I-O Serves TN5250e Printing

Printing over TCP/IP typically brings with it a good news/bad news scenario. The good news: TCP/IP capability opens up print serving to the Web, providing the user with unprecedented remote printing capabilities. The bad news: the demand for TCP/IP printing typically means the network administrator now has two network infrastructures to manage.

The capability to perform TCP/IP printing via TN5250e solves this dilemma, giving users flexibility and network administrators the luxury of waving goodbye to SNA and Twinax. With the release of its 5430 and 5450 multi-protocol print servers, I-O Corp. (Salt Lake City) brings to the AS/400 market the capability to use TN5250e when printing in AS/400 networks.

While Twinax still represents a certain degree of stability to AS/400 users, IP connectivity introduces an element flexibility to traditional system architectures. This flexibility is the future of the market, according to Dave Neddo, promotional marketing manager for I-O Corp, who sees print servers increasingly taking on the characteristics of application servers. "There is more and more crossover between these different solutions," he says.

Printing over TCP/IP via TN5250e, as opposed to LPR/LPD, eliminates the need to maintain two network infrastructures, according to Neddo. Support for TN5250e also enables the 5430 and 5450 AS/400-to-LAN print servers to provide auto configuration and device naming. In addition, TN5250e gives both models full-function AS/400 printing, including the ability to select page ranges when printing large documents or reports, as well as the same level of printer error reporting to the AS/400 as a Twinax-attached system printer, which prevents the loss of print data.

I-O Corp.'s print servers are designed to offload data conversion from the AS/400, which saves server CPU cycles. More specifically, the 5430 and 5450 free up host or client PC resources from converting EBCDIC data to ASCII by performing the processing and conversion directly on the print server unit.

The 5450 is designed to attach up to three printers -- two parallel and one serial -- directly to an Ethernet LAN, while also offering three simultaneous IBM 5250 printer sessions on the AS/400. The 5430 attaches one parallel printer and is designed to offer one IBM 5250 printer session. Both models are designed to support a variety of operating systems -- including Windows 95, 98, NT, Novell 3.X, 4.X and 5.X, OS/2 and Unix platforms -- but also support SCS printing from the AS/400 using native TCP/IP.