Printed on 31-05-2013 16:12:12
Publisher Arnoldo Mondadori – Mondadori’s Company Archive
Magazine…. Pc Week
Publication Date …. 01/21/1988
Publication Number…. 0002
Page Number…. 0014
Summary…. Two innovative products for linking the micro mini’s and for the emulation of Ms Dos on Dec terminals.
Author…. Roberto Mazzoni
Computer…. Topics
Type…. Analysis
Places …. Italy USA North America Area-Nato
Subjects…. Virtual Lan Microsystem Research distributor
Creation Date …. 03/03/1988



The Network Coprocessor and At / bridge arrive in Italy. Let’s see the characteristics and distributor price.

Main Article Text

Virtual Microsystems arrives in Italy through the distribution of Lan Research, a company formed by the Lifeboat Associates group which specializes in the installation of local networks. Network Coprocessor and At Bridge are the two flagship products of this new arrival serving respectively, to connect local Net 10 area networks to the minicomputer equipment of Digital while also bringing to the Digital Vt 100 120 terminals applications in the Ms Dos world. The Network Coprocessor is a card that is installed on Vax or MicroVax, incorporating an 80286 processor at 8 MHz and a megabyte of RAM. It allows for the sharing of printers and disk drives connected to the mini and emulation of the Vt 100,220 terminals. On one’s personal computer, one can simultaneously open a Ms Dos window a VMS window (the operating system of Vax) while exchanging data between the two, provided that the respective formats allow for this. The ability to connect is not limited to 10-Net Fox but also embraces 3Com Ethernet networks and Ibm Pc Network. The ‘entire network management is entrusted to the Network Coprocessor whose price, for the MicroVax2version, is 18 million lire in addition to an extra 4 million lire for the ability to handle five VMS sessions simultaneously on a local network, that does not exceed ten workstations. The price increases to 45 million lire for the model capable of handling 25 terminals, at the same time, on large local networks: over two hundred nodes. The At Bridge, is instead, a product with an innovative concept, in fact, instead of transforming the personal computer into a terminal, it transforms a passive terminal type Vt xxx into a smart personal computer. This curious metamorphosis is possible thanks to the installation in the mini equipment from Digital, of a system capable of containing one or more coprocessor cards, each with a 80286 microprocessor at 8 MHz and 1 MB of Ram. Typically, Vax system users work on the mini about 80% of the time and only occasionally have the need to access Ms Dos applications. Thanks to At Bridge, one can benefit from the vast amount of software available for the personal computer, using advantageously the fleet of terminals already installed. This solution also leads to savings for software expenses. Indeed, instead of providing each user a copy of the program, one need only acquire the ability to use one license for each coprocessor card mounted in At Bridge that can be accessed by different terminals. Each coprocessor develops a power of about 3-4 Mips that adds to the inherent power of Vax. If the terminals are very numerous and want to have Ms Dos several sessions consecutively, there are multiprocessor configurations (up to 7 cards for At Bridge). A uniprocessor system capable of managing up to five terminals is priced at 7,200,000 lire. The computer version of Digital Series 7700 is priced at 9 million lire with a single processor, and 13.5 million lire with three processors and 36 million lire with 7 processors. Lan Research, via Frua 14, Milano, tel.02 4390187.

Roberto Mazzoni