Many schools now possess different types of computer and want networks which cater for all their computers. To topple this technological Tower of Babel, Acorn is to release a product called OmniClient, which allows any Acorn Archimedes computer to make use of the facilities of non-Acorn fileservers, with full password control, across Ethernet networks.
The initial release will support connections to a range of network types - NT Server, Lan Manager (enabling links to RM networks), Windows for Workgroups and NFS (Unix) systems - as well as the integration of current Acorn network server systems. A later update is expected to allow connectivity to NetWare and AppleTalk. It thus becomes feasible for a single school network to support all the computer types found in education.
A whole range of Acorn network products is being released at the same time. Access Release 2 contains all the necessary components for a simple peer-to-peer network system, including Ethernet card, cabling and connectors. A simple Access network would consist of a computer with a hard disc plus a number of other computers which, when linked, can share that hard disc, loading and saving files from it as appropriate.
Access+ offers all the facilities of Access Release 2 with the addition of more security features and the ability to use CD-Rom across a large cross-site network. Whereas Access Release 2 is supplied with cabling and connectors for thin Ethernet cabling (10base2), Access+ leaves the choice of Ethernet system to the purchaser.
It is increasingly common for schools to install twisted-pair Ethernet (10baseT), and Acorn has seen the wisdom of catering for this. The additional security features, including password control, make Access+ a more suitable system for secondary schools where the integrity of shared files can be a problem. Intertalk is a product which will provide electronic mail (e-mail) facilities for Acorn A-series computers, both on-site and off-site, through the Internet system of international computer networks.
New fileserver software being developed by Digital Services and called Nucleus can be regarded to all intents and purposes as a "Level 5", though it is far more than that. It incorporates a new filing system which is similar to ADFS but allows new features such as long filenames (overcoming the 10-character limit), access to very large capacity hard discs and additional file attributes enabling files to be set as "execute only" (ie, they may not be copied to a user's disc).
In addition to the CD-Rom sharing facilities incorporated in the new Access products, CD Server (Digital Services) and CDNet (Cumana) allow the accessing of CD-Rom across standard networks. The speed of these systems is impressive as they use both disc and memory caches to offer users the maximum performance.
Acorn - stands 241, 440, SN15
Cumana - stands 343, SN21
Digital Services - stand 441