Late last year, within just two months, three companies had set out plans for rival 56Kbps analogue modem offerings. Ever since, there has been a steady stream of announcements, speculation and alliances over which technology will succeed. Now, according to market research company Forward Concepts, the Lucent Technologies Inc/Rockwell International Corp-led K56flex group will dominate the high performance modem market, V.34 and above, with a forecast 65% of unit shipments this year. The rival technology from 3Com Corp’s US Robotics unit – x2 – will gain market share to a forecast 33%. The remaining 2% will be based on intellectual property from other 56Kbps schemes, says the group. It also maintains that the ITU Study Group 16 has put the 56Kbps standards issue on a fast track, with the goal of determining a 56Kbps standard this year. It expects that the final standard will include elements of both the Lucent/Rockwell-backed K56flex product and US Robotics/Texas Instruments-backed x2 design. This means every vendor should assume that the standard will require these early adopter customers to upgrade. The three leading modem chip vendors will each be strong in different markets, says Forward Concepts, with Lucent leading in direct sales to Personal computer vendors including Compaq Computer Corp and Toshiba Inc: Texas Instruments Inc will lead in store purchases mostly through sales of US Robotics x2 modems and Rockwell will benefit from its relationships with remote access equipment vendors including Ascend Communications Inc and Shiva Corp.