High Speed Token Ring (HSTR) is here. The question is does anyone care?
Olicom last week predicted it would have at least a two to three month break on its token ring competitors when it announced it is shipping the first HSTR networking solutions. The 100Mbps Token Ring file server adapter and the two-port HSTR uplink module for its CrossFire 8600 Token Ring switch are both now available.
But with law firm Freehill Hollingdale and Page recently publicly stating it would be the latest in a line of high-profile Australian users to ditch token ring, many resellers and integrators may be left questioning whether there is any life at all in the market.
However, Olicom's vice president for Asia- Pacific, Prem Athwal, claims HSTR will revitalise the token ring market.
"HSTR delivers exactly what today's CIO needs to continue making strategic investments in their existing token ring networks," he said.
"It is the safest and easiest way to upgrade a token ring network and will play a pivotal role in protecting the significant technology investments already made by the Global 1000, while ensuring minimal disruptions to the existing LAN and existing applications."
Athwal sees the technology initally as being useful in reducing bottlenecks between servers and switches. It can be used as a backbone technology, but Olicom still recommends ATM as its backbone technology of choice.
Desktop technology soon
Olicom also believes that as HSTR prices come down, it will become a desktop technology, particularly for power users or power workgroups. To facilitate that, next to roll off the Olicom product line will be an 8/16/100Mbps Autosensing adapter.
Athwal said the aim of Olicom's ClearStep strategy is to give token ring users the ability to choose what technologies they feel are best suited for different parts of their network and then provide the ability to bring that together into a single seamless network.
Olicom expects being first to market will mean that users will be able to trial its technology and then deploy it when they decide it is necessary.