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TCP-group 1991

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Grace boards - Purpose/Cost

> I'm not sure I understand something; why couldn't I just build a nice
> 8530 card that DMA's?  I could certainly build one that can keep up with
> 56 Kbaud, shouldn't be that hard ... an interface card that costs more
> than the computer seems a little hard to swallow.

> (Then again, I'm a cheapskate -- my friend Jim and I are building our
> own DRSI cards because we know it'll cost less than $50 in parts!)


        If your intention is to casually access the network at speeds of
        ~56 kb as a high speed network user, then PC card with DMA is
        a very reasonable approach, since you would theoretically be using
        your PC for other things at other times.  However, if you intent is
        to build a high speed packet SWITCH, then the PC platform would
        probably be in service 7 x 24, and therefore not be of much value
        as a PC.  In this situation, the PackeTen solution is not just
        an interface card, it IS the computer which is performing the
        packet switching functions, and doing so with much higher performance
        and link capacity than a dedicated PC.  The PC compatible version of
        the card is designed to allow sites to perform switching functions
        without intervention from the PC, thereby freeing it for use in other
        applications.  If your intent is to build a remote switch site,
        however, the standalone version of the card provides a complete
        packet switch without the need for the PC and it's attendant mechanical
        pieces, thereby reducing power requirements, and increasing reliability
        since it has no moving mechanicals,(Disks) or VDT's.

        I'm an advocate of homebrew as much as anyone, after all that's
        how I got involved with this project in the first place.  I wanted
        the most cost effective solution possible to address what I saw as a
        growing problem.  I believe that short of designing and prototyping
        your own similar system, you will not be able to produce a system
        with similar capabilities for anywhere close to the cost of a PackeTen.

        In short, the PackeTen is NOT for everyone, However, I believe that it
        is the best solution available today for development of tomorrow's
        packet switch network.

        BTW, stay tuned, in the near future, there'll be new stuff to talk
        about that addresses the needs of the high speed network user.

        Don - N4PCR

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