High-Speed ADSL Interoperability Model Available From Alcatel, Cisco, Fore Systems, Microsoft, U.S. Robotics and Westell

NEW ORLEANS, June 3, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at SUPERCOMM ’97 its collaboration with industry-leading companies Alcatel, Cisco Systems Inc., FORE Systems Inc., U.S. Robotics Corp. and Westell to advance broadband service interoperability by defining an architecture for point-to-point protocol (PPP) over asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) over asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). A white paper on the topic,
“An Interoperable End-to-End Broadband Service Architecture over ADSL Systems,”
is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/isp/supercomm/ ,Microsoft’s SUPERCOMM Web site. The goal of the high-speed access collaboration is to speed ADSL deployment by defining a scalable, standards-based architecture. This blueprint is designed to meet the needs of infrastructure providers as well as the ease-of-use and quality-of-service goals of customers.

The multivendor, open approach provides flexibility for carriers and enterprise customers and provides a clear development path for independent software vendors. A key objective for the consortium is the adoption of the architecture by standards bodies in this area. Broadband technologies such as ADSL are important to businesses and residential customers, due to the increased dependency of the users on the Internet. This wide Internet use provides tremendous demand and thus opportunity for the services offered by carriers, ISPs and other service providers. At the same time, customers are demanding high-speed access at both corporate and residential locations. Higher-speed access becomes critical as businesses of all sizes consider how to use the Internet to reach new or more targeted markets and to provide effective telecommuting and home office opportunities for employees, as well as for consumers using the Internet as a new source of information, entertainment and education.

ADSL technology, which utilizes the existing copper telephone wiring that serves virtually all homes and businesses, will enable customers to interact with data networks and the Internet at speeds up to 150 times faster than today’s most advanced 56Kbps modems will allow. Since the technology uses a new frequency range on existing phone lines, customers will be able to make and receive telephone calls at the same time they use their data connection. Basing this architecture on the PPP and ATM is important because PPP is the standard for Internet access and remote connectivity (telecommuting). ATM is being used in the core network of public network operators.

“This is a collaborative effort by Microsoft and industry associates to enhance high-speed access to the Internet and corporate networks,”
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president, consumer platforms group at Microsoft.
“Microsoft has worked extensively on developing practical and implementable networking standards, including ADSL, to provide high-bandwidth access to remote users.”

Service provider and standards body leaders added their support to the value of emerging ADSL technology.

“GTE’s experience with ADSL from our various trials has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are convinced that both business and residential customers will benefit from using ADSL,”
said Lew Wilks, president of the new national sales, service and marketing unit at GTE Corp.
“We applaud Microsoft and the other companies that have teamed up to proactively advance ADSL deployment by defining a scalable architecture that balances the needs of our infrastructure and customer applications.”

“This collaboration among industry leaders confirms the viability of ADSL for a variety of home and business services,”
said John Shelnutt of the board of directors for the ADSL Forum.
“The ADSL Forum is working in conjunction with software vendors, equipment manufacturers and service providers to ensure rapid and easy adoption of ADSL services. As a result, we foresee widespread deployment by the end of 1998.”

“To speed deployment of ADSL, services vendors need to provide ADSL solutions that fit into the existing infrastructure,”
said Tom Starr, a senior technical staff member at Ameritech.
“We must work with the protocols used by our customers and service providers. Equally important is the scalability of the architecture to provide enhanced bandwidth and tiered service.”


Alcatel’s activities in North America include the design, manufacture and service of a full line of voice, data, video and multimedia telecommunications products, such as ATM switching systems, digital cross-connects, DSL systems, fiber-optic transmission systems, optical amplifiers, microwave radios, wireless communications switches, video codecs and network management systems. The telecommunications and broadcast industries, private operators and corporations use these products to create high-performance networks. In recent months, Alcatel has signed contracts with Ameritech, BellSouth Corp., Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell in the United States, Singapore Telecom in Singapore, Telia in Sweden and others to provide its 1000 ADSL system. The global operations of Alcatel make it one of the world’s leading communications equipment manufacturers. Alcatel is part of the Alcatel Alsthom group, which maintains its headquarters in Paris. Alcatel Alsthom trades on the New York Stock Exchange as ALA. Its Web site can be viewed at (http://www.alcatel.com/) .

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at (http://www.cisco.com/) .

FORE Systems

) is a worldwide leader in the design, deployment, manufacture and sale of high-performance networking products based on ATM technology. FORE offers the most comprehensive ATM product line available today, including ForeRunner switches and adapter cards, PowerHub LAN switches, CellPath WAN multiplexers for ATM connectivity, ForeThought Internetworking Software, ForeView Network Management Software, and a line of ATM video-distribution and videoconferencing products. FORE has delivered ATM and LAN switching solutions to more than 4,000 customers, including Fortune 500 companies, telecommunications service providers, government agencies, research institutions and universities.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

U.S. Robotics

U.S. Robotics is one of the world’s leading suppliers of products and systems that provide access to information. The company designs, manufactures, markets and supports remote access servers and concentrators, enterprise communications systems, desktop/mobile client products and modems, and telephony products that connect computers and other equipment over analog, digital and switched cellular networks, enabling users to gain access to, manage and share data, fax, voice and multimedia information. Its customers include Internet service providers, regional Bell operating companies, interexchange carriers and a wide range of other large and small businesses, institutions and individuals.


Westell (NASDAQ
) is a leading innovator of DSL systems, with corporate headquarters in Aurora, Ill. Westell’s DSL systems are currently being used by more than 100 customers in over 30 countries around the world that include Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, Bell Canada, BT, GTE, MCI Telecommunications Inc., NYNEX Corp., US West and leading Internet service providers. In addition to developing and manufacturing DSL and telecommunication access products, Westell also owns Conference Plus Inc., a multipoint telecommunications service bureau specializing in audio teleconferencing, multipoint videoconferencing, broadcast fax and multimedia teleconference services. Additional information on Westell can be obtained by visiting its Web site at (http://www.westell.com/) .

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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