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An alliance has been formed to try to promote Token Ring as a technology for large mission-critical applications. It is called the Alliance for Strategic Token Ring Advancement and Leadership, ASTRAL, and founder members include 3Com Corp, Bay Networks, Bytex Corp, Cabletron Systems Inc, Centillion, Chipcom Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, Madge Networks NV, Olicom A/S, Proteon Inc, Racore Inc, Standard Microsystems Corp, Texas Instruments Inc, Xircom Inc and XPoint Technology Inc. The group was formed with several aims in mind. On a general level it plans to try to eliminate market confusion about the future of the technology by providing educational programmes highlighting users’ migration options and by clarifying migration paths to Asynchronous Transfer Mode, local area network emulation of Asynchronous Mode and Token Ring switching. More specifically, it will try and encourage the rapid adoption of a specification for switched Token Ring by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer’s 802.5 committee. To broaden the base of its support, the Alliance says it will also try and encourage other Token Ring vendors to join up.

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