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Tektronix Netstation Terminal and WinDD

The Tektronix Netstation terminal, a one-size-fits-all product, combines some characteristics of the Wyse ICA terminal with some characteristics of the NCD Explora X-terminal­and then adds some other characteristics just for fun. For example, Netstation supports TN3270 and Digital Equipment's Local Area Transport (LAT) protocol. The base unit of the Netstation is about the size of a pizza box, and you can attach an existing keyboard, mouse, and monitor, or you can purchase the full hardware set from Tektronix. The base unit also includes a 10Mbps Ethernet connection for LAN attachment and two serial connections.

As with an X-terminal, you configure the Tektronix Net-station with an IP address (Netstation does not support DHCP) and set it up to boot from ROM or from a UNIX host. Unlike most X-terminals, the Netstation booted from ROM will take you to a menu that lets you launch an ICA or X-terminal session to an NT server (or UNIX host). In other words, the Net-station ROM holds enough code to run as an ICA or X-terminal client without requiring a host-based download.

I tested the Tektronix Netstation against the Wyse, Tektronix, Insignia, and NCD WinFrame implementations. The ICA mode of the Netstation was a little touchy: My success rate was not 100% when I initiated connections to the NT server (I had a 100% success rate with the Wyse terminal). The Netstation fared much better in X-terminal mode: Here I easily reached a 100% success rate. Performance between the two modes was similar, although I felt that the X-terminal mode offered a slight edge over the ICA mode. Also, the performance of the Netstation in ICA mode was comparable to the Wyse terminal once I made the connection.

Ironically, Tektronix's version of WinFrame, WinDD (see Screen A), supports ICA access only. To use WinDD with existing UNIX systems, you must purchase ICA client software from Tektronix (or another vendor). Furthermore, WinDD is a fairly lackluster OEM implementation of WinFrame. Tektronix has added nothing to the mix here. Nonetheless, WinDD installed and operated just as well as any other WinFrame variation. I simply couldn't overcome my surprise that a major X-terminal vendor such as Tektronix would not have an X-ter-minal add-on for its WinFrame product.

Will you want to run out and buy a Tektronix Netstation? Like NCD Explora, Netstation may be a little too pricey to be a cost-effective solution for desktop access to NT. However, if you have a mixed NT and UNIX environment, you might find Netstation's multiple-personality modes worth the price of admission.

Tektronix Netstation terminal and WinDD
Tektronix * 800-547-8949
Suggested retail pricing (terminals):
XP200 base only (use existing monitor)* $1245
XP400 base only (use existing monitor) $2645
Suggested retail pricing (software):
WinDD (ICA only for 10 users) $2495
*Note: the XP200 is a lower-performance model than the XP400.
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