Rockwell unveils plans for 1MBit/sec modem

Promising to boost the speed at which home users can connect to the Internet over a standard telephone line, Rockwell has unveiled a technology that will allow it to make a 1Mbit/s digital modem. Rockwell says its Consumer Digital Subscriber Line (CDSL) modems will be priced much like its conventional V.34 and K56flex analog modems, which are priced starting from US$50 and $90, respectively. The device is expected to be available in the first half of 1998, and was designed specifically with the home user in mind, officials say.

Promising to boost the speed at which home users can connect to the Internet over a standard telephone line, Rockwell has unveiled a technology that will allow it to make a 1Mbit/s digital modem.

Rockwell says its Consumer Digital Subscriber Line (CDSL) modems will be priced much like its conventional V.34 and K56flex analog modems, which are priced starting from US$50 and $90, respectively.

The device is expected to be available in the first half of 1998, and was designed specifically with the home user in mind, officials say.

Rockwell announced the technology Tuesday to coincide with a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union, the body which sets international standards for telecommunications devices such as modems.

By unveiling the technology early in the standards development process Rockwell said it hopes to avoid the kind of standards confusion that dogged the roll out of the current generation of high speed analogue modems, which operate at about 56Kbit/s.

The technology is asynchronous, meaning users can only hope to achieve the 1Mbit/s transfer rate on the downstream side. But for users who use the product to access information from the Internet or corporate networks, upstream speeds are of less significance, officials say.

Rockwell says it can offer the technology cost-effectively because, unlike standard Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) connections, CDSL does not require "splitter" equipment and the associated wiring that phone companies must install at subscribers' homes to separate POTS and ADSL frequencies.

Additionally, the technology will make it possible for users to be on a telephone call at the same time they are connected to the Internet using a single telephone line, officials say.

Rockwell appears to be the first of the big North American modem makers to announce a DSL-based product for home users, but similar announcements from Lucent Technologies Inc. and 3Com Corp. are likely to follow.

"Obviously we're all looking at DSL; you're likely to see something from us pretty soon," said Charlie Hartley, media relations manager at Lucent.

Rockwell, based in Newport Beach, California, is at http://www.nb.rockwell.com/.

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