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October 21, 1997updated 01 Sep 2016 4:11pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Cable modems, which can transfer data down from the internet to personal computers at speeds of up to 100 times that of today’s fastest PC modems received a boost yesterday with the announcement of intention among major players to exploit the existing ports on the back of PCs, rather than use a separate ethernet card, as is required now. Intel Corp has signed agreements with Cisco Systems Inc, @Home Network Inc and CableLabs to accelerate the development and deployment of cable modems. Intel and @Home, which has a network connecting cable modems, will work jointly to develop test and promote external cable modems conforming to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and IEEE 1394 standards, the design specification s of which the two companies will make available in the first half of next year. @Home says the spec will make the connection to the back end a whole lot easier than now and even enable users to buy cable modems through retail channels, take them home and plug them in themselves, with no re-boot of the cable system necessary, it also opens up a new channels to cable modem makers. As part of the deal @Home granted Intel a warrant at fair market value to supplement its stake taken during @Home’s initial public offering in July. @Home would not say how long the warrant is good for, but they are usually a number of years. The ethernet interfaces used at the moment require a hardware engineer to install a card in the users personal computer. Using the USB and IEEE interfaces, developed by the PC and consumer electronics industries. Intel and friends hope to enable the modems to connect to other consumer devices as well as PC extremely easily. It is working with Cisco to develop DOCSIS- (Data Over Cable Service Specification) complaint cable modems using the USB spec. Intel will base its work on what Cisco has already done. Finally, Cable Television Laboratories Inc, the consortium better know as CableLabs, will work with Intel to draft two high-speed data specs for submission to the CableLabs DOCSIS process. The inclusion of CableLabs will help tie in the manufacturers of cable head-end equipment. It represents cable systems operators in North and South America.

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