Cisco plans alternative to High Speed Token Ring

Cisco plans alternative to High Speed Token Ring

After years of waiting, token ring users finally have options for moving to higher bandwidth - and more tools are on the way.

IBM last week announced an autosensing 4/16/100Mbps token ring network interface card (NIC) based on the nearly complete High Speed Token Ring (HSTR) standard, expected to reach final approval by year's end.

Olicom is shipping an HSTR switch uplink and a 100Mbps NIC, and Madge also has HSTR products in the works.

But Cisco is following on their heels with its Inter-Switch Link (ISL) technology, which can tunnel token ring frames through Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet connections. Cisco has licensed Znyx to build a server NIC that supports token ring tunnelling through ISL.

Znyx will add the adapter to its NetBlaster line by year's end and will ship a four-port version in the first quarter of 1999, officials said. The NIC for the first time will allow enterprises to connect token ring servers to token ring or Ethernet switches using ISL.

Michael Howard, president of Infonetics Research in California, said ISL may not appear to be the most elegant solution but will not require a major overhaul.

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