PC Card modem makers diverge on card types

PC Card modem makers diverge on card types

3Com's Xjack reconfigures for LAN or dial-up on the fly, and Xircom's RealPort 2 cards snap together

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

PC Card modem makers are experimenting with new ways to simplify going online with notebook computers.

The Megahertz 10/100 LAN+56Kbps Global Modem CardBus card from 3Com Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., has a new Xjack pop-out connector that automatically reconfigures itself for LAN or dial-up mode.

The $269 modem-Ethernet card for portables running Microsoft Windows 9x and NT 4.0 is Windows 2000-ready, said Sylvio Jelovcich, senior director of product marketing for 3Com's modem unit in Salt Lake City.

The 3Com Megahertz card has a configuration manager to shift from modem to LAN connector automatically.

He said the Xjack has a new feature set and greater speed in WAN use. 'If you went overseas,' Jelovcich said, 'you used to have to configure the modem for dial-up rules overseas, then put in calling card data. Now you can have all the steps into one configuration manager and reconfigure everything down to your default printer.'

More information about the card appears on the Web at www.3com.com/mobile.

Xircom Inc. of Thousand Oaks, Calif., plans a RealPort 2 line of modems that snap together with other RealPort 2 cards to make standard dial-up, Ethernet, Integrated Services Digital Network, digital subscriber line, European Global System for Mobile, Japanese Personal Digital Cellular and short-wave Bluetooth connections.

A combination 56-Kbps modem and 10/100-Mbps Ethernet RealPort 2 card, priced at $356, is available now, as are other modems for Ethernet and 56-Kbps connections. Details are posted at www.xircom.com/realport2.

Frank Gerstenberger, a Xircom product line manager, said the RealPort2 Integrated PC Card 'is our take at personalization of communications products in the notebook space.' The original RealPort merged modem and LAN adapter functions in one Type II PC Card that had a Type III-mounted series of connections.

That eliminated dongle authenticators and damage to pop-out jacks, he said, but users were concerned that the RealPort's modem might become obsolete before its Ethernet connector did.

'We needed a way to integrate connectors that would enable users to build customized access,' Gerstenberger said.


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