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56 kbps nearer for notebooks

Xircom, which makes modems for notebooks, will use Lucent technology in its 56-kbps devices.

Xircom, a manufacturer of modems for notebook PCs, said it will use technology from Lucent in its 56-kbps devices.

Xircom's new 56-kbps modems, expected to ship in the second quarter of this year, will enable mobile computer users to receive information at about double the speeds of current 28.8-kbps modems.

The company's goal is to ship products that are upgradable to the International Telecommunications Union software standard once it is ratified. A standard for the technology is needed to achieve some level of compatibility among modems from different manufacturers.

Lucent is working jointly with Rockwell on 56-kbps technology. Modem makers that have announced support for Rockwell Semiconductor technology include Hayes Microcomputer, Shiva, and Cisco Systems.

Motorola has also recently announced support for the Lucent-Rockwell standard.

Rockwell and Lucent are competing against U.S. Robotics x2 technology. Currently, the two camps have different, incompatible 56-kbps communications protocols. U.S. Robotics 56-kbps modems are already being sold in computer stores nationwide.