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  1. Technology
February 5, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

3Net Ltd, System Wizards SRL, Nixdorf Computer AG and University College London are to begin work on a project backed by the European Strategy Programme for Research and Development in Information Technology, Esprit, in an attempt to evolve ISDN support for Open Systems Interconnection services in office environments. The three-year project, entitled Primary Rate ISDN/OSI Office Facilites, Proof, hopes to have a message and document handling service using a combination of Ethernet networks connected by gateways across ISDN networks. The team will first research within the framework of open standards, attempting to upgrade primary rate capabilities of available PABXs to achieve ISDN circuit bandwidths beyond 64Kbps. It then hopes to develop a gateway that uses these PABX capablities to interconnect Open Systems-conformant office-based local area networks, terminals and servers via primary rate ISDN, and the addition of a primary rate interface to a Unix server. The gateway will be developed to provide connection between an ISDN PABX to an Ethernet local network, with the potential to connect to other local and packet switched wide area networks. The project also hopes to come up with an extension of the Open Systems environment to an external server and workstations connected to a gateway via the ISDN PABX. Basingstoke, Hampshire-based 3Net is embarking on the project in the hope of developing its networking infrastructure and local network tools towards European standards; it says that without Esprit, such efforts would not have got off the ground, and hopes for interim products next year in local networks and gateways. For its part Nixdorf hopes its Munich work will benefit the company’s PABX offerings, while Ivrea, Italy-based software house System Wizards will work on a number of software applications for the project. Esprit aims to further European collaboration through funding of pre-competitive research projects; the Proof project is part of the second round Esprit II funding programme, following completion of the first, begun in 1984.

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