ZyXEL Launches ISDN Modem Providing Two Users Simultaneous Access To Single ISDN Line

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New Value-Priced Modem Addresses Need for High-Speed Internet and Remote Access
September 18, 1996

ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 18, 1996 ZyXEL Communications, leading supplier of innovative, high performance modem and data communications products, today introduced the Omni TA128 ISDN terminal adapter, a 128Kbps ISDN modem, the latest in its family of ISDN access products.

The Omni TA128 is the industry's first ISDN modem priced under $400 to feature two serial DTE interfaces, allowing it to be connected as if it were two modems using a single ISDN line.

Four times faster than standard 28.8Kbps modems, the Omni TA128 provides ISDN connection at 128Kbps for high-speed Web browsing, fast and easy downloading of multimedia files, telecommuting, remote LAN access, videoconferencing and other applications requiring enhanced connection and advanced compression. Users have the option of using STAC compression over PPP or V.42bis compression over V.120. Both options enable the OmniTA128 to reach optimal throughput speeds of up to 460.8Kbps.

The Omni TA128 offers an innovative set of features designed to simplify ISDN connection for corporate telecommuters, small office/home office (SOHO) users and end-users who are looking for high-speed, cost-effective Internet access.

These features also give Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the flexibility to address a range of applications with any number of Omni TA128s and a corresponding number of ISDN lines. For example, with four Omni TA128 ISDN modems and four ISDN lines, eight PPP dial-up accounts can be accommodated simultaneously.

ISDN Access A Growing Reality
The introduction of the Omni TA128 marks a significant trend in home and small office computing. Access to ISDN lines is no longer restricted to high-end corporate or "power users." It is now available to a wider range of Internet users to satisfy the growing demand for higher speeds and increased bandwidth.

The SOHO market numbers around 20 million users today, according to Michael Howard, president and senior analyst of San Jose-based Infonetics Research, a leading research and consulting firm. A recent Infonetics study projects continued growth of the SOHO market into the next century.

"Today, the majority of ISDN terminal adapters are being purchased by telecommuters, but the market for consumers looking for easy Internet access is certainly growing," said Howard. He further explained, "Many ISPs are also looking for tools that allow their customers the easiest, fastest Internet access possible. A product like the Omni TA128, from an established company like ZyXEL, should do well, particularly when it provides more features for less cost," Howard said. Specifically, Howard pointed out, "The Omni TA128's most compelling feature is its ability to accommodate two users with one ISDN line."

Munira Brooks, ZyXEL marketing manager, agrees that the company is answering a definite market need. "We're providing consumers with an easy-to-use, affordable way to tap into available telecommunications resources. Today that's ISDN and our goal is to enable the broadest access possible. The Omni TA128 is suitable for users of all types, from casual Web cruisers to professional telecommuters," Brooks said.

Dual DTE and Analog Ports Offer Multiple Functions
The Omni TA128's dual ports have two basic modes. In the default mode, the primary DTE port and two analog ports are active, allowing simultaneous use of two analog devices such as telephones, modems and fax machines. For example, users may send an e-mail while talking on the phone or cruise the Web while sending a fax.

In the alternate mode, the primary analog port and the two DTE ports are active, which allows simultaneous Internet access at 64Kbps by two users from a single ISDN line, eliminating the need for two ISDN lines and two ISDN modems. For homes and small offices with more than one Internet account, the Omni TA128 is an ideal solution.

The Omni TA128 offers a great value for cost-conscious users. "Other manufacturers simply do not offer the same features at such a low price," explained Brooks. "If users were to purchase a consumer-level device, they would either have to buy two separate ISDN modems totaling over $700 or get a high-end product costing well over $1000," she said.

Unprecedented Features Offer Universal Compatibility and Ease of Use Designed with an unprecedented range of features, the Omni TA128 addresses a wide range of needs, from corporate IS managers searching for cost-effective solutions for their company's telecommuters to home Internet surfers.

The Omni TA128 supports PPP Multilink Protocol, allowing for connection to ISDN devices from other manufacturers at full bandwidth of up to 128Kbps. It can be used for both "call-mode" and "answer-mode" enabling the Omni TA128 to operate as a client or server device. Bandwidth On Demand and Bandwidth Allocation Control Protocol (BACP) provide added flexibility through the PPP Multilink Protocol. Bandwidth On Demand automatically bundles the two B channels with the help of BACP, which evaluates data traffic and automatically adds and drops the second B channel as needed. The Omni TA128 also features Call-Bumping, which allows users to make an analog call when the two B channels are in use by dropping the second B channel.

In addition, optional STAC data compression over PPP is offered which provides higher throughput and performance.

The Omni TA128 is compatible with all popular operating environments, including Windows 95, Windows NT, OS/2, DOS, Macintosh, UNIX, Novell and Amiga.

A Multi-Auto answer feature automatically detects and accepts incoming calls for PPP, V.120, X.75 and V.110, freeing users from manual protocol configuration. The Multi-Auto feature also automatically answers and identifies calls as analog or digital and routes them accordingly.

Other features include standard DTMF and pulse dialing recognition, call-back with password protection for up to 40 users, three security levels, built-in speaker, 13 LED lights for call progress monitoring and multiple subscriber settings. Flash EPROM allows for easy firmware upgrades free of charge from ZyXEL BBS, FTP and World Wide Web site.

Omni TA128 Approved for ISDN Ordering Codes
The Omni TA128 has completed a conformance review for ISDN Ordering Codes (IOC conformance), including the new EZ ISDN classification at Bellcore, a leading provider of communications software and consulting services, administrator of a set of industry standards developed by the National ISDN Users Forum. When ordering an ISDN line, customers may use an easy to communicate name to describe a specific set of desired ISDN features or services, in this instance, OmniTA128 IOC. IOCs are accepted by most U.S. telephone companies and contain all configurations needed to install the ISDN line.

Provides Solution for Worldwide Communications
The Omni TA128 is available with either U or S/T interface. The U interface features built-in NT-1 device, providing easy installation and desktop space savings. The S/T interface model works with an external NT-1 device, ideal for those utilizing other ISDN equipment, as well as international users requiring S/T interface.

The Omni TA128 is compatible with National ISDN (U.S.) and European ISDN standards, and has been approved by Canadian, European and U.S. FCC. AT&T 5ESS, Northern Telecom DMS-100, Siemens EWSD switches and National ISDN-1, Euro-ISDN DSS1 and ITR6 protocols are supported.

ZyXEL has recently introduced the Omni TA128 to Japanese and European markets with great success and is now anticipating similar acceptance in the U.S.

Pricing and Availability
The Omni TA128 will ship in 60 days at a suggested retail price of $399 and is offered with U Interface or S/T Interface. Both models feature a two-year warranty on parts and service including online support. The Omni TA128 and all ZyXEL products are offered through major distributors, resellers, VARs, retailers and mail-order catalogs.

Company Background
ZyXEL Communications, Corp. (http://www.zyxel.com), located in Taiwan, is a leading supplier of high-speed ISDN terminal adapters, ISDN remote access routers, modems and compatible LAN/WAN data communications products. Since its inception, ZyXEL has built a reputation as the price/performance leader in modems by providing high-quality products at affordable prices.