While still embroiled in legal arguments over the 56Kbps protocol (CI No 3,273), the Rockwell Semiconductor Systems division of Rockwell International Corp has come up with a technology that it claims heralds the next generation of modems. The Consumer Digital Subscriber Line technology, aimed primarily at the home market, will operate in a similar way to existing K56Flex and V.34 modems, but with much faster data transfer speeds across copper wire. Although asynchronous digital subscriber line technology has been around for some time, in the past it has been expensive to implement because telephone technicians have had to visit the home to install it, something that will be no longer necessary. CDSL takes away the ADSL splitter equipment that has had to be installed until now, and maintains a continuous connection between the personal computer and the telephone company. The technology has been primarily intended for use by home users accessing the internet, with download times said to be between 10 and 20 times faster than existing K56Flex and V.34 modems. Rockwell sees the offering as a cheaper 1Mbps answer to browsing the web and remote computing, using ordinary telephone lines. The company sees the move as the next logical step in the development of modem technology, although it admits that CDSL is not really suitable for anything other than internet usage. Rockwell doesn’t think the technology will be in use much before the end of next year, when it will be integrated with existing modems to offer an all round product. Before it can be used, telephone companies will have to install the modems in central offices, a process that could prove lengthy. The phone companies are keen to offer their subscribers such a service, as a mean to more effectively compete against the cable industry. Rockwell says it will submit the technology to the standards bodies.
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