Rockwell Semiconductor Systems and Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc., are working on technology that boosts the performance of modems past the recently established 56 Kbps benchmark.
Rockwell has introduced digital modem technology, based on Digital Subscriber Line (xDSL) technology, that is designed to deliver data to modem owners at a top speed of 1 megabit per second (Mbps). Diamond has introduced its Shotgun technology, which enables customers and businesses to combine two analog modems into a single channel with potential connection speeds of 112 Kbps.
Rockwell is pitching its technology, which it calls Consumer Digital Subscriber Line (CDSL) , as a stepping stone from highspeed analog modems, capable of delivering data at a rate of 56 Kbps, to xDSL modems, which boast downstream transfer rates as high as 8 Mbps. Products based on the technology, which are likely to be priced around $100, could be available as early as the first half of next year.
Although telephone companies will still have to install additional equipment in their central offices to enable the operation of modems based on CDSL technology, Rockwell officials said the overall deployment process is simpler, because local phone companies do not have to make any changes at the subscriber's residence for CDSL-based modems. To install faster versions of xDSL technology, telephone companies are currently required to install a "splitter" device at the customer's home, which enables the existing copper wire to host simultaneous voice and data calls.
Diamond's Shotgun technology will go into trial in early December and will be bundled with Diamond's modems in the first quarter of 1998. Shotgun technology makes it possible for customers or businesses to link, or bond, two modems and two analog lines to create a single pipe to the Internet or a corporate network. Shotgun can enable older modems to be tied in tandem to a 56-Kbps modem. Consumers can link a 28.8-Kbps modem to a new modem for an aggregate speed of more than 80 Kbps.