Hayes, Cisco, Ascend pledge 56K modem interoperability

Ascend, Cisco Systems and Hayes are getting together to ensure V.pcm modems really work.

The trio say they will release V.pcm-only 56K modems when confident of interoperability between major modem and modem server providers. Hayes is, of course, a pioneer in modems, while Ascend and Cisco are power players in the modem back-end business. Final adoption and ratification of the V.pcm standard is expected for September 1998.

Hayes claims that there are still differences between individual companies' V.pcm implementation, making the key business of communicating at optimum speeds a tricky process.

The coming together of pledge givers is called the V.pcm Work Group but liability is limited. Member companies determine for themselves when interoperability is achieved and are free to ship products with "limited interoperability", according to a Hayes statement.

"The entire reason for developing a V.pcm standard was to end the confusion for end users by delivering interoperable 56K modem communications," stated Ron Howard, CEO of Hayes.

"Hayes and other Work Group participants are committed to assuring our existing K56flex and x2 products are interoperable using V.pcm. Any company releasing `so-called V.pcm' products before interoperability exists, without clearly stating its limitations, would be doing a great disservice to end users."

According to Brad Baldwin, director of remote access research for market analyst IDC, the remote access market sector "was significantly reduced as a result of the confusion caused by incompatible 56K standards. IDC supports the goals of the Work Group and recommends end-users purchase V.pcm products only after their vendor confirms interoperability between major brands."