Ethernet Terminal Offers TN5250e Support

Decision Data, a division of NLynx Systems, is looking to put a charge into the host terminal market with the announcement of its OmniTerm/e Ethernet terminal. Designed to combine the simplicity of traditional terminals with the versatility of today's thin client desktops, the OmniTerm/e represents the first new product release from Decision Data since NLynx (Austin, Texas) completed its acquisition of the company in April of this year.

In addition to preserving the simplicity of the desktop terminal architecture and offering a 122-key keyboard, the OmniTerm/e features: industry-standard 10/100 MB Ethernet connection; local or server-based configuration without the need for a boot server; support for TN5250e/3270e, TN5250/3270 and TNVT; an e-mail client; a MediaGX multimedia processor; USB and mouse ports; and two serial ports.

Summary of OmniTerm/e benefits:
  • Industry-standard 10/100 MB Ethernet connection
  • No boot server required; local or server-based configuration
  • Includes TN5250/TN5250e, TN3270/TN3270e and TNVT
  • E-mail client included
  • MediaGX multimedia multiprocessor; USB and mouse port; two serial ports
With the release of OmniTerm/e Decision Data targets shops that currently have AS/400 terminals and want to be able to switch wiring structures, eliminating the need to wire for networks and wire for an AS/400 terminal, according to Bob Janiak, product marketing manager for Decision Data/NLynx's terminal product line.

"NLynx sought to preserve all that is good about terminals and move those features to Ethernet," Janiak says, emphasizing that the OmniTerm/e was not designed with this initial release as a replacement for PCs. "We are very specifically aimed at the AS/400 terminal for this August shipment. We've found that customers are tired of going into the wiring closet and having two sets of cables, and having hubs for Twinax--yes, it's twisted pair, but it is a different hub then their Ethernet hub. Why not get rid of that onerous requirement? When you go to a wide area network, it gets much worse--you get into needing a controller."

Eric Hemmendinger, an analyst with Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based IT consulting firm, echoes Janiak's sentiments about the OmniTerm/e's place in the enterprise. "This will be of interest primarily to people who have existing terminal desktops and are needing to replace those," Hemmendinger says. "The people who are targeted for this and who are likely to buy this would not go looking at any kind of an Intel-based solution as an alternative."

Janiak points out that, with the OmniTerm/e, terminal users will experience an immediate improvement over existing SNA terminals thanks to support for multiple sessions, multiple hosts, WAN access and e-mail.

"The driving force behind this project is the user who needs to buy several hundred terminals at once," Janiak adds. "Purchase of the OmniTerm/e allows for growth. In the foreseeable future, Twinax/Coax terminals will survive, but Ethernet terminals will be necessary to enable many of the functions that PC users enjoy today."

The problem with moving to a PC is "it worked yesterday and it doesn't work today and I didn't do anything" syndrome, according to Janiak. "What we need to retain is the simplicity of the terminal," he says. "Other advantages of terminals include 122-key keyboards, easy configuration, no server required. Lots of people can do that, what we've done in addition to that is put the manageability that is part and parcel of a network into our product, and also built into the hardware the capability to become more than a text-based terminal."