We are trying to determine the best (and least expensive) way to connect
a remote Unix (Sun) workstation to an ethernet network using TCP/IP. We have
a need for a permanent synchronous (leased-line) connection that will allow the
remote workstation to function as though it were connected directly to the
local network coax. A dialup connection is not adequate - we need a 24-hour
The link will be supporting ascii and binary messages going mostly *to* the
remote system, with an occasional message coming *from* the remote system, both
via TCP/IP sockets. The i/o rate will be fairly low most of the time (an
interactive administrative application that sends requests and gets status
results). Very infrequently (once or twice a week), the link requires a
download of an ascii file between 50K and 1MB in size.
I am only vaguely familiar with leased-lines, bridges, routers, and SLIP, and
know nothing about point-to-point protocol. My questions are:
1) What are the alternatives for connecting a remote workstation *directly
to an ethernet network* (i.e., not through a local serial port or internal
bus card on a workstation)? I realize that a serial port solution appears
to be much cheaper, but they make the remote connection totally dependent
on the local workstation, and we'd like to avoid that (redundancy, etc.).
I am looking for product and company names, descriptions, pricing and
supported communication links that will meet this requirement.
2) What is point-to_point protocol? Is it a replacement for SLIP? Are these
protocols independent of the nature of the phone link (synchronous vs.
3) Does anyone know what "Basic Rate" (ISDN standard) is? It appears to be
a synchronous-type link that is fairly standard outside the U.S.
4) Will our existing software, written to use TCP/IP socket connections, work
unchanged with these solutions?
I have contacted Telebit about their Netblazer product; it seems to be a viable
solution, but costs almost $4,000 per node ($8,000 for our setup, although we
may be able to use their Sbus synchronous card in the remote workstation, which
lowers the cost to $900 at one end). I talked to Microcom, but their bridge
requires a PC at each end and is priced around $6500 per node. I also saw a
posting here about Rockwell/CMC and their Nethopper, but it supports dialup
only (for $1995 per node).
For the record, this will be installed in Japan (both local network and remote
Thanks for any/all help/info you can provide. Please reply via email.
Rich Baughman / Boston Technology / Wakefield, MA