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Bay readies new 56-kbps gear

The company completes testing of the new high-speed modem standard and will begin offering remote access supporting the standard next quarter.

Bay Networks says it has completed testing of the new standard for 56-kbps modems and will begin offering remote access supporting the standard next quarter.

Announced last month by the International Telecommunications Union, the v.90 standard for 56-kbps modems is expected to ensure that any consumer using the high-speed devices modem will be able to dial up any service or network.

Before the v.90 standard, users of 3Com's x2 system or K56flex technology from Rockwell or Lucent had to choose an Internet service provider that supported the 56-kbps modem they were using. The competing K56Flex and x2 technologies are incompatible.

Today's news means that ISPs using Bay Networks equipment will be able to begin upgrading to the v.90 standard. Bay will also continue to support both the x2 and K56flex technologies.

"The big significance of the announcement is that we are the only one out there that has supported products for x2 products, K56flex products, and now v.90 products," said Jon Sieg, vice president and general manager for Bay's signal processing group. "We are among the very first to roll out v.90 products, without losing our backwards compatibility."

Bay also announced today that it will begin interoperability testing of the v.90 standard with 3Com. Early testing of the v.90 technology revealed that different companies' versions of the standard are not always compatible.

"As with all standards, they are written precisely. But there is some wiggle room for interpretation which causes problems," Sieg said. "Compatibility testing is a nonstop event."