Despite fuzziness over technology specifications, support is building for Rockwell's proposed 56,000bps modem standard. Among the first wave of makers who will produce products to the spec will be US giant Boca Research and, possibly, the undisputed market leader US Robotics.
Clearly, any announcement by Rockwell, which makes chipsets for about 70 per cent of modems shipping today, would be significant but several observers expressed scepticism that the bandwidth could be achieved over standard telephone lines and said that Rockwell was running scared of digital technologies like ISDN.
However, Boca moved the technology towards reality yesterday by saying it will build 56,000bps devices by the end of the year. President and CEO Tony Zalenski was quoted in a press release saying the 56,000bps announcement was "record-breaking... like breaking the sound barrier, passing the speed of light, or beating the four-minute mile".
US Robotics told analysts it planned to release a faster modem than its current models by the end of the year but declined to say whether it would be a 56,000bps device.
Rockwell hasn't gone into detail as to how the technology works, only saying that it has the technology to beat the restrictions of analogue connections.