Control Universal are now setting up plans and completing designs to treat local area networks as a speciality. The general concept of the product range will be to offer an extremely low cost network system which is conpatible with ALL computers. Arrangements already exist for linking ZX81, AIM 65, Atom, and BBC computers on to the same network. The data transmission rate will be deliberately slow - 9600 baud, which transfers approximately 1K bytes/sec. This is about one quarter of the speed of usual mini-floppy disk transfers, but in practice the 4 sec transfer time for the typical 4K file is of no consequence. The vital advantage of this relatively slow transmission rate is the avoidance of bandwidth problems, junction reflections and other negative aspects of high speed transmission.
Physically, the Piconet module will be like a standard CUBE/Acorn Eurocard, with the sane connector, but shorter to allow its accomodation inside the enclosures of the host systems. It will therefore plug directly into a CUBE/Acorn rack, and will connect conveniently to an Atom. A range of COMPATIBILITY products (see section 20) will be available soon to allow other computers such as those mentioned above to be connected onto Piconet.
In addition, the development is in hand for a range of input/output modules capable of detecting both high voltage and low voltage signals, and switching currents of several amps both DC and AC, which will operate on the network so avoiding expensive wiring costs. The master unit is intended to have the feature of offering disk storage to all computer in the network, and a printer interface with a 48K byte buffer, allowing the dumping of printer data at 1000 ch/s and then returning control to the computer while the printer works away at its own speed, usually in the range 40 - 100 ch/s.