The DIVA Server Primary Rate ISDN (PRI) card combines V.90 analogue and digital communications in one PCI card, said Eicon Technology Corp.

Robert Clarke, Eicon’s Carrollton, Tex.-based general manager for Canada and Latin America, said the card can be used for standard Internet access, remote access to the corporate network, voice over IP, and both inbound and outbound faxing.

“You can install four Primary Rate adapters in one (Windows) NT server,” Clarke said. “So in the European version of the product which gives up to 30 (connections), it will provide up to 120 analogue connections per NT server. In North America where the Primary Rate service only has a capacity up to 23, that would provide up to 92 analogue connections.”

Clarke explained that Primary Rate ISDN technology can be segmented so a higher number of access lines can be consolidated into a single point of access. It has been used extensively in Europe for years, largely due to the fact that ISDN has been so much more popular in that market than in North America, he said.

“In North America where we’ve had a more analogue-orientated market place for the past few years, there hasn’t been a huge market for pure digital Primary Rate products, but there is a substantial market place for a hybrid of both digital communications using ISDN and analogue communications using V.90,” Clarke said.

Dan McLean, senior analyst for network support services with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, said the integration of analogue and Primary Rate is the most significant feature about the otherwise straightforward DIVA Server PRI.

“The price points seem to be attractive…but this isn’t anything earth-shattering or super-innovative. It’s a good, practical product that’s going to address the needs of ISDN users that want to have a little more versatility and function built into their provisioning of that service,” McLean said.

Clarke said it’s important to understand where this product fits into the network.

“Enterprises will use a number of remote access servers around their corporation as local entry points for their organization and that’s then consolidated onto their backbone network. This is not a backbone device by any means,” Clarke said.

The card comes in four versions: DIVA Server PRI, a digital-only card; DIVA Server PRI-9M with nine analogue connections; DIVA Server PRI-23M with 23 connections; and DIVA Server PRI-30M for the European market with 30 modem connections.

McLean said the varying modem numbers gives the product added scalability.

“You can kind of build this thing out to be a more versatile kind of interface as opposed to just having a link that is dedicated to one function or feature only,” he said.

As for saving money by having multiple connections on one card instead of purchasing several modems, McLean wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know that it’s really an issue of cost saving. I suppose it is in terms of not having to buy separate pieces if you were looking to have that kind of multitude of interfaces. It’s probably more for the convenience sake,” he said.

DIVA Server PRI is priced at US$2,900. The 9M version is priced at US$4,650, and the 23M is US$8,150.

Eicon in Montreal is at (514) 745-5500. The company Web site is at www.eicon.com.