December 16, 1996 10 AM ET

Vendors shift to DSL for speed
By Stacy LaVilla

  3Com Corp., Pulse Communications Inc. and Cayman Systems Inc. plan to ship by the second quarter of next year DSL-based products for both central and remote sites.

3Com and Pulse will enter into an agreement this week to develop asynchronous transfer mode-based ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) hardware for both carriers and subscribers.

ADSL technology, which is expected to compete against both analog modems and ISDN technology, promises transmission rates of up to 1.5M bps from central sites to subscribers and up to 640K-bps speeds from subscribers to central sites.

"There is a move to get to DSL [digital subscriber line] technologies--and pronto," said Virginia Brooks, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, in Boston. "Now vendors are ready and telcos are ready, but is there a customer base out there that will let this [technology] flood the market?"

Both companies plan to ship by the second quarter ADSL central-site equipment, including a central-office DSL access multiplexer; ADSL line cards for digital loop carrier systems; ADSL modems; and software that features billing, provisioning and accounting capabilities, said officials from 3Com, of Santa Clara, Calif., and Pulse, of Herndon, Va.

On the client side, Cayman last week unveiled a family of DSL routers for small-office environments. The company plans to ship in March its $2,195 GatorSurf high data rate768K-bps DSL router, said officials at the Stoneham, Mass., company.

Cayman also will ship in March its $895 GatorSurf LR WAN router, which features one 10BaseT port and one serial port for wide-area connections. The device routes IP traffic only.

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