56K Standards Wars Waning?
Folklore tells the story of two groups of British and German soldiers during World War I that stopped fighting at Christmas to share a day of peace. Last week, the companies embroiled in the war for 56 Kbps modem standards stopped battling long enough to reach a tentative agreement on a 56K technology that will become the official standard. In "Speed Jockeys on the Internet: Flying at 56K" in NetBITS 008, we reported that a standard isn’t likely to show up until at least September 1998, when the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is expected to rule on the matter. However, it now appears that the lack of an accepted technology has been hurting major combatants such as 3Com/USRobotics and <a href=”http://www.lucent.com/press/1297/971205.mea.html” target=_blank”>Lucent Technologies/Rockwell Communications enough that they’ve been motivated to reach a preliminary agreement on a 56K technology standard. Early reports suggest that the final 56K technology will combine elements of the current K56Flex and X2 designs. It looks as though the ITU will use this agreement to draft a "determined" (preliminary) standard during its January meeting, which is when modems using the technology are likely to begin appearing. Chances are also good that the ITU will ratify the final standard at its September 1998 meeting.