Ascend Announces Support for New V.pcm Modem Standard


February 4, 1998 7:39 PM EST

ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 4, 1998-- 

Ascend and Rockwell Conducting `Real-world' Interoperability 

Testing With Major Modem Vendors, Internet Service Providers; 

Will Ship No-Cost Software Upgrades Following Completion of Testing 

Ascend Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASND) the leader in deployment of 56K
ports with approximately 2 million ports deployed worldwide, today
announced it has created an interoperability testing program to support the
V.pcm standard for high-speed analog modems. The standard, expected to be
determined, and given a formal numeric designation this week at a meeting
of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland,
will enable any communications products -- modems or access concentrators
-- to interoperate at 56,000 bits-per-second (bps), the highest speed
available today for analog communications. 

Ascend and its Service Provider customers, along with client-side modem
vendors, will drive a comprehensive testing program that will ensure V.pcm
interoperability. Ascend supports a large installed base of WAN Access
Switches in the Internet Service Provider market, and also has deployed
approximately 2 million 56K ports to date. The company will ship no-cost
software upgrades once the interoperability testing has been completed. 

"With the approval of the V.pcm standard, the market can continue to move
forward which is good for customers, vendors, and most importantly,
end-users," said Kurt Bauer, vice president of product management for
Ascend's Access Products Group. "This program will ensure that the benefits
of the V.pcm standard can be realized through an aggressive but
well-managed rollout plan. Ascend plans to deploy the V.pcm standard as
rapidly as possible throughout the MAX family of products without
sacrificing product stability or multi-vendor compatibility." 

"Rockwell provides end-to-end interoperability with Ascend, and Rockwell's
large installed base of client modems. Rockwell continues to work closely
with Ascend to ensure timely availability of V.pcm code incorporating all
of the ITU requirements," said Raouf Halim, vice president and general
manager of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems Network Access Division. "Ascend
has long-term relationships with key ISPs and Carriers. With these
partners, Rockwell and Ascend will enable widespread and rapid
interoperability over the broadest deployment of 56Kbps ports and client
modems across the industry." 

Interoperability Testing Program 

The Ascend V.pcm Interoperability Testing Program has two components:
testing for client-side modem vendors, and testing within service providers. 

-- Point of Presence (PoP) Testing. Ascend is creating a test PoP 
that will facilitate testing for client-side modem vendors 
similar to the testing performed for K56flex products. These 
vendors will be able to dial in to the PoP and ensure the 
interoperability of their modems with Ascend's MAX and MAX TNT 
WAN Access Switches. Since many leading service providers use MAX 
products, interoperability with Ascend equipment is an important 
stamp-of-approval for modem manufacturers. 

-- Service provider Testing. Ascend will also be working closely 
with its key service provider customers to test V.pcm in their 
networks. The company will ship beta code to these customers, and 
will work closely with them to test interoperability of the code 
before they deploy it widely within their networks. 

The company said that the program will be implemented beginning this week
and will be rolled out to customers over the next two weeks. Ascend will
ship MAX and MAX TNT WAN Access Switches loaded with V.pcm code to their
service provider partners as soon as possible so they can test dial-up
connections in their own network environments. Ascend will closely monitor
the testing and will make V.pcm code generally available only after
ensuring it is interoperable and reliable. 

"Ascend is a big part of our service infrastructure, and we expect this
kind of leadership from the company that, with its MAX and MAX TNT WAN
Access Switches really helped us build our business," said Kevin Barry,
Senior POP Manager at Epoch. "We are working with Ascend to quickly set up
our interoperability testing, and are confident that following that we will
be able to upgrade our modems in short order. We are very pleased that
Ascend's attention to quality and smooth deployment will provide tremendous
benefits to our end-user customers." 

About Ascend Communications 

Ascend Communications, Inc. develops, manufactures sells and services wide
area networking solutions for telecommunications carriers, Internet service
providers and corporate customers worldwide. For more information about
Ascend and its products, please visit the Ascend web site at
www.ascend.com, or send e-mail to info@ascend.com. 

Ascend is headquartered at One Ascend Plaza, 1701 Harbor Bay Parkway,
Alameda, Calif., 94502. Phone (800) ASCEND4; Fax (510) 747-2300. 

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