56K Standard Update

Mark L. Bardenwerper, Sr. (bardenwe@compufort.com)
Tue, 03 Mar 1998 22:24:18 -0600

56K Standard Is Reality

Those of us who are not yet ready to spring for a new modem may be getting
our wallets out very soon. During a conference in Orlando, Florida of the
International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an arm of the United Nations,
the long awaited 56,000 kilobytes per second (kb/sec) speed standard was
conditionally accepted in December, 1997. On February 6, 1998, the ITU
concluded the agreement in Zurich, Switzerland.
Lucent, 3Com, Rockwell, Intel and many other pivotal corporations are already
testing connectivity. The ITU should have the final improvements ready to
table during their next meetings in May. Full implementation is scheduled for
September, 1998.
This standard is going to allow owners of modems using the K56flex and the X2
to make the final upgrade with total compatibility. This is the culmination
of a process that began early last year, when corporations supporting the two
competing formats first first agreed in principle to standardize. Originally
dubbed V.pcm, the newest designation is V.90.
The move up to 56k will save a lot of time. Previously, modems were limited
to 28,000 kb/sec upload and 33,600 kb/sec download. New modems will be
capable of 33,600 kb/sec upload and 56,000 kb/sec download under ideal
Modem sales have slumped since 56K was first initiated because of fears of
obsolescence and confusion. Sales, unsurprisingly, are expected to hit an all
time high in the very near future. This should fuel a new round of price
reductions and may make pre standard 56's now on the shelves cheaper yet.
For more information, see

Mark L. Bardenwerper