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3Com Initiates Program for 56K Compatibility

3Com introduced today the V.pcm Interoperability Testing Program, an initiative developed to ensure 56K modem compatibility.

The program will provide modem makers with an outlet to test interoperability among their products. 3Com will offer access to servers that modem manufacturers can dial into for testing. The company will also give client modems and technical assistance where needed.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) approved yesterday a preliminary 56K international modem standard. The standard seeks to alleviate the noncompliance of 3Com's x2 56K technology and K56flex technology, developed by Lucent and Rockwell Technology. To date, x2 modems could not "talk" with those based on K56flex technology.

Both 3Com and Lucent reported they will work together to ensure their their 56K modems are compatible, and will offer software upgrades to manufacturers and Internet service providers (ISPs) that support the new standard.

3Com is hoping the V.pcm program will speed up the process of insuring product compatibility. Vendors wanting to become participants can sign up for the program via the Web.

"Interoperability testing between different 56K technology implementations is critical to improving the health of the modem and remote access industries," said Lisa Pelgrim, senior analyst for Dataquest. "Quickly and carefully executed interoperability testing will ultimately allow modem users to enjoy the benefits of universal compatibility, which will infuse life into demand for modems."