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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Faster modems on the way

Xircom ships a new family of 33.6-kbps PC card modems with performance-boosting technologies.

A new family of high-performance 33.6kbps PC Card modems is now shipping from Xircom (XIRC).

The CreditCard Ethernet+Modem (CEM) 33.6kbps and CreditCard Modem (CM) use a high-performance, 16-bit microcontroller and a 16-bit data path which enable some data transfers to occur twice as fast as modems using traditional 8-bit microcontrollers, the company said.

The CEM 33.6 uses Ethernet technology in combination with "look-ahead" pipelining technology to increase throughput by as much as 60 percent over other PC Card modems, Xircom said. Xircom also says that the CEM offers full-duplex data transmission to further increase performance when used in full-duplex Ethernet environments.

To simplify connecting the modem, both Ethernet and modem cables have been combined into a one-piece docking device that plugs into the PC Card.

The modems will support the new V.34-1996 standard, which is an extension of the current V.34 standard, enabling data transmission at 31.2kbps and 33.6kbps.

Xircom has also built into both models what they call a Digital Shield, which safeguards against damage from high-current phone lines often found in hotels and on PBX systems and both are flash ROM upgradeable. Software features include installation software that automatically configures the computer, modem, and network operating system.

In related news, Xircom announced a new version of GlobalAccess software which simplifies modem setup as travelers move from country to country for the CEM and CM 33.6. The software helps set up tone recognition, impedance selection, and other network requirements. Xircom also includes five Western European telephone adapters to simplify physical connection with local phone systems.

Xircom expects that the software will be certified for use in 13 major European countries this month, with an additional 11 countries scheduled to be certified by January 1997.

The CEM 33.6 will retail for $319, while the CM 33.6 will retail for $229; both are available immediately. The International Modem Travel Kit with GlobalAccess software has a retail price of $129.