Univation Inc of Milpitas, California has appointed Kobe Steel of Japan as the exclusive distributor for its entire product line in Japan, with non-exclusive distribution rights in other Pacific Rim countries. The Univation product line-up includes the LifeNet network operating system, which incorporates the company’s database engine; the LifeServer series of network file servers; and the LifeLink/Ethernet network interface boards. The five year agreement is worth $2.5m, Univation estimates, and calls for a shedule of cash payments, options and royalties, although actual value will depend on future decisions and results. Kobe will translate the LifeNet operating system into Japanese and will port it to the NEC 9800 and IBM 5550 personal computer families. Univation has also launched a new version of its Ethernet interface card for LifeNet, NetWare and TCP/IP and claims that networks running Novell Advanced NetWare are 25% faster than under the previous product. Called Lifelink/Ethernet, the product comprises a new board design and a new VLSI custom array to reduce the board size and the part count. The custom chip replaces 19 separate components, and the software drivers for Novell NetWare have been tuned for faster performance. A NetBIOS option is also available for LifeLink; LifeLink incorporates 16Kb of dual port memory reserved for multiple packet buffering, to enhance high speed multi-user network operations. The LifeLink interface board occupies one, half-length expansion slot in XT or AT bus machines.