Xircom Launches ADSL USB Modem

BOSTON (08/17/2000) - Xircom Inc., a U.S.-based maker of networking products, on Wednesday responded to the growing popularity of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Internet Access by adding an ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) modem to its PortStation line of hubs and USB-compatible networking products.

The modem will be both Windows and MacOS compatible.

DSL technology uses normal telephone lines to provide high-speed and dedicated access to the Internet, up to 100 times the speed of a normal 56K-bps (bits per second) modem, according to Xircom. The modem is available only through DSLAMs (Digital Service Line Access Multiplexers) that bundle the device with DSL service and cannot be bought at retail outlets, said Dave Murray, Xircom's director of sales.

The USB (universal serial bus) expansion features of the PortStation DSL modem allow for easy creation of home or small office networks, enabling multiple computers to share a single DSL Internet connection, Murray said.

"A user can buy a USB-based wireless home personal networking module and snap it on to the PortStation DSL modem. That way, other computers on the wireless network can share the single DSL connection," he said, adding that USB makes installation simpler.

While the DSL modem is good for home and small office networks, corporate customers aren't left behind, Murray said. "This modem is a boon for the remote office users or employees who work from home because of the standard equipment we provide. They won't have to worry about compatibility from either end."

Murray declined to comment on which DSLAMs and vendors Xircom has partnered with to offer the modem. The USB add-ons for the DSL modem, like the personal or wireless networking modules, might be available through retail in the future, though he declined to give a time frame. He did say, however, that the modem would be priced at about US$150 in that event.

Made with OpenGroup's Titanium chipset, the PortStation DSL modem offers multiple protocol support to ensure maximum vendor interoperability, falling in line with the OpenDSL initiative, which was launched in August by major DSL vendors, including 3Com Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. The initiative is aimed at providing a standard software specification to ensure DSL equipment interoperability for both the DSLAM's and customer's DSL equipment. [See "Vendors Form DSL Interoperability Group," August 10 ].

"There are four to five different standards out there on the physical and protocol level, which make DSL equipment compatibility a big issue. The OpenDSL initiative brings all the standards together, and the common standard will make the installation and configuration of the DSL equipment easier, both for the users and the DSLAMs." Murray said of Xircom's support for OpenDSL.

Xircom, based in Thousand Oaks, California, can be reached at +1-805-376-9300 or at http://www.xircom.com/.

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