N.E.T. introduces frame-relay products

N.E.T. Inc. hopes to improve its standing in the frame-relay market with a new set of products that will reduce the per-port cost of frame relay over the company's IDNX switch by 50 percent.

Sandy Orlando, N.E.T.'s manager of internetworking products, said the company has developed an entirely new frame-relay product line, including a new software module, a processor card and a network management package. The latest edition of N.E.T. FrameXpress products will cut port costs from about $1,600 per port using previous technology, down to $541 per port with T-1 access, she said.

Orlando added that the new products, which began shipping last week, support up to 47 frame-relay ports per module, up from a maximum of eight ports using the company's older technology.

"Network managers in the federal government are finding they have to do more with less," she said. "Our frame-relay products are designed to do that by improving transmission and bandwidth efficiencies."

Linda Gibson, director of new business at N.E.T. Federal, said her office is in the process of adding the new products to the company's Air Force AFNet contract and to its General Services Administration schedule contract.

Gibson said prices on federal contracts for the new products will be significantly lower than commercial prices. She said N.E.T. officials had not yet determined those prices.

Consultant Steven Taylor, president of Distributed Network Associates, a Greensboro, N.C., consulting company, said the new products should appeal to federal users who want to add frame relay to their time-division multiplexing capabilities in which bandwidth is permanently allocated to a specific connection.

"There's a very good installed base of N.E.T. T-1 muxes in the federal government," Taylor said. "This announcement allows those users to move from time-

division multiplexing products to also having frame-relay capabilities.

"Frame relay allows you to pull that bandwidth so a number of applications have access to that bandwidth," Taylor continued.

Orlando said the new system runs more efficiently due to a new operating system supporting multiple tasks and operations, new distributed processing capabilities and increased memory.

She added that a new version of N.E.T.'s frame-relay network management software, FrameXpress Node Manager, will give managers a graphical user interface to simplify configuration, management and control of FrameXpress networks. FrameXpress Node Manager is based on Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView network management platform.

The new FrameXpress software, FRX 2.03, sells commercially for $950, and the accompanying PX-3 packet processor card with 16 internal ports is priced at $14,750, although customers upgrading by Sept. 30 from PX-2 or PX Plus cards receive credits of $1,500 and $2,700 respectively. FrameXpress Node Manager 2.03 starts at $10,000.

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