RealTime IT News

CommWorks Pins V.92 Hopes On ISPs

Although broadband technologies (DSL and Cable) are all the rage right now, in reality, most people around the world only have access to analog phone lines.

Because of that, Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com subsidiary CommWorks said Monday that it is supplying some regional ISPs with its V.92 technology.

V.92 is the latest dial-up modem specification from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The standard transmits at the same speed as V.90 but offers a reduced handshake time and an on-hold feature.

Currently, the only national service provider to have announced plans for V.92 support is Level 3. Most service provider support for the new modem standard has come from regional ISPs, which is why CommWorks is targeting the little guys. Some 300 ISPs have signed up to date.

Connecticut-based Cybershore, Utah's InfoWest Global Internet Services and RipNET, an emerging ISP in Ontario are among the early adopters of CommWorks' V.92 products.

"Broadband technologies have received much attention in recent years, but the reality is that most people around the world use dial-up modems to access the Internet," said CommWorks director of wireline product management Patrick Henkle. "According to industry forecasts, market expansion will continue in the traditional dial access market as applications such as e-commerce, telecommuting and mobile computing continue to drive demand. The features enabled by V.92 make dial access an attractive and viable connectivity option for many users."

That forecast from In-Stat/MDR, entitled V.92 - Broadening Narrowband, estimates that in 2001 close to 11 percent of all US consumer analog modems shipped were V.92. This will grow to close to 44 percent in the year 2003 and nearly 100 percent by the year 2004. Furthermore, dial-up access will remain the primary access technology in the US home through 2006.

Features of V.92 include Quick Connect, which shortens the time it takes to connect to the Internet. Modem-on-hold allows users to accept an incoming phone call during an Internet session without losing the dial-up connection. Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) Upstream increases the speed at which users can send information, such as file transfers and e-mail attachments, to a network.

Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based CommWorks said its Total Control 1000 multiservice access platform supports all three V.92 features, as well as V.44, the latest standard for compressing data. V.44 boosts throughput speed by 20-60 percent, providing users with a significant improvement in upstream and downstream performance, such as faster download of HTML pages.

For the vast majority of current CommWorks customers using the Total Control 1000 platform, the move to V.92/V.44 can be done through a software upgrade to their current modem cards.

With both the amount of modems being shipped, and the percent of homes using dial-up, service providers won't be able to hold off on their V.92 plans for long.

CommWorks is hoping its early investment in the new technology will pay off in the short term and the long run.