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Users let RBOC connect their LANs.

Deploy some wideband digital multiplexers, tie these together with fiber rings, provide access nodes that connect to commonly used LAN (local area network) protocols, and what do you have? The Ameritech LAN Interconnect Service, or ALIS, as this Midwest RBOC calls it.

ALIS appeared in February of this year and has successfully completed field trials at two Ameritech customers. Other regional Bells, including BellSouth, are announcing similar products.

At the beginning of March, Peoples Gas of Indianapolis became the first permanent user of ALIS.

"We are replacing the existing T1 connection between our main office and our Langsdale distribution and dispatch center about a mile away," Network Advisor Les Donceel tells Communications News.

"At the same time we are transferring the paper maps of our gas distribution system to a Digital Equipment Corp. computer graphics program. The complete system will be networked over ALIS including the Unisys mainframe, Novell LANs and the DEC system. Our long-term goal is for ALIS to help us use PC networks exclusively."

The field trials involving Ethernet and token ring have proved both the reliability and the utility of the new high-speed fiber network.

Wayne County, Mich., used ALIS during the trial phase.

"We interconnected the fiber Ethernet backbone LANs in our three-building Detroit information center with 10 Novell file servers, three SNA gateways and 250 nodes--all at 10 Mb/s," says Jeffrey L. Taylor, deputy director of the center.

"ALIS made central network administration feasible and practical for the first time. The center was able to add users, use a Novell LANalyzer for network monitoring, and provide central file server backup from a single location.

"The results met their expectations because they were able to manage their traffic more efficiently. The trials also enabled us to design-in several degrees of survivability," says ALIS project manager Anne Marie Marshall.

"It fits Wayne County's technology standards and direction," notes Edward McNamara, a Wayne County executive. "As a local unit of government it is important to identify and utilize technology that improves the productivity of the organization. We found that this service enhances our ability to provide better services to County residents."

"This was the first time a wideband, native rate LAN connection service has been made available to public network users on a customer-specific tariff basis," Marshall notes. "Since February of this year, our customers can negotiate service in any one of our six major metropolitan areas."

The high-speed, time division multiplexed ALIS backbone provides dedicated time slots at 4, 10 and 16 Mb/s. It can network up to eight LAN sites over a maximum data path distance of 50 to 100 km using 62.5/125 micron fiber. The system connects LANs on the same platform (Ethernet or token ring) in both two-point and multipoint configurations.

Protocol conversions at either end of the connection are accomplished by the customer's intermediate systems. When necessary, customers can employ LAN traffic segmentation (bridging or routing) to provide optimum usage.

Equipment is located in the telco room at the customer's premises and is remotely monitored by the network provider.

Until recently, most medium-sized users had few options other than going to leased T1 lines or frame relay to connect their LANS at native speeds.

Ameritech now offers more than 15 data connectivity products at speeds up to 200 Mb/s.

Perhaps this more forward-looking policy on the part of a major RBOC will encourage corporate computer network users to look more to common carriers to fill data networking needs.
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Title Annotation:Ameritech; local area networks; regional Bell operating company
Author:Stewart, Alan
Publication:Communications News
Date:May 1, 1993
Words:581
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