The chipsets are used in the production of modems that support Rockwell's high-speed "K56flex" 56-kbps modem technology.
Rockwell is locked in competition with U.S. Robotics to establish the de facto standard for 56-kbps modem communications. U.S. Robotics is currently merging with 3Com, another major communications manufacturer.
Some analysts doubt Rockwell's claims. "I don't really think that anyone has a clear majority at this point--USR is claiming a majority as well," noted Allen Leibovitch, an analyst with IDC. "At this point I don't think anyone can really claim victory."
Liebovitch also noted that although Rockwell is claiming that the K56flex has undergone the fastest production ramp-up in the company's history, U.S. Robotics got its chips on the market first, leaving Rockwell to play catch-up.
The two competing protocols are incompatible, although modem makers have promised buyers upgrades to the alternate standard if it becomes dominant.
The chipsets produced by Rockwell are of two major types: the chips used in consumer modems and those used in equipment sold to Internet service providers (ISPs). A set of each type must be used on opposite ends of the connection to obtain high-speed downloads. A similar scheme is used by U.S. Robotic's X2 technology for 56-kbps connections.