Touting ADSL technology as the real future of high-bandwidth Net connections, UUNet Canada has launched a trial of an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line network built around a new modem from Westell that transmits data 100 times faster than a standard 14.4-kbps modem.
The Westell modem is designed to download data at 1.5 mbps and upload at 64 kbps. Westell says it is working on new modems to be introduced this year that will be able to download data at 6 mbps.
UUNet's test includes about 400 corporate users in Canada. Westell claims that its FlexCap PC is the first ADSL modem to be tested in a public setting.
Based on the results of the trial, Westell plans to release the modem in limited quantities by late 1996.
ADSL technology is faster than high-bandwidth competitors such as ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), which transmits data at 64 kpbs. Cable modems are theoretically faster, with download rates of 10 mbps and upload rates of 768 kpbs, but they must run over cable modems using shared lines that cut speed. ADSL transmission rates stay consistent, Westell spokesperson Garrick Case said.
ADSL proponents like Westell say that their technology will win out over cable modems as the dominant high bandwidth technology because it won't require new infrastructure.
"What we're talking about here is the global-village concept," Case said. "Most countries don't have much of a cable infrastructure, so this is something that everyone will be able to use."
Even cable modem supporters like Intel are beginning to listen to such arguments.
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