A Silicon Valley chip maker has unveiled a two chip processor that it claims will enable OEMs to develop small, low cost Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modems and even PC card modems.
Centillium Technology attests that its Optimizer Chipset reduces system costs by up to 25 per cent and lowers power consumption by means of a Universal Serial Bus (USB), which hardware vendors are trying to push as the next standard for PCs.
The company also claims that its Chipset cuts form factor sizes by eliminating several processors and says it is ideal for laptop devices because it enables manufacturers to produce business card sized ADSL G.Lite (G.992.2) modems.
Dori Braun, Centillium's director of marketing, said: "The Optimizer Chipset effectively opens up the entire notebook computing market to broadband technology, dramatically increasing the number of end users who can benefit from ADSL speed access to the Internet."
But, according to Faraj Aalaei, Centillium's co founder and vice president of marketing, the main target market for the technology is small office/home office (Soho) users.
"Those are the users who are really scrambling for the technology. Soho users have a lot of downloads, and while PC speeds are fine, they need to increase communication bandwidth. The USB allows them to quickly and easily deploy the technology," he said.
"We believe that DSL will be the connectivity technology choice of the future and will win out over cable. The volume of DSL modems will surpass cable modems and will reach into the millions this year," he claimed.
Several modem makers, including Askey, CIS, Digicom Systems and GVC, plan to launch G.Lite DSL access products based on Centillium's technology at Supercomm 99 in Atlanta, Georgia next month and the company has already licenced its USB designs to Intel to guarantee compatibility.
And while Microsoft is expected to support DSL technology in Windows 2000, Centillium will provide OEMs with Windows drivers so Microsoft's Plug and Play technology will recognise the modems until then.
Aalaei expects products based on the Chipset to be available to consumers by autumn this year. "Our customers are now working on product design," he explained.
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