ITU gives nod to G.Lite standard for DSL

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has given final approval to the G.Lite standard for DSL (digital subscriber line) technology, expected to open the door to high-speed Internet access via standard telephone lines for homes and businesses.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has given final approval to the G.Lite standard for DSL (digital subscriber line) technology, expected to open the door to high-speed Internet access via standard telephone lines for homes and businesses.

Meeting this week in Geneva, the ITU formally ratified the standard under the designation G.992.2. Vendors and the ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) Forum hailed the vote as significant and predicted that it would push DSL deployment.

G.Lite technology allows "always on" high-speed Internet access over standard copper lines at the same time as normal telephone service. Consumers can install the technology into their PCs themselves, eliminating the need for telecommunications carriers to send someone out to homes or businesses to install "splitters" so that concurrent Internet and telephone access can be maintained.

The "plug-and-play" ability of G.Lite has been highly touted by vendors and the forum, a nonprofit international group of some 300 computer, telecommunications and networking companies. Proprietary technology will become a thing of the past as vendors rally around a single standard, the forum maintained in a statement yesterday.

While yesterday's vote was expected, it still is being viewed as important because "this removes any uncertainty," said Kristin Griffin, a spokeswoman for Aware Inc., a Bedford, Massachusetts-based DSL technology vendor. Aware licenses its intellectual property and software to equipment and semiconductor makers.

Interoperability testing already is underway among vendors. The ITU late last year gave initial approval to the standard and vendors have been working on developing products and the technology since then. Some PCs already are available with the technology and appropriate modems built in, and retail modems also are on the market, with more expected as the year progresses.

Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Inc. in a separate announcement related to the G.Lite news, said that its WildWire DSP1690 modem chip set interoperates with Paris-based Alcatel Alsthom SA's ADSL Access Multiplexer equipment for central telephone offices.

That news is further proof that the ADSL market is taking hold, said Tony Grewe, director of strategy and business development for Lucent Microelectronics, adding that telecommunications carriers are supporting the G.Lite standard.

"You're seeing the telcos move forward here at an increased pace," he said. Over the course of this year, "telco engagement and enthusiasm in ADSL in general has increased, but in G.Lite and some of those areas in particular, it really is starting to push forward. Part of that is that the market is really starting to demand broadband," he said.

Also driving DSL is competition, he said, noting that G.Lite makes it easier for the telecommunications carriers to deploy ADSL because it doesn't require that new wiring be installed nor is it necessary to send out a service representative.

"You just given them a ring," and the telecommunications carriers start the service to consumers who buy PCs with G.Lite technology or modems that support the standard, he said.

The ADSL Forum can be reached at http://www.adsl.com/. The ITU, in Geneva, can be reached at http://www.itu.int/. Aware, in Bedford, can be reached at +1-781-276-4000 or at http://www.aware.com/. Lucent, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-908-582-8500 or at http://www.lucent.com/. Alcatel, in Paris, can be reached at +33-1-40-76-10-10 or at http://www.alcatel.com/.

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