Rockwell Has Resumed Shipments of Chipsets

Bloomberg News

Rockwell International Corp. said Wednesday it has resumed shipments of chipsets for new high-speed modems, ending a three-week production delay after Motorola Corp. said its performance wasn’t good enough.

Rockwell, the electronics and semiconductor maker, used new software to increase the modem’s speed for some users, said Angelo Stephano, Rockwell’s Business Director for PC Products.

The company had rushed out its chipsets--computer chips and other parts that make up the heart of the modem--last month, as it tried to catch up with rival U.S. Robotics Corp., which shipped 56K modems to retailers in February.

The two companies are in a battle to set the industry standard for 56 kilobit-a-second technology, which is about 50% faster than previous modems.


Rockwell’s original chipsets were acceptable to modem makers Boca Research Inc. and Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. Motorola, though, said the chipsets didn’t deliver data transmission speeds fast enough for users in some telephone networks.

Last month, Rockwell started shipping 56K chipsets to makers of so-called central site modems that allow Internet service providers to offer the higher speed data transmission.

The faster modems, though, may not have made their way to Internet service providers yet. That has hurt K56Flex sales because consumers won’t buy the new modems if Internet service providers aren’t able to provide high-speed data transmission, said Diamond Multimedia Chief Executive William Schroeder.

So far, U.S. Robotics is selling far more X2 modems than all the K56Flex suppliers put together, Schroeder said. Rockwell’s Stephano said modem makers will be ready to ship K56Flex central-site modems this month.