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Technology / AI and automation


Ex-deputy chief executive of Plessey and chairman of its Telecommunications and Office Systems Ltd division Frank Chorley yesterday launched a new company, called 3 Net Ltd, to cater for the SNA, X25 and ISDN interface markets for private voice and data networks. We estimate that there are around 2,500 private data networks in the UK and 1,500 private voice networks. Some 1,500 of those have separate voice and data networks, leaving a big market to sew up. 3 Net has taken on exclusive distributorship of SNA gateway products from US company Netlink Inc of Raleigh, North Carolina, called the SNA-hub and SNA-gate. The products, which have been marketed for about a year in the US, have yet to penetrate the US market but Netlink aims for an 8% share of the US market and 3 Net for about a 6% share of the UK market. The SNA-hub is a network concentrator which acts as a front end processor and cluster controller routing information from A to B, and fits into SNA networks between the host computer and the rest of the network. It allows different terminals on the same cluster to access different host under full network control. 3 Net says that it will develop Token Ring-compatible and X25 links from the product in the next year to two years. The SNA-gate acts as a gateway to dial-up, leased, multi-point and point to point asynchronous and bisynchronous non-SNA machines. A typical 10-port SNA-gate costs around UKP4,000. The company’s other aim is to develop ISDN interface products around bought-in components in about two years time, sub-contracting manufacturing and testing outside the company. 3 Net is venture capital-funded to the tune of UKP1.3m with the remaining 35% of the company held by directors. Venture capital comes from Advent, BBHQ and Provincial. The company aims for UKP500,000 in revenues by the end of 1987 and UKP2m by the end of its second year. Managing director of the new company and ex-managing director of the Network Technology Ltd unit of ITL, Trevor Sokell, sees profits by its third year.

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