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WILTEL ANNOUNCES TURNKEY CHANNEL NETWORKING SERVICE WITH MIGRATION PATH TO ATM PLATFORM BY YEAR-END '93

 TULSA, Okla, March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- WilTel announced today it has signed service agreements with two prominent channel networking equipment vendors, allowing it to provide an immediate, turnkey channel networking service. The channel networking service will be initially launched over private line with a direct migration path to an ATM-based platform by the end of 1993.
 Computer Network Technology Corporation (CNT) and Network Systems Corporation (NSC), which together dominate the unlimited distance channel networking equipment market, have each signed separate agreements with WilTel to provide an integrated channel networking service.
 CNT and NSC are independently developing ATM channel networking equipment for operation in the WilTel ATM network.
 "Our intent is to offer a packaged solution that will solve problems in an end-to-end fashion, with a single point of contact, while also providing the most convenient migration path to the ATM platform WilTel will be deploying later this year," said Roy Wilkens, WilTel president and chief executive officer.
 WilTel's channel networking service will initially run on its current network. However, customers who have flexible bandwidth needs will be able to migrate to WilTel's ATM network by the end of 1993 in order to take advantage of the economy and flexibility of that platform
 "WilTel has a solid reputation for delivering real-world solutions for business through its various private line services and its WilPak public frame relay service," Wilkens said. "As the proliferation of technology choices continues, our approach is to provide customers with the appropriate technology - rather than just the latest technology - to solve their problems."
 The nation's largest companies are increasingly looking to channel extenders to run host-to-host, host-to-peripheral and host-to-LAN functions over wide areas. Applications include centralized or remote data storage, disaster recovery, LAN integration, distributed data processing, performance improvement of peripheral devices and geographic consolidation of operations.
 The channel networking market has been targeted for WilTel's first application of its ATM service because of requirements for high-speed connections, interoperability of equipment and flexibility of design. It also is a market segment with good growth potential.
 WilTel's channel networking service will offer customers a single, competitively priced, all-inclusive solution that includes all necessary hardware and transmission services. This includes the channel extender, multiplexers, CSUs/DSUs and local and long-distance transmission links.
 The offering also includes maintenance service through a single point of contact for any problems with the service, transmission or equipment. Customers will also benefit from having a single point of contact for ordering, engineering, installation and maintenance.
 The initial pricing structure will be based on an all-inclusive "per channel" basis, allowing customers to purchase the total package at a price lower than they would pay if they had to purchase and install all components separately. Each customer's configuration will be evaluated and priced according to their needs, considering such specifications as the number of channels and nodes, length of equipment lease, maintenance level and distance between data centers.
 As the channel networking service evolves to WilTel's ATM platform, customers will receive additional value in terms of performance, manageability and economics.
 ATM routing capabilities offers customers higher network reliability than current solutions. Also, WilTel's ATM network management system will give customers unprecedented control and visibility into the network, providing better control of customer resources. A number of attractive pricing and packaging options will be available.
 While customers can take advantage of WilTel's channel networking service via private line now, channel networking service on WilTel's ATM platform will be available to customers on a limited basis in the third quarter of 1993. It will be deployed on a fully commercial basis by the end of 1993.
 Computer Network Technology Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets high-speed channel networking systems for the interconnection of mainframe computers, data base computers, supercomputers, peripheral devices and LANs over unlimited distances. The company's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol CMNT.
 Network Systems Corporation is a leading supplier of CPU networking and channel extension products, as well as internetworking products, such as multiprotocol bridge routers. These products are supported by an extensive, worldwide field organization dedicated to installation, maintenance, training and service on-site. Network Systems is a financially strong organization with a large continuing investment in R&D, to provide evolving networking solutions.
 WilTel is a full-service telecommunications company that offers data, voice and video products and services nationwide. WilTel owns and operates a nationwide digital fiber-optic network, one of only four in the United States, with access to more than 30,000 system miles.
 WilTel has the only nationwide fiber-optic network dedicated primarily to business communications services. WilTel has sales and service offices in more than 100 cities nationwide.
 WilTel is one of The Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE: WMB), a $5 billion corporation based in Tulsa, Okla., that also operates a nationwide energy transportation system. The Williams Companies, Inc. is listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMB.
 -0- 3/22/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: For color 35 millimeter transparencies showing the configurations of WilTel's private-line and ATM-based channel networking services, please call the WilTel contacts listed.
 /CONTACT: Gil Broyles, 918-588-5752 (work) or 918-749-9161 (home) or Doug Anderson, manager, media relations, 612-550-8713 (work), both of Computer Network Technology: or Kevin Inda, 713-547-1014 (work) or 713-256-1607 (home) or Don Flanagan, director, public relations, 612-424-1555, both of Network Systems Corporation/
 (WMB)


CO: WilTel; The Williams Companies, Inc. ST: Oklahoma IN: CPR FIN SU: PDT

WB -- NY050 -- 8242 03/22/93 12:17 EST
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Date:Mar 22, 1993
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