Network Designers Ltd has, as reported briefly (CI No 726), announced a low-cost network kit that will allow up to 255 personal computer users in groups of eight to share one connection to an IBM or ICL mainframe. The Garnet kit, supplied in four-and nine-user versions, consists of media access control units – each capable of linking eight PCs together – two twisted pair cabling, and modified versions of Network Designers’ Amethyst and Tangogate micro-to-mainframe software for connecting respectively to IBM SNA, under SNA/SDLC, and ICL IPA, under CO3, environments. PC-DOD machines on the network can communicate with the Personal acting as the mainframe gateway at up to 1Mbit-per-second, but the network does not provide them with any other resource-sharing facilities. The Amethyst and Tangogate products both provide interactive video displays and printer facilities, and both have optional file transfer capabilities. The four-user kit is UKP2,750 and, like the UKP3,700 nine-user version, is scheduled for delivery in September. David Parrick of Network Designers describes Garnet as a cheap alternative to a Novell network and forecasts that the product, which will be sold direct by the Oxfordshire company, will garner several hundred sales in its first year.