Logitek Computers, one of the three newly-formed arms of Logitek Distribution Ltd, has been chosen by San Jose, California-based Icot Corp to distribute its OmniPath range of Token Ring-to-IBM mainframe communication products in the UK. Icot, which was originally known for its airline reservation terminals and controllers, claims that both the single user and gateway products are the first to offer full inherent support for IBM’s NetView network management system, and take up significantly less memory than competitors. The single user OmniPath Token Ring/PC uses the 802.2 token ring protocol directly to communicate at 4Mbps or 16Mbps with an IBM host either through Token Ring Interface Couplers or Token Ring Adaptors.
Supporting a maximum of five windowed host sessions, OmniPath Token Ring/PC uses Icot’s RAMiser memory management tool to bring memory requirements down to 40Kb. OmniPath Token Ring Gateway supports up to 128 simultaneous sessions on a number of terminals – with OmniPath, each terminal can also support up to five gateways for communicating with multiple hosts or for providing hot back-up facilities. Ksaver and Ksaver XL memory saving options are also offered with the gateway versions. Bob Cushing, Icot International marketing communications manager, reckons that the OmniPath line has a number of advantages over its IBM rival, the PC/3270 emulator, not least because it includes support for IBM NetView: with PC/3270, NetView support is provided only as an extra, which, in the US, could cost another $2,000. What’s more, although Cushing admits that PC/3270 is very reliable, he argues that installation is difficult and memory requirement is around 120Kb. And while the PC/3270 is sold on a strict per personal computer basis, OmniPath is priced by the Logical Unit – in other words, by the concurrent session – that is supported. Available now, OmniPath Token Ring PC costs a recommended UKP500, the Token Ring Gateway starts at UKP2,000 and rises to UKP10,000 – group marketing director of Logitek Plc, Dave Moran, says these prices will be negotiable. Distributors are having a hard time at the moment, with tough competition bringing margins well down – all the more surprising, then, that Wokingham, Berkshire-based Logitek Distribution, which hopes to announce sales for the year of over UKP70m shortly, reckons its margins are up 2% on last year. According to Moran, the decision not to participate in the price war was a conscious one that, as long as revenue stays above a certain level, will prove successful. He agreed that it had resulted in some loss of revenue, mainly from large accounts, but he argued that Logitek did not have to rely on big customers, many of whom were late payers and were excessively demanding in post-sale support and service: in his words, you give them the shirt of your back, but after that they want your jacket and trousers as well.