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Samsung enters cable modems

Samsung will demonstrate its first consumer model at an upcoming trade show.

    Samsung Electronics has added its name to the growing list of cable modem supporters, and will demonstrate its consumer model at an upcoming trade show.

    Samsung said it will display a cable modem prototype at the upcoming Western Cable Show in Anaheim, California. Code-named InfoLink, it is intended to be the first in a "family" of cable modems that Samsung will pitch to a range of audiences, from home consumers to corporations.

    The details of succeeding modems will be announced at the National Cable Television Association show in May, said Samsung spokesperson Frankie Borison.

    InfoLink is targeted toward the home user, and will initially be sold to cable companies. Pricing specifics are not yet available, but the modems will eventually be available through Samsung's traditional retail distributors, according to Borison.

    3Com announced a similar distribution strategy for its cable modems last month, while Motorola is hoping to use the retail channel right from the start. Currently, consumers who want a cable modem must lease them from their cable company, in addition to paying for Internet access.

    InfoLink complies with the Multimedia Cable Network System Partners (MCNS) specification, an industry guideline drawn up to ensure that any given cable modem product will interoperate with competing products. "The intention is to almost above all else be interoperable with other cable modems," said Borison. 3Com, Motorola, Hayes Microcomputer Product, and Cisco Systems have also developed MCNS-compliant products.

    Samsung's cable modem transmits at speeds up to 40 megabits per second (mbps) "downstream" (from the cable company to the end user) and up to 10.24 mbps "upstream." User trials will take place in the first and second quarters of 1998, with the product to begin shipping in the second quarter of 1998.