Telecom's plan to roll ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) technology out to the public is likely to encourage potential users to look at products available to the end customer.
Auckland distributor LanWare has been appointed distributor for Escalate Networks, a California company which makes DSL modems, NICs (network interface cards) and switches for end-users.
Anthony Chapman, Escalate's Bangkok-based sales director, says ADSL technology — which delivers fast services over copper wire — appeals immediately to the SOHO (small office home office) and residential markets.
Escalate, which is supplying customer premise equipment for ADSL installations in Hong Kong and Singapore, is targeting both sectors with its Escalynx DSL modems, NICs and switches.
Escalynx external modems (around $US 250) connect to the PC via an ethernet port, and to telephone lines via a standard RJ-11 connector.
They support both CAP (carrierless amplitude and phase modulation) and DMT (discrete multi-tone) DSL line coding to ensure compatibility with service provider DSL systems.
A single modem can support multiple PCs by connecting to an ethernet hub. Also aimed at single users, Escalynx NICs connect to a telephone line via a standard RJ11 connector.
For an office of five to 10 people without a network, Escalate has launched the Escalynx Access Switch — an ethernet/ATM switch with an integrated DSL router. The box plugs into the RJ11 phone jack and is stackable. Escalate claims it will scale to up to 100 users.
Chapman says pricing for a single access ADSL modem is higher than for a 56Kbit/s modem but costs will fall as volumes increase.
"We're expecting standards [to be set] within six to eight months. At that point chip-sets will become standard and price will drop."
Chapman says the new DMT chip-sets will also deal with many of the issues surrounding the effect of physical line conditions on ADSL quality of service.
Escalate Networks, which launched in January 1998, came out of two organisations. One was ADSL equipment manufacturer ATML, which became Virata. Escalate Networks bought out ATML's product systems group and then acquired the advanced development group of NIC maker SMC (Standard Microsystems Corporation).
"The goal," says Chapman, "is that people will be able to go down the shop and buy ADSL products that are compatible with the solution that Telecom eventually decides to go with. Escalate Networks has relationships with the top 10 DSLAM (DSL access multiplexer) vendors, and we're working to ensure our products work with all of them."