A score of vendors have now announced 56 Kbps modems for voice-grade telephone lines. Libraries should be wary of purchasing them, however, because there is no standard yet in place. This means that 56 Kbps modems from companies such as Haynes, Lucent, Motorola, Rockwell, and US Robotics are not interoperable-that is, a modem from one company cannot communicate with that of another. Lucent and Rockwell have agreed to the development of a proprietary solution to achieve interoperability between their 56 Kbps modems, but the rest of the industry appears to be holding back.
It is hoped that a 56 Kbps modem standard will be completed by 1998. When that standard is adopted, it is expected that all the major vendors will embrace it. Motorola has guaranteed purchasers of its product an upgrade to the future industry-standard even if it entails the provision of new hardware.