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Double 56-kbps technology tested

Diamond Multimedia begins field testing its Shotgun modem technology, a scheme that essentially enables users to pair two 56-kbps modems.

    In conjunction with Internet service providers, Diamond Multimedia began field testing its Shotgun modem technology, a scheme that essentially enables users to pair two 56-kbps modems.

    With Shotgun, users with two phone lines can integrate data from each line into one stream traveling at the combined rate of the two modems, according to Diamond. For example, two 56-kbps modems that support Shotgun could theoretically transmit data at 112-kbps.

    Netcom, GTE, and Earthlink are all participating in the trials. ISPs that don't already have Shotgun-compatible networking equipment can them through a software upgrade, Diamond said.

    Shotgun automatically adds the second phone line as needed, Diamond says, leaving the second line available for voice transmission the rest of the time. Users can also manually add or release the second phone line.

    Diamond's SupraSonic II and SupraExpress 56-kbps modems support Shotgun currently. Eventually, users will be able to match any brand or speed modem together, Diamond said.

    In addition to the cost of the phone lines and modems needed to use Shotgun, many ISPs charge users for two accounts when they use dual-line modems.

    Boca Research, another modem vendor, also offers dual-line software, but does not offer the hardware that Diamond does, the company said.