V.pcm implementations. As a result ... Ascend, Cisco and Hayes have banded together and pledged to release new V.pcm-only products when interoperability can be demonstrated between major modem and server providers." Nigel Croisdale, director of Hayes Europe, told PC Week that although the standard bodes well for 56K, it is by no means a guarantee that the new modems will talk to all servers. He said: "If we look at the state of affairs up to today, there has been two conflicting standards. Now the industry has got together to come up with just one, but there has to be a phase where the interoperability of that standard must be proven. Instead of vendors rushing out to bring product to market, we will wait until it has been properly tested." Croisdale is confident the testing of V.90 will be complete by the end of Q2 when he expects sales of the v.90-compliant products to be very strong. "There will be strong growth on this, particularly in the corporate arena," he said. "Organisations, once the testing is complete, will be able to move to V.90 without worrying about conflicts."
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