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Product Reviews
February 2004


CARS-51 AC Remote

ADC Telecommunications, Inc.
P.O. Box 1101
Minneapolis, MN 55440-1101
Web site: www.adc.com


Price: $868

Editor's Choice Award

RATINGS (0-5)
Installation: 4.75
Documentation: 4.75
Features: 4.25
GUI: 4
Overall: A-


We decided to look at the Campus-RS -- a symmetric digital subscriber line (SDSL) system from ADC -- which lends itself to a wide range of applications especially for private networking environments, corporate campuses, universities, medical complexes and military facilities where copper or telephone cable is already running. We will focus this review on the ADC Campus-RS Remote units, which provide reliable, high-speed enterprise connectivity using the existing on-hand copper cable plant/voice-grade cables.

The Campus-RS remote features a flexible, rate-selectable design and seamlessly accommodates a wide range of network interfaces and access speeds. For our testing we used the Campus-RS remote desktop units and equipped them with the Campus-RS REX (Remote Ethernet eXpress) Ethernet routing/bridging unit. The result is an innovative system that delivers high performance and cost savings by supporting a wide range of applications through a single platform solution. When equipped with the right modules, the Campus-RS unit can be used for local-area network (LAN) extension, remote data access, PBX networking, video conferencing, and distance learning.

The Campus-RS REX (Remote Ethernet eXpress) is an interface module that installs directly into a Campus-RS remote device or Campus-RS Star concentrator and provides interconnectivity of geographically dispersed Ethernet LANs within a private enterprise network. The Campus-RS REX functions as a full-bandwidth Ethernet remote bridge or a static IP router, using the existing copper infrastructure as the transmission medium to provide repeater less connectivity between LAN segments.

The Campus-RS REX�s robust architecture eliminates the need for other bridges, routers and CSU/DSUs. It provides 10Base-T port, an embedded SNMP agent, and IEEE 802.1d transparent MAC-layer bridging. HDLC and PPP encapsulation options and static IP routing allow interoperability with other internetworking devices. The greatest advantage is using the existing copper plant/cables and getting up to 4.6 Mbps using two loops.

Operational Testing
Our objective is to provide interconnectivity of campus wide dispersed Ethernet LANs within a private enterprise network, using the existing copper infrastructure as the transmission medium to provide repeater less connectivity between LAN segments. That meant we needed a unit equipped with a module that would eliminate costly bridges and routers, keep the installation and management simple, and maintain logical network partitioning.

We set up two Campus-RS remotes for our testing equipped with the Campus-RS REX interface modules which function as a full-bandwidth Ethernet remote bridge/router, thus using the existing copper infrastructure as the transmission medium in order to provide repeaterless connectivity between LAN segments. We selected the two-loop operation (four-wire) and set for 4.6 Mbps.

After powering on, we used the console port and connected the console cable to the PC serial port and were greeted by the Campus-RS remote login password screen. From there we found an easy to use, well-defined structured menu. Starting with the �1.System Status� menu, which provides you with the current system status and information, we proceeded to the �2.REX2 Configuration and Status� menu which provides options to select the bridging/routing mode, �Encapsulation� between cHDLC and PPP, �Timing Source� between internal or HDSL, followed by router/bridge configuration i.e., IP address, RIP configuration etc.

Then we moved on to the �3.System Configuration� screen, where we came across sub-menus for System parameters where we set the unit I.D, circuit I.D, system access password, and the sub-menu for HDSL parameters where we went about selecting the mode, the number of loops (we used 2 for our tests) and the HDSL rate of 4.6 Mbps for our testing. By the time we completed item 3 on the menu and the sub-menus the two networks were talking, i.e., the remote users were able to access the central application and e-mail servers.

We should point out that the �maintenance� option allows you to run diagnostics and reset the REX2. Finally, you can use item �Remote login� if the HDSl link is up and running to login and access the menu on the other end.

We tested the bridge mode as well as the routed mode, and the unit performed admirably. Once the copper pairs were identified and ready for our setup and testing it did not take much time to get going.

As a matter of fact, the setup and testing should take but a few minutes of configuration depending on whether you want to bridge or route your traffic. Of course, you could also use the front panel for most of the operations and if the unit has been allocated an IP address then you can also telnet into it for all the configuration and maintenance.

Room For Improvement
There is one thing that we would like to see added: Web-browser-based management. We would like to see the unit managed using a simple Web browser locally in addition to the command port, telnet provided on the unit.

ADC does provide access/management through the Central site Network Management StarGazer GUI element management system application, but we feel that browser management would still be useful.

Conclusion
It is noteworthy to mention that the ADC Campus-RS unit is a versatile unit as it can be equipped with a variety of interfaces/network modules like serial data interface modules V.35, X.21/V.11, RS-530, RS-449 CSU, 10Base-T Bridge/router, G.703 75/120 etc.

It is a quick, easy cost effective solution for both campus and inter-office deployments. This product is the perfect solution for high-speed branch office network connectivity that will allow VoIP/Voice-VPN and video applications. We found the unit to be very useful for extending Ethernet LAN with both bridging and routing capabilities using simple voice grade copper cables that you already have in place allowing you to clock up to an impressive 4.6 Mbps.

- Written by Biju Oommen

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