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TI focuses on faster modems

Texas Instruments is developing chipsets for speedy modems which will provide connection speeds that dwarf the fastest transmissions available today.

    Texas Instruments said it is developing chipsets for speedy modems which will provide connection speeds that dwarf the fastest transmissions available today, as the company broadens its digital signal processor business.

    TI is developing a chipset for faster digital subscriber line connections (DSL), the company said today. Currently, DSL provides data transmission at speeds up to 8-mbps (megabits per second), much faster than analog modems, which transmit at speeds up to 56-kbps.

    But very high bit-rate digital subscriber lines (VDSL) provide connections at lightning-fast speeds of up to 52-mbps, TI said today, announcing it is developing dedicated processors for VDSL modems. The company expects to offer DSP (digital signal processor)-based solutions to modem manufacturers by late 1999.

    TI has said recently it will more aggressively push its DSP business to counter the effects of its sluggish memory chip business which it recently sold to Micron. TI began manufacturing DSL chipsets last January, and in the last quarterly earnings report president Tom Engibous noted that TI's DSP shipments achieved 17 percent growth over the same quarter a year ago.

    VDSL can transmit voice, data, and multimedia simultaneously to consumers or businesses, and is considered a candidate for real-time video-conferencing, a data-intensive service that demands high bandwidth.

    "VDSL service would eliminate the perception of distance by delivering real-time video and real-life, high quality teleconferencing," the company said today.

    Additionally, VDSL features better speed at a lower price and reduced power usage, according to TI. However, the technology has been criticized for offering poor distance range.

    TI's VDSL chipsets will offer synchronous VDSL, meaning that data travels to and from the modem at the same speed, unlike asynchronous DSL.

    "VDSL services are the next technology advance for delivering high-speed data and video communications together with voice over ordinary copper wiring, especially for business applications requiring symmetrical data rate service," said Terry Riley, TI's marketing manager for VDSL solutions, in a statement.