Following news that it would supply chips for 56-kbps modems to U.S. Robotics, Texas Instruments (TXN) announced today that it will join with Amati Communications (AMTX) to develop technology for high-speed ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) connections.
TI wants to combine their TMS320 digital signal processors with Discrete Multitone technology from Amati, which claims to provide even higher speeds than ADSL currently provides in real-world conditions.
The result of the collaboration, the companies said, is to design these same ADSL modems at a lower cost and with more features. Ethernet and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) access are among the other features that the companies are looking to integrate into future products.
ADSL can download data at 1.5 mbps over copper wire phone lines and send out data at 64 kbps, speeds significantly higher than the 28.8 kbps provided by today's standard modems. Variations in the distance between the user and the central connection to the phone network, as well as the quality of the wire itself, affect the rate of transmission.
Amati says that the multitone technology brings transmission speeds closer to the theoretical limits allowed by ADSL. The company claims that its current products can download data at up to 6.1 mbps (8 mbps in ideal conditions) and transmit at up to 640 kbps. By comparison, even under less than optimal conditions, ADSL is faster than ISDN, which transmits over the public switched telephone network at speeds of 64 kbps and up to 128 kpbs.
The fastest standard consumer dial-up modem connections currently run at speeds of 33.6 kpbs, although several vendors are lining up to deliver 56 kbps modems.