Sagesoft Plc has announced a product that it claims will turn networking on its head. According to the Newcastle personal computer software company’s managing director David Goldman, SageNet is the cheapest network ever launched, yet it does not compromise the level of feature and performance expected by business user. As reported briefly (CI No 773). For an initial outlay of UKP299, the user receives two IBM Personal-compatible communications boards, two plugs, labels, a manual and a 15 foot cable for linking the stations. Each additional pack, including one board and a cable costs UKP149. In all, a total of 63 stations up to 600 feet apart can be connected, although not more than 10 can access a multi-user application simultaneously. Unlike most of its competitors, SageNet does not require a dedicated file server. Designed and developed by Sinclair Research spin-out Alfa Systems Ltd, SageNet uses a non-standard architecture – to cut costs – but it does support IBM’s NetBIOS. Marketing director Tom Maxfield, says there is no catch with SageNet. It requires no installation, just plug-in and go – the software is fully self-loading. SageNet runs at 1Mbit-per-second and includes printer sharing, remote disk access, password protection, mail between stations and file transfer. It takes up 128Kb of the micro’s main memory. Sagesoft, best known in the communications arena for its Chit-Chat electronic mail package, took over UKP250,000 worth of advance orders for the product ahead of the launch, but it is unlikely to have the field to itself in the cheap networking environment for too long. Novell is rumoured to be ready with a similar offering at UKP599 for four users – UKP1 more than a four-user SageNet costs – and Apricot’s networking solution is to include an Omninet interface in each of its newest machines.
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