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Cisco to back 56-kbps modems

Cisco will announce formal support for a 56-kbps modem specification from Lucent Technologies and Rockwell Semiconductor.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) will soon announce its formal support for a 56-kbps modem specification being ironed out by Lucent Technologies (LU) and Rockwell Semiconductor Systems (ROK).

Cisco entered the enterprise remote access market early last year. At that time, Cisco incorporated Microcom's modem technology in its AS5200 Universal Access Server remote platform. That technology is also expected to find its way into some Cisco routers over the course of this year as the company expands its product line to compete with remote access giantAscend Communications (ASND). A Cisco spokesman said support for 56-kbps modem speeds in the AS5200 will come by midyear.

The AS5200 is targeted at companies such as Internet service providers. A formal Cisco announcement is scheduled for January 13, but a company spokesman said that date could change.

The standards effort for 56-kbps modems addresses interoperability between Lucent's V.flex2 and Rockwell's K56Plus modem technologies. Analysts say the resulting interoperable protocol is dubbed K56Flex and should address the needs of about 70 percent of the enterprise remote access server market.