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April 15, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Case Communications Plc has entered the X25 packet switching market with four products collectively called Series 8000, as building blocks for private packet networks. Managing director Barry Finton says the company has invested UKP2m to UKP3m in the X25 market, which he claims is growing at some 25% per year. Independent market researchers agree that private packet switched networks are set to be the highest growth sector of the data communications marketplace in Europe over the next few years. The products launched were the Case-developed 8500 packet switching exchange, the 8300 mini-switch, the 8200 synchronous PAD packet assembler-disassemblers, and an enhanced 8160 asynchronous PAD. The 8500 exchange, based on Motorola 68000 microprocessors and a 70Mb bus contains up to 64 ports on 16 interface modules able to operate at up to 64Kbps. Throughput is currently 800 packets per second to be increased to 1,000 packets per second on a fully configured system. The company is competing here with some stiff competition in the form of Dynatech and particularly Telematics International, which has been selling its X25 switches, with particular success in Europe, for around 18 months. The Case 8500 costs between UKP15,000 and UKP45,000 depending on configuration. The 8300 mini switch acts as a feeder to the backbone network and was developed for the company by TSL. Like a local area network, it enables multiple units to be connected around a site to computers, using Ethernet or Cheapernet. The 8200 synchronous PAD was developed by Zurich-based Xmit and enables proprietary protocols, initially IBM bi-sync, SDLC or 2780/3780 batch to access X25 networks. It supports three low speed synchronous channels at up to 19.2Kbps as well as a single X25 composite operating at up to 64Kbps. The 8160 PAD gives access for up to eight asynchronous channels on a single X25 link. The products will be launched in continental Europe in September and in the US in 1988. France is a big X25 market and Case is looking, in particular, at its 13,000-strong user base of installed DCX message systems, for growth.

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