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ISDN for road warriors

Smart and Ascend will develop ISDN PC card modems for notebooks that can switch to 56 kbps when digital lines are not available.

Smart Modular Technologies and Ascend Communications (ASND) today announced a joint agreement to develop ISDN PC Card modems for use in portable computers.

As a result of the partnership, Smart will introduce an ISDN PC Card and a combination ISDN/56-kbps analog modem with GSM capabilities.

The modems will be designed for use by travelers that need high-bandwidth connectivity. Both will receive certifications for use in the United States, South Africa, some nations in Europe, and the Far and Middle East, the companies said.

The agreement takes advantage of Smart's background in developing PC Card modems and Ascend's ISDN technology.

ISDN allows connections at up to 128 kbps but requires users have access to special phone connections. The analog 56-kbps-enabled modem will allow users to connect over regular phone lines when digital lines are not available.

The companies have not yet announced an expected arrival date for the new products.