With an eye toward driving down the overall cost of remote access and simplifying network management, Ascend Communications Inc. has updated its routers with new configuration utilities and software.
Ascend rolled out its Java-Based Pipeline Configurator utility, which helps untangle the often complicated process of configuring router devices, and released a Max Stack, which enables multiple remote access concentrators to function as a single device for incoming Multilink Point-to-Point Protocol calls.
Through the Java-Based Pipeline Configurator, a network administrator can configure an Ascend Pipeline router from a PC running Windows 95 or Windows NT as well as over an Ethernet connection.
Prior to this utility, IS managers had to configure each device through a VT100 terminal and serial cable, a process that involved command-line interfaces and proved more costly, officials said. "Line-by-line configuration utilities were cryptic, and you needed to be a rocket scientist to do it," said Bert Forbes, Ascend product line manager in Alameda, Calif. "Now users can configure their routers in a graphical Windows environment."
The utility works with Ascend's Pipeline 25-Px, Pipeline 25-Fx, and the Pipeline 50 and 75 routers. By mid-January, the utility also will support Macintosh and Unix operating systems.
For dealing with incoming calls that require greater bandwidth, Ascend's Max Stack will allocate additional bandwidth via unused channels from any device in a concentrator's stack. The feature is available in Software Release 4.6C, which includes Ascend's Max 1800, 2000, 4000, 4002 and 4004 concentrators.
In other Ascend announcements:
Stack software to route IP and IPX traffic is now bundled for free with Pipeline routers. MaxLink Pro works with Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, NT and Macintosh operating systems.
Ascend's central site products will support Rockwell Semiconductor Systems Inc.'s K56Plus 56K-bps modem technology. The support, due in the first quarter, will allow users to dial in at 56K bps.
All products will be available through distributors.
Ascend is at www.ascend.com.