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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS | VENTURA COUNTY
IN REVIEW

Logicode Allies With U.S. Robotics on 56K Modems

March 11, 1997|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When it comes to the transmission of computer data, faster is better. That's good for the folks at Camarillo-based Logicode Technology.

Logicode, a manufacturer of modems and other data-communication products, last week was among the first companies to release a line of modems transmitting 56,000 bytes per second, capitalizing on the latest in high-speed technology.

The modems, designed to reduce the time needed to download information from the Internet, top the current speed available on standard telephone lines of 33.6 kilobytes per second. They are nearly double the speed of the 28.8K modems that have become the standard for Internet users.

Other specially installed telephone lines allow for speeds of 128 kilobytes per second.

"The 56 does not only have an effect on the industry, it's breaking the physics law on transmitting on a telephone line," said Moe Hadaegh, president and chief executive of Logicode. "Internet users and service providers are adding more and more graphic-oriented applications to the Internet, and 33.6 was not the answer."

Logicode modems incorporate the technology of a computer chip introduced in late February by U.S. Robotics Corp. U.S. Robotics, which already sells 56K modems under its own name, has been battling with Rockwell International Corp. to be first to grab a large share of the 56K market.

In February, Motorola Inc. announced it would team with Rockwell International in the production of its modems. But Logicode opted for U.S. Robotics, Hadaegh said, based on confidence in the company's technology.

"We made the judgment that U.S. Robotics has the lead in the industry and we decided to join the camp," Hadaegh said. "Logicode historically has been very aggressive in being at the forefront of bringing the latest technologies to users. That's how we've grown in multiples over the years."

The suggested retail prices on Logicode's 56K modems are $169 for the external modem and $129 for the internal version.

The disadvantage of the new modems, in general, is that many Internet providers and services are not yet equipped to provide super-high-speed data transmission. And because there are two standards--U.S. Robotics and Rockwell--not all 56K modems are compatible.

Bob Barbabella, owner of the Data Connections computer service and training store in Simi Valley, appreciates the high speed afforded by the new devices but recommends "buyer beware" for now.

"Before people run out and buy 56K modems, they need to check their online services and see if they support the particular modem they are interested in," he said. "I talked with my Internet provider, and apparently they are not supporting the 56K connection for independent use. For them to do it they have to buy a bunch of new modems."

In coming months, Barbabella said, the picture should become clearer.

"As far as providers offering 56K, I think in the very near future, in three to six months, it will be commonplace," he said. "And eventually, hopefully, there will be one standard that everybody would adhere to."

Hadaegh said the Logicode modems are made to be upgradeable to any new regulations and technologies that come along.

"We are offering very aggressive programs as far as upgrading and buyback programs," he said. "Initially we're offering [the modems] in the retail outlets and then we will follow with distribution to corporations and small office-home office users."

But as fast as the new modems are, Hadaegh said, he expects speeds to continue to increase.

"A year and a half ago, no one could have imagined getting to these types of speeds on a normal telephone line," he said. "There are other technologies that can go to even much higher speeds, but we think that's a couple of years away or more until it comes into the hands of the users."

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