Shiva FastPath 5 Announcement Letter

The following announcement letter for the Shiva FastPath 5 hardware was originally posted to comp.sys.mac.announce by Steven Sakamoto of the UCLA Computer "Scinece" Department. It is presented here in its unedited form.

Shiva Corporation
One Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 252-6300


Redwood City, CA (May 28, 1991) - Shiva Corporation, a leading vendor of AppleTalk networking devices, today unveiled the FastPath 5, a multiprotocol LocalTalk to Ethernet gateway. The FastPath 5 provides easier configuration, better network management, faster network processing speeds ad a more robust platform for future enhancements.

"Through its history, the FastPath has represented the 'state of the art' in LocalTalk to Ethernet connectivity," said Dan Schwinn, Shiva president. "With the introduction of the new version, Shiva solidifies the FastPath's status as the most capable and reliable gateway available."


A key enhancement in FastPath 5 is the new Shiva Net Manager software. It replaces the FastPath Manager and will be compatible with both the FastPath 4 with 5.0 PROM and FastPath 5. The new software provides a more powerful and intuitive interface for network management, configuration and diagnostics. Shiva Net Manager takes the next step forward in router network management. It can display routing tables (RTMP) which provide a quick view of the network's current status sa well as the status of other routers on the network. Improveds logs, now with a time/date stamp and user friendly diagnostics, let the user better identify network anomalies.


An ever changing aspect of networking is the physical media used to connect devices. The FastPath 5 provides a flexible solution for media change - the EtherModule TM. The EtherModule is a removable, internal Ethernet connector provided with the FastPath 5. When users need to switch to a different Ethernet media, they can change transceivers without replacing the FastPath 5 or losing the unit's configuration information. EtherModules will be available for thin, thick and 10BaseT Ethernet as wall as for the Apple Ethernet Cabling System.

The FastPath 5 can be purchased in either of two configurations: With an installed EtherModule for 10BaseT, or with an Installed EtherModule for thin Ethernet cabling. A FastPath 5 configured for thin Ethernet will include an additional EtherModule for thick Ethernet.


The FastPath 5 significantly increases processing speeds with the addition of a separate LocalTalk I/O processor and faster CPU. The dedicated I/O processor eliminates bottlenecks that normally occur as AppleTalk network packets enter a gateway's LocalTalk port. Shiva also increased the clock speed of the main 68000 CMOS CPU from 8 MHz to 10MHz to further accelerate processing.


The FastPath 5 is designed to easily incorporate future enhancements. Its "Virtual PROM" will enable users to download future upgrades as software-only, requiring no physical PROM change. This feature will make any future upgrades faster and more convenient, especially for sites with multiple FastPaths. Shiva has increased the memory in the FastPath 5 to 512K, double the amount in the FastPath 4. 512K is more than enough for even the largest AppleTalk, TCP/IP, DECnet internetworks. For better organization and easier installation, the FastPath 5 has the capability to be rack mounted. Shiva is designing a rack which will hold up to eight FastPaths. The rack will provide a common power source and a larger scale ventilation system to control heat flow.

Pricing and availability of the rack will be announced at a future date.


The FastPath 5 will ship at the end of June at the suggested list price of $2799.00. This price will include the Shiva Net manager and either 10BaseT EtherModule, or the thin and thick Ethernet EtherModules.

The FastPath 5 will be available through Shiva's authorized dealers and distributors, including Tech Data, Ingram Micro, Merisel, Macamerica, and NYNEX. It will also be available through Shiva's international distributors.

Three upgrade options for current FastPath users will be available in July, 1991. Available directly from Shiva, the upgrade options are:

1. PROM Upgrade Kit - For $149.00 users can purchase the 5.0 PROM, K-Star 9.0, Shiva NetManager and new manuals.

2. Memory Upgrade Kit - For $299.00 users can purchase the PROM upgrade kit described above, plus 256K add-on memory and a new case with a fan.

3. Trade-In - For $1299.00 users can trade in their old FastPath or other competitive gateways for a new FastPath 5. This offer will expire September 30, 1991.


The FastPath is the original LocalTalk to Ethernet Gateway and represents the de facto standard with an estimated 80 percent of the market. Originally developed by Kinetics, Inc. in 1985, the FastPath was acquired by Shiva in June of 1990, from Novell. Shiva Corporation, based in Cambridge, MA, develops and markets network communications products for LAN and WAN connectivity, plus connections for individual computers to existing networks. According to market research firm Internation [sic] Data Corporation, Shiva Corporation is the leading supplier of AppleTalk internetworking systems with 56.1 percent of the market. Shiva products have won critical acclaim for their easy to user peripheral sharing, remote access and local- and wide-area network routing.

I'd like to know, if for no other reason than my own curiosity, if the eight unit enclosure actually came to exist.

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