What's new from ... Intel, Motorola, Nortel, Xircom, 3Com

What's new from ... Intel, Motorola, Nortel, Xircom, 3Com


Intel unveiled its ADSL modem in January and it is expected to play a key role in the company's Internet strategy. Expect to see the PCI version starting to appear as an OEM option in new PCs from late this year.

The USB version is designed for simple home installation. All necessary cables are included for connecting the modem to your PC and to a standard telephone jack. The USB model connects directly to the USB port on your PC and is self-powered, so there's no need to open your computer and no extra power cord is required.

Software set-up is also simple. Just insert the software CD into your PC, and follow the on-screen instructions. If you've already established DSL services with your local telephone company and/or ISP, you'll be ready for instant Net access, fast surfing and quick downloads, according to the company.

Intel is still waiting on Australian certification for the modems but expects to have it later in the year. The company is keen to use multi-channel distribution and believes the USB version will develop into a viable option for the upgrade market.

It requires a Pentium processor-based PC or higher Windows95/98, NT 4, 2000 or Me, 10MB free hard drive space, an available USB port, CD-ROM drive and a working ADSL Internet access account from your local telephone company or ISP.

Intel Australia: (02) 9937 5800


Motorola was the first company to get its cable modems into general use in Australia and they have been widely distributed through its alliance with Telstra's Big Pond Advance cable service.

The SurfBoard 3100 is a basic Ethernet connected cable modem that can be used to connect multiple PCs if it is connected to an Ethernet hub.

Motorola does not offer an ADSL modem but will release the SB4100 later in the year and will push it as the potential home gateway. Its USB connectivity will allow for easy home networking and Motorola is hoping it will evolve into a set top box where a single cable connection is used for both television and Internet access.

The company says it is still looking for a viable way to enter the retail channel but does not expect to be able to until mid next year when Telstra and Optus have indicated there may be conditions conducive to a retail cable modem market.

Motorola Australia: (03) 9213 7766


The Nortel Cornerstone Cable Modem 100 is the DOCSIS-compliant modem being supplied by Optus@Home to its subscribers. It is a relatively old model having first been released in 1998 and uses an Ethernet card to connect. However, Nortel has released a CM 200 model that utilises the USB port.

The Cornerstone Cable Modem 200 (CM 200) provides two-way high-speed Internet access, delivering good data forwarding and filtering rates. It is scalable and flexible and can accommodate up to 32 users per modem. It has both USB and 10/100Mbps Ethernet interfaces, and its RISC-based architecture supports a range of products that deliver a variety of customer applications, from residential to telecommuter to small office/home office.

Nortel says that by dynamically changing channel width and frequency based on specifications from the cable operator, the CM 200 avoids problems associated with high signal-to-noise conditions, enhancing reliability.

Optus has opened the door for Nortel to eventually sell its modems through the retail channel, telling its subscribers that standard DOCSIS cable modems will be available at retail outlets in the future. Over time, DOCSIS modems will become increasingly more and more inexpensive, due to direct competition from many vendors using standard specifications.

Nortel Networks Australia: (02) 9325 5200


The Xircom PortStation ADSL Modem Module is one of the first ADSL modems available in Australia for home use and will be distributed through telcos. It is versatile, portable and can be used in a number of countries, according to the company.

Because it uses the PortStation architecture, it connects to a PC through the USB port and can be expanded with the addition of a wide variety of other modules available through Xircom's retail channels. This ability to "snap in" new modules ranging from Ethernet and parallel or serial ports to soon-to-be released Bluetooth and IEEE802.11 wireless modules makes it an ideal candidate as a home gateway. Consumers can build up and expand their gateway and home network in their own time and the PortStation can also be connected to a notebook computer.

While the PortStation ADSL module will not be available through the retail channel, Xircom plans to release an ADSL PC card mid next year, which will be sold through retailers.

The card will be designed to allow travellers to take advantage of ADSL services in hotels and at conventions.

Xircom Australia: (02) 8923 7000


3Com has been selling cable and DSL modems in the US for some time and now offers a range of them in Australia - all DOCSIS-compliant.

These include both PCI and external models with USB and Ethernet connections. Its cable modems offer speeds of up to 3MBps, while the ADSLs are capable of up to 8MBps, however in most cases the maximum a home or SOHO user can expect in Australia is 2MBps, because of network restrictions.

The company's latest models include a 3Com US Robotics Cable Modem CMX with a 3Com network interface card, in the one package, which is both Windows and Macintosh compatible. It is easy to install and 3Com offers its American customers a home connection kit so they can connect themselves to the cable.

Its ADSL range includes HomeConnect ADSL Modem Dual Link, which provides what the company claims is the industry's first dual-mode USB and/or Ethernet-connected ADSL modem. The dual port allows for two desktop or laptop PCs to be connected to the same modem while still providing the facility for users to talk on the phone. It comes with an installation manager and an instant update utility.

The Ethernet port is compatible with any Intel-based PC, Apple Macintosh, Unix or Linux system with a 10BASE-T Ethernet NIC.

3Com Australia: (02) 9937 5000

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