The San Jose, California-based Data and Video Communication Systems Division of NEC America Inc has launched a new family of servers aimed at the remote office environment. Christened Dr BonD – a semi-acronym for Bandwidth on Demand – the products are claimed to combine simultaneous local and wide area network functions, incorporating a dial-up routing feature claimed to bring cost advantages over the use of leased lines. Should a network failure occur in a primary dedicated routing connection, the product initiates public line connection transparently to the user. The company claims that this process is independent of the primary routers – providing protection from either link or router failure – and is pushing this feature as providing back-up for existing networks. This dial-up feature, the company claims, is enhanced through the use of the point-to-point protocol. The company says that the products are also able to provide communications from a terminal device to a host attached to the local network, and can be used to act as a remote terminal concentrator by enabling terminals in one location to connect in directly, and use a single wide area network connection to link back to the host. The products are TCP/IP and SPX/IPX software-compatible, provide built-in user ID, password or callback security features and built-in menu configuration capabilities. There are three models in the family, the -S, -ST and the -B. Both the -S and the -ST have four serial ports and three slots for optional communication boards, but while the S version has one Ethernet connection – with a choice of 10Base-T, 10Base-T2 or AUI – the ST has 12 10Base-T RJ45 jacks, claimed to give it full hub capability. The B version is being pitched at office headquarters or larger remote sites as a result of its greater processing power: it has seven expansion slots that can be configured to offer local net interface boards and serial port support boards. The products can be locally or remotely managed either using an SNMP-compliant system, or through the internetwork manager NEC says it will announce this month. US list prices range from $2,400 for the -S and -ST, and from $2,500 to $7,000 for the -B, dependant on configuration. They are available now.
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