CLI Announces Ethernet Terminal

If you ever wished you could tie a 5250 terminal into your LAN, help is on the way. Computer Lab International announced the planned first quarter 1999 availability of an “ultra-thin client” device that brings Ethernet connectivity to 5250 terminals.

CLI’s Ethernet terminal will support TCP/IP, TN5250 and TN5250e protocols and includes a standard printer port for full printer support directly from the device. Other user selectable features found on CLI’s existing Twinax terminals will also be supported on the forthcoming device.

“There was no way to run a 5250 terminal on a LAN before this,” says Michael Franke, technical director at Computer Lab International (CLI, Placentia, Calif.). “This Ethernet terminal targets a segment of the market that needs a dumb terminal connected over a LAN to an AS/400 host.” For example, task-oriented data entry users that are still better suited by green-screen applications than PC-based GUIs.

“Maintaining the SNA backbone is more expensive and harder to provide redundancy than on a LAN,” Franke says. “There is nothing cheaper and easier than Ethernet and TCP/IP.” The device also holds the potential of reducing the costs and complexity associated with boot servers, 5X94 remote controllers and new wiring.

While the Ethernet-based 5250 terminal helps solve some of the server-side complexity problems of the emerging NC and WBT (Windows-based Terminal) thin client model, CLI plans to eventually follow the terminal with its own WBT.