Santa Clara, California-based Synoptics Communications Inc unveiled its new network management capabilities last week, as well as the LattisHub system of stackable Ethernet hubs. In concept, the hubs look remarkably similar to 3Com Corp’s Linkbuilder system, the enhancements to which were announced last month. As with the Linkbuilder, the new 16-port LattisHubs can be joined […]
Santa Clara, California-based Synoptics Communications Inc unveiled its new network management capabilities last week, as well as the LattisHub system of stackable Ethernet hubs. In concept, the hubs look remarkably similar to 3Com Corp’s Linkbuilder system, the enhancements to which were announced last month. As with the Linkbuilder, the new 16-port LattisHubs can be joined together to form a single 80-port logical repeater. 3Com’s latest announcements appear to have kept it one step ahead of Synoptics, however. Special management Lattishubs are available, which enable other members of a stack to be controlled, but they do lack 3Com’s slot-in management board facility. Similarly, although there are modules that have AUI and 10Base-FL ports for thick Ethernet and Fibre backbones, the hubs are limited in the main to 10Base-T. The four models range in price from UKP1,115 to UKP2,490, depending on whether they have fibre or coax backbone connections and whether they have in-built management. One nice touch on the manageable ones is the inclusion of an optional and free Basic IPX agent, which simplifies management over NetWare local networks. The other new 16-port hub tackles the very low end-user, who doesn’t need management.
The LattisLink workgroup hub costs UKP855, which, Synoptics reckons, makes it one of the cheapest in the business. At the heart of the box is Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s Am79C980 integrated multiport repeater chip. On the network management side, the LattisNet Manager has been replaced with a new core product dubbed Optivity, which, Synoptics says, enables the user to manage the network end-to-end, provided Synoptics, Cisco Systems Inc’s or Retix Inc’s kit is used. The Santa Clara company’s close relationship with Menlo Park-based Cisco means that access to the router manufacturers private Simple Network Management Protocol, SNMP, extensions is available to it. The two new features of which the firm is most proud are the Nodal views facility, which takes a view of the network right down to individual personal computers, and Autotopology plus, which is said to go out automatically and build a network map, to the extent even of mapping the routers on the Internet, if given the chance. Currently, Nodal View is restricted to information provided as standard by the Media Access Control layer of the local area network adaptor. Nonetheless, Synoptics claims that if one clicks on the representation of any particular workstation, error and performance statistics can be pulled up. It is also possible to use the information when setting alarm thresholds. In addition to the core Optivity software, which costs UKP3,825, Synoptics has broadened its LattisWare range of management applications to include RouterMan, BridgeMan and PathMan. The first two, as their names suggest, are management applications for routers and bridges – BridgeMan is only really of use with Retix and Synoptics bridges. PathMan is more interesting though, being designed to track the path of individual packets across the network from end to end. It looks like an innovative piece of software, and should prove useful in troubleshooting and network tuning. RouterMan, BridgeMan and PathMan are to cost UKP2,675, UKP1,910 and UKP3,060 respectively here.