Network access suppliers are starting to line up behind the rival 56kbps modem technologies launched last week by US Robotics and Rockwell Semiconductor. Shiva and Ascend are developing products based on the Rockwell technology, while Cybergate has adopted US Robotics.
These two technologies are incompatible, which has led to demands for a standardisation process for 56K modems. These modems enable users to download data, particularly from the Internet, at speeds approaching that of ISDN connections, for significantly less cost.
Shiva will incorporate the Rockwell technology in its remote networking solutions for small and home offices. As well as lower cost than ISDN for these price-sensitive markets, Shiva said, the modems also involve less complex upgrades - usually just a modem card swap or the addition of software that, in effect, turns a 28.8 modem into a 56K device. Shiva has a long development relationship with Rockwell and contributed to the design of the new modem.
Remote communications supplier Ascend will incorporate the Rockwell product into its Max line of remote access concentrators from early next year. This will enable carriers and Internet service providers to offer a new high speed access option to customers, said Ascend?s vice president Bernie Schneider, pointing out that 99 per cent of access to service providers is still modem-based.
In the other camp, Internet service provider Cybergate is one of the first ISPs to acquire US Robotics 56K modems to enhance its service to consumers. US Robotics? Sportster modems can be upgraded to the new speed from January.
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