Aston University is being sponsored by the UK Department of Trade & Industry to install a UKP4m Open Systems Interconnection conformant local area network – the first of four OSI UK demonstrators to emerge out of the government’s Open Systems Awareness Programme. ITL Information Technology Plc, Hemel Hempstead has won the contract to install a […]
Aston University is being sponsored by the UK Department of Trade & Industry to install a UKP4m Open Systems Interconnection conformant local area network – the first of four OSI UK demonstrators to emerge out of the government’s Open Systems Awareness Programme. ITL Information Technology Plc, Hemel Hempstead has won the contract to install a broadband network which will serve a community of 5,000 with access to a host of applications. Video camera, electronic mail and graphics are some of the applications to be offered via 2,500 service point links into the broadband network, which in turn offers a number of wide area link options including the University X25 Janet network and satellite. Eric Forth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State said that the government now considers Open Systems Interconnection sufficiently mature to be able to promote competition in the European Single Market of 1992 and the project name of the demonstrator reflects this aspiration: Accent stands for Aston Campus Communications for Europe and Ninety-two. The Industry Department will put up 22.4% of the costs out of a UKP12m OSI Awareness Fund nominated by Lord Young in June, and three further collaborations are to be announced this year. The network is expected to prove the commercial desirability of the Open Systems standards through the demonstration of three key functions. First, an Inter-Library Communication with the Library of Congress in Washington using OSI and Library Standard Protocols; second, the use of X400-conformant electronic mail to interconnect the academic, administrative, research and student bodies at Aston and beyond, and third, the provision of single terminal access to Aston computing facilities through an Open Systems Virtual Terminal service. Aston has been planning to implement an Open network since June 1985 as a means of restoring its reputation as leading college in high-tech, ravaged by government cuts in 1981. Shortage of funds has delayed implementation and Aston’s dependence on government funding has also swayed the choice of supplier. Canada’s Geac Computer Corp was first choice but the Industry Department wanted the project to have a high content of British manufacturers. Geac has been awarded a consolation contract to update the library system – an area in which it now specialises – while Nynex Corp’s BIS Applied Systems Ltd is to project manage the implementation. The basic broadband infrastructure is expected to be in place by next spring but the full installation will take three years to complete.