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Cisco dials up Rockwell, Lucent

Cisco backs the K56Flex modem technology--a combined effort from Lucent and Rockwell--and hopes to establish a "stable 56-kbps industry protocol."

Cisco Systems (CSCO) has decided to throw its weight in the networking equipment arena behind 56-kbps modem technology from Rockwell Semiconductors and Lucent (LU).

As reported previously by CNET, Cisco plans to incorporate K56Flex technology, which is the combined effort from Lucent and Rockwell, into its current and future dial-up access products. The products will be used by Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunications carriers who want to provide users with connections for 56-kbps modems, as well as businesses that want to provide faster remote access to local area networks (LANs).

Both the K56Flex technology and the competing x2 modem technology from U.S. Robotics overcome the speed limits of current 28.8-kbps modems by requiring the central site modem to have a direct connection to telephone companies' digital switches. Central site modems installed by service providers also have to be upgraded to handle the increased communication speeds.

In the absence of an established communications standard, modems using K56Flex technology will likely need to hook up with those ISPs and other customers using the same technology. Officials at Cisco said that they believe that the combined marketshare of Rockwell and Lucent will result in a "stable 56-kbps industry protocol."

Cisco will be incorporating the technology into its AS5200 Universal Access Server products, which provides both analog dial-in and ISDN line service for up to 48 users.