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Double-line phone modem ships

Boca Research ships its double-line phone modem, which offers faster Net access by itegrating two modems into one unit that plugs into separate phone lines.

Boca Research (BOCI) announced shipment of its double-line phone modem, which offers faster Internet connection speeds by integrating two modems into one unit that plugs into separate phone lines.

Boca's DynamicDuo 112K modem can achieve connection speeds reaching 112-kbps by taking data from the two streams and converting it into a single stream sent to the computer's main processor. The product uses regular phone lines even though it approximates the throughput of ISDN, which performs at 128 kbps.

The search for faster Net access is evidenced by the number of products in the market that seek to improve on the widely used 28.8-kbps phone modem. Besides offerings like Boca's and ISDN products, ADSL devices and cable-based modems promise greater bandwidth, or volume of throughput.

Whether users will want extra bandwidth via a double-line solution remains to be seen. In many cases, users will have to set up two accounts at their Internet service provider (ISP), basically doubling the cost of access to get twice the speed.

Boca said it will try to address this by partnering with ISPs to offer reduced-rate packages for DynamicDuo users. "We believe people want the bandwidth. We're making it easy to quickly utilize the technology. Take a fax line and your modem line, and you are off and running," Larry Light, vice president of engineering for Boca, told CNET in an earlier interview.

According to Light, one DynamicDuo's advantages over a single-line analog modem is that the Internet connection isn't interrupted when a voice call is made. On the other hand, users must have ISPs that use K56flex technology, since Boca's modem is based on 56-kbps modem technology that is not interoperable with x2 technology from 3Com's U.S. Robotics.

Boca's DynamicDuo will be available through resellers and retail outlets for an estimated street price of $279.