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McDonnell-Douglas’ Tymnet Corp has introduced a low-end, advanced packet switch that incorporates the intelligence of a Tymnet Engine communications processor into a desktop unit and has also enhanced existing hardware products to improve price-performance. The MD 7408 is a new, compact, high-performance com-unications processor designed for sites with limited access requirements. The switch incorporates packet-switching and packet assembler- disassembler functions and supports X25, SNA/HDLC, 3270 bi-sync and asynchronous data traffic. It comes with eight communications ports and has 1Mb memory. The new switch is claimed to be the only product in its price range that offers local switching – linking terminals and personal computers to local hosts without them first being routed through a data network. Tymnet says that because it can offer a direct link to local devices, the MD 7408 can offer more efficient transmission and quicker response time. It is aimed at small branch offices that need multiple protocol conversion with a limited number of ports. As an example, a bank branch may need SNA/SDLC to run the automatic teller machine, 3270 bi-sync for host applications and an asynchronous link for electronic mail applications. A memory backup option is available to protect the unit from power disruption. The MD 7408 is scheduled for beta test in January 1988. Tymnet also introduced an enhanced board-level product, called CPU III, that it claims will boost throughput of Tymnet Engine communications processors by at least 20%. It claims that when the product is coupled with the recently introduced MAC III Engine Accelerator Kit, overall throughput can be increased by as much as 100%. The CPU III compresses multiple board functionality, such as CPU and ROM input-output, into a single board. This degree of integration enables Tymnet to offer the functionality of its Supervisor, an intelligent node offering dynamic routing of data through a network, on its Tymnet Mini- Engines. Tymnet’s new Configuration Management Facility is a menu-driven system that enables users to configure and generate their own network software within a Tymnet private network.

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