Diamond plans 112Kbps modems

US reports claim Diamond Multimedia Systems will later today show off a modem technology that it claims will support data transfers of up to 112Kbps.

The proprietary development isn't a technological marvel however. It simply allows a 56Kbps modem to tap into two phone lines to double bandwidth. Diamond plans to offer a software upgrade upgrade for its current 56Kbps Supra-branded modems and will give a first open public demonstration of the technology at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas later this month before introducing products in the US early in 1998.

Diamond sees a key advantage of the technology being the ability to clock down to 56Kbps (one phone line), allowing the modem user to take voice calls at the same time as he/she is online.

Diamond in the UK was unavailable for comment.

Bill Pechey, chief engineering officer at Hayes Europe, warned that the move towards what pundits call modem 'bonding' could mean another struggle towards standards.

"It's not new technology, it's been around for 20 years," Pechey said. "If you don't mind paying for two sets of phone lines it could be good but the snag is there's no standard and I don't think ISPs will follow it [in the short-term]. It's not like fax that costs you nothing as long as you have the processing power."

Pechey predicted that modem bonding won't hurt ISDN sales: "It won't have much impact on ISDN one way or the other. ISDN is probably a better way to get the speed and prices are falling reasonably quickly for terminal adapters and access. ADSL will be the technology to watch in about a year."

Diamond is reported to have signed a deal with Ascend Communications for the back-end modem rack maker to support its technology.

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