Iprolink declares 56k modem trials a success

Internet Prolink has become the first local ISP to release results of 56Kbit/s modem field trials - and says it has seen an average 35% increase in download speed compared to 33.6Kbit/s modems. It expects a public rollout of a 56Kbit/s service in March

Internet Prolink has become the first local ISP to release results of 56Kbit/s modem field trials - and says it has seen an average 35% increase in download speed compared to 33.6Kbit/s modems.

Iprolink conducted the trials with modems based on US Robotics x2 (56K) technology, in conjunction with the New Zealand distributor of US Robotics, Insite Technology Ltd.

The first field trial was conducted with pre-release code, and according to the two companies produced connections at speeds above 50Kbit/s. It has been previously claimed that speeds in excess of 33.6Kbit/s would not be possible over the New Zealand telephone lines.

"It is possible in theory that x2 could work at double the speed of a 28.8K modem, but even an average 35% improvement in download speeds compared to a 33.6 modem is a pretty big jump," says Iprolink director Craig Anderson. "I doubt that anybody could consistently get that performance over the phone system. But we are expecting even better performance when the final code arrives."

Lucent and Rockwell have their own, competing 56Kbit/s technologies, but the competing versions are ex[ected to converged into a single standard in the next two years. Anderson says one major advantage of using US Robotics technology is that "all their stuff has always been software-upgradable. They're first to market with this and their history shows they've been first to adopt standards"

Insite says 275 ISP's worldwide have committed to adopting US Robotics x2 Technology, including a number from New Zealand, some of whom have made commitments to evaluate the technology. Further field trials are planned before final public release, which is expected in March.

An upgrade programme will be in place, during May 1997 for current models of US Robotics Sportster and Courier modems. Details of this programme will be released soon.

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