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More support for 56-kbps modems

Bay Networks will give dial-up access users a speed boost by adding support for U.S. Robotics' x2 56-kbps modem technology.

Bay Networks (BAY) will give users of dial-up access a speed boost by adding support for U.S. Robotics' x2 56-kbps modem technology to its enterprise remote access server.

The agreement with the 3Com-owned remote access giant allows Bay to offer modules for its 5000 MSX remote access chassis that support the two competing 56-kbps standards.

Support for x2 may give the company an upper hand over competitors using only the K56flex technology championed by Rockwell International and Lucent Technologies. K56flex support is offered by Ascend Communications and other networking hardware makers.

Bay officials said there would be few hurdles in integrating the x2 technology into the 5000 MSX platform. "I don't think it's a significant challenge," said Jonathan Sieg, vice president of the company's signal processing group. "From a technical perspective, it's not that difficult a thing to do."

Bay has yet to make a serious dent in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market for remote access gear. The company announced last week that Stephen Pearse will become the new head of its Internet-Telecom business group, a sign that the Santa Clara, California-based networking vendor may be ready to make a push for a piece of the enterprise remote access hardware pie.

The new x2-compatible modules for the 5000 MSX will ship in September. A standard guaranteeing interoperability between the two divergent 56-kbps modem standards is expected to be finalized by early next year.