Newsflashes - February 18, 1998
Ready to buy a 56K modem? Don't open your wallet until you've seen
the new feature at 56K.COM. Tune in Friday.
3Com is now shipping V.90 modems to stores. Upgrades are not yet
available. If you registered your 3Com, U.S. Robotics, or
Megahertz 56K modem, you will be notified by 3Com when upgrades are
released. You can register and get more information at 3Com's
56K Central web page. Information for 3Com/USR server products is
The ITU has decided to use a stripped-down version of Discrete
Multitone (DMT) for G. Lite, its lower-cost, consumer-oriented DSL
News have coverage.
release from Keynote Systems - a testing house for Internet
performance data - says that DSL and cable modems won't completely
solve Internet speed issues, because the Internet itself will limit
the performance of these new technologies. The report includes
performance data and recommendations for increasing Internet speeds.
Who made this stupid modem?!
I frequently get email from readers who have no idea who
manufactured their modem. Here's one way to find out: all products
approved by the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) have an
FCC ID number printed somewhere on the device. You can search the
FCC Equipment Authorization
Database to match the FCC ID number to the product and
New ISP areas open
The High Speed Internet Service Provider list now features ISPs
offering ISDN, DSL,
and cable modem access.
These latest additions put the number of web pages at 56K.COM at more
than 500 strong. (That's 500 pages, not links.)
Sprint and Earthlink have joined forces to create a 600,000-member
ISP. There's a press
release, and coverage in Media
Daily and Wired
Logic, a popular OEM modem maker, announced plans for V.90
interoperability testing with 3Com, GDC, Lucent, and Rockwell.
Shane Lord of Sirius
Technologies - the modem maker that now encompasses NetComm,
Banksia, Dataplex, Simple Computing and Avtek - wrote to say that
Sirius has announced support for V.90. Upgrades are expected in March
Shane also provides an explanation for something I noted on
Just a bit of info you may or may not know... You
mentioned in your news that two other companies have announced
that their modems will support V.90 in March, but that they can
only use one or the other (V.90 or K56flex).
The reason for this is because the original reference
design (and the single chip RCxxx56ACF/xx chipset) supplied by
Rockwell to modem manufacturers for K56flex, incorporated 1 meg
flash EEPROMs, as the chipset used was limited by the memory it
K56flex, being the highly complex code that it is, takes
almost all of the 1 meg flash EEPROM, and therefore there is no
further room for extended code expansion (such as V.90
implementation). The need for two firmware revisions loaded at
once was not foreseen in the iniital implementation of 56k. This
is why units based on this design can only have K56flex or V.90
loaded in firmware at any one time, not both.
To support both in firmware, Rockwell have released a new
reference design, and a 2 chip solution, that can reference a
larger set of memory. All future designed products from the Sirius
Technologies group of companies (NetComm/ Banksia/ Simple/ Avtek)
will incorporate this.
Logicode is out of the modem business. In a press
release dated February 6, Logicode announced that it has stopped
producing modems and is seeking a buyer for its manufacturing
equipment and other assets. Effective February 16, technical support
and warranty inquiries can be directed to 20600 Prairie Street,
Chatsworth, California 91311-6008, 818-678-1850. The company's
web site is still online for
In the yet another DSL department, Centillium
is promoting what it calls Universal DSL. Key features include low
power consumption, low cost for the consumer DSL equipment, ease of
deployment, and the ability to work over distances greater than
18,000 feet. The company has a press
announced plans for free V.90 upgrades in March.
Like Hayes, Multi-Tech and Xircom modems will have ability to
support V.90 and K56flex, but apparently not both at the same time.
They can use one or the other, and re-installation (which probably
means a firmware change) will be required to switch between them. The
three vendors all call this feature by slightly different names -
including "dual modem capacity," "dual capability, "and "dual mode
capacity, " respectively - but it's clear they're reading from the
New @ 56K.COM
- A new page
tracks modem maker's plans for releasing V.90 upgrades, and
includes expected release dates.
- At the same time, I'm archiving the 56K
upgrade page, which kept track of offers to upgrade 28.8 and
33.6 modems to 56K. Most of the upgrade offers have expired.
- The 56K Troubleshooting
Guide has become a multipage document for faster loading.
- The DSL and
cable modem pages on
the Link Board have been expanded, and the modem
manufacturer's page continues to grow.
The ITU's V.90 56K modem standard isn't even a week old, but
companies are already announcing new products and upgrades. Look for a
new page at 56K.COM to track the release of V.90 upgrades.
claims to be the first company to put V.90 upgrades in the field.
Selected sites have received the upgrades, which will be available on
Shiva's web site Monday, February
that its first V.90 products will have what Hayes calls dual modem
capacity: they will support both K56flex and V.90 for maximum
compatibility. I'd be surprised if other modem vendors didn't offer
the same feature. Hayes expects to ship V.90 products "as early as
Multimedia press release states that Diamond has begun V.90
interoperability testing. According to the release, the company's
Supra 56K product line has established connections with both
V.90-enabled Ascend MAX and 3Com Total Control servers, though it
does not say at what speed. Diamond expects to offer V.90 upgrades
Boca Research is offering a V.90
interoperability money back guarantee to assure customers that
their V.90 products will interoperate with other V.90 products. Boca
expects to ship standards-based modems by March, and free upgrades
for existing Boca 56K modems by April.
News reports that Rockwell began shipping V.90 chipsets on
Monday, just days after approval of the standard. Rockwell doesn't
sell modems, but the company makes the chips used by more than a
hundred modem makers. Upgrades to V.90 for existing Rockwell-based
modems will be delivered by the individual manufacturers, not by
Motorola expects to have V.90 upgrades on its web site by second
quarter, according to a press
As reported here Friday and in a weekend update, the ITU has a
recommended 56K standard, V.90 (formerly V.pcm).
News estimates that sales of 56K modems will rise from 10 million
units in 1997 to 30 million units in 1998, an increase attributed
partly to the new standard.
A new 3Com page promises
more information about their standards-based products and upgrades on
A new Hayes web site, www.56kstandard.com,
will track Hayes' release of standards-based products and upgrades.
For more coverage of the new standard, see Friday's news on
56K.COM. I'm contacting Rockwell this week to address questions about
interoperability of Rockwell's V.90 with other V.90 implementations.
The listings for ISDN, DSL, and cable modem ISPs are taking longer
than expected. Look for the new areas next Monday, the 16th.
Weekend update: V.90 officially designated
The ITU has officially designated the recommended international 56K standard as
V.90. This replaces the working title of V.pcm. The ITU has issued a
release. Late Friday, Ken Krechmer updated his report at
Standards Review with the latest information, and
has a story.