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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Ascend is headquartered at One Ascend Plaza, 1701 Harbor Bay Parkway, Alameda, Calif., 94502. Phone (800) ASCEND4; Fax (510) 747-2300. © Business Wire. All rights reserved.
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