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April 13, 1992

NETCOMM ASYNCHRONOUS TRANSFER MODE SWITCH AIMED AT PRIVATE NETWORKS

By CBR Staff Writer

Basildon, Essex-based manufacturer Netcomm Ltd will unveil a prototype of an Asynchronous Transfer Mode switch this summer. Designed for building private networks, the DV2 switch – small by comparison with most other asynchronous transfer offerings will be going into beta test sites in the second half of the year and should be available in production quantities around December, according to the company’s managing director Richard Barnett. As always, price depends on configuration, but fully-configured, a unit with 16 controller cards will cost around #60,000. A variety of controller boards will be available, each of which will offer different interfaces to the switch – such as frame relay, Ethernet or Synchronous Digital Hierarchy. Also under development are boards conforming to the 100Mbps local fibre link, the new Asynchronous Transfer Mode-to-the-desk standard being worked on the by the ATM forum. The forum, a group of some 68 companies, is defining a user-network interface for the local link, and should have a draft version ready for publication just before the Interop show, which starts on May 20. The group is basing the local fibre link on permanent virtual circuit technology in an effort to simplify the electronics and keep down costs. Work on switched virtual circuits will follow later. But how many people really want broadband ISDN type services to their desktop? Barnett admits that the market is still niche, but it maintains that research into multimedia workstations is crying out for practical asynchronous transfer implementations. Alternatively, he is hoping that the switch will spark the interest of network operators, who will need access nodes to connect users with their nascent B-ISDN networks.

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