Thumbs-up for voiceband standards

The ITU recently agreed on three important new standards for voiceband modems in Edinburgh, Scotland, at a meeting of the ITU-T Working Party 1/16 responsible for modem specifications.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 12, 2000

The ITU recently agreed on three important new standards for voiceband modems in Edinburgh, Scotland, at a meeting of the ITU-T Working Party 1/16 responsible for modem specifications.

Building on the success of the now ubiquitous V.90 Recommendation for modems at data rates up to 56kbit/s, important enhancements have been agreed in the new Recommendation: ITUT-T V.92.

The enhancements are:

• an increase of more than 40% in the maximum data rate towards the network to a new maximum of 48 kbit/s on the best connections;

• significantly quicker start-up times on recognised connections, and;

• the ability to put the modem ‘on-hold’ when the network indicates that an incoming call is waiting.

The ITU promises these enhancements will give benefit to modem user with improved access to interactive services, and the option of exploiting voice response facilities associated with Internet browsing.

The Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 16, Mr Pierre-André Probst noted “These important new features will further improve the Internet users experience by significantly reducing connect times and providing improved access to new Internet services.”

The meeting, jointly hosted by industry leaders 3Com, Conexant Systems, Lucent Technologies and Motorola, also initiated approval of a new Recommendation on data compression techniques in V.44, and a Recommendation V.59 which defines new procedures for facilitating modem and connection fault-finding.

Data Compression

The new data compression Recommendation is based on the LZH compression algorithm developed by US-based Hughes Network Systems and gives an improvement in compression of more than 25% beyond the existing Recommendation V.42bis, and a data compression ratio in the region of 6:1 for a typical Web browsing connection.

The net result is data throughput rates in excess of 300 kbit/s compared with typical values of 150-200 kbit/s today, thus significantly reducing download times and speeding up web browsing.

These rates are still below those available from emerging DSL technologies, but have the advantage of not requiring any special installation on the part of the network provider, leaving upgrades to the direct control of ISPs and users.

“Much attention is going to DSL technologies these days, but the voiceband modem will remain the pre-dominant worldwide access technology for many years to come and these important new Recommendations will help users to get the most from this technology” said John Magill, the Chairman of the ITU-T Working Party 1/16.

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