Chips Could Fuel High-Speed Net Access Expansion

FRAMINGHAM (03/09/2000) - A new pair of communications chips could speed up the adoption of high-speed Internet access for business and home users.

On Monday, Virata Corp. will release Boron and Beryllium, two microprocessors meant to be used in Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) systems. ADSL permits high-speed Internet access over standard copper telephone lines.

Using the chip, networks and individual users could access the Internet at speeds approaching 8M bit/sec., although in the short term, speed would likely be limited to 1.5M bit/sec. or less, said International Data Corp. analyst Kimberly Funasaki.

Most significantly, she added, the chips will cost communications device manufacturers about 40% less than competing products from companies such as Lucent Technologies Inc., Alcatel and Motorola Semiconductor Products.

Beryllium, which is intended for use in network routers and gateway products, will probably have the biggest impact on the market, said Funasaki.

"This chip will make it easier to integrate voice and data services on the enterprise," she said. The Boron chip, she added, is intended more for single-user use in ADSL modems.

ADSL penetration into the home market has lagged behind rival cable modem.

Virata's additions to the market, scheduled for full-ramp release by the end of the year, are liable to drive down prices and speed adoption of ADSL by home users and telecommuters, Funasaki added.

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