A Dead Internet Access Device
by C. Adam O'Toole
Hello fellow archaeologists of the future.
I recently started working for one of the major Internet service providers. For a time, I was working in the corporate technical support division, which provides support for internet access hardware.
Recently I had one customer who had a technical problem with an old internet access router, manufactured by Morning Star. The customer was having trouble making the router compatible with his new NT 4.0 network. The recommended fix for this customer involved getting the newest version of the router's firmware to enable certain necessary functions.
The problem with this solution was that the Morning Star company was bought out by another company (Ascend) last year, so that the Ascend company could appropriate security technology developed by Morning Star and obsolete the line. Ascend was providing support for the hardware for one year. This support ended one month before the customer needed the new firmware.
As a result of this planned obsolescence, there was no more support available for the device and no on- line ftp site archiving the needed firmware upgrade. The customer was put in the position of buying a new $2,000 router.
This is the first case I am aware of in which a dedicated Internet access device has been made obsolete. We will see more of this. I think that the 56K leased line will be obsoleted by 56K modem technology and ISDN modems operating over dedicated leased lines. No doubt that internet access hardware for 56K DDS will one day be completely obsolete. Users will have to shoehorn their systems to make them work with the newer technologies and paradigms for Internet access. Get out those cable crimpers!
Of course, planned obsolescence is the Joker that all high tech manufacturers play on the enduser.
Here's some corroborative info from what is left of Morning Star's web site.
www.morningstar.com [Morning Star Technologies]
"Morning Star Technologies, maker of the industry- leading Morning Star PPP software package, the SecureConnect Router and SnapLink X.25 adapter, has been acquired by Ascend Communications of Alameda, California.
"Ascend has ceased production and support of Morning Star routers. However the features which gave Morning Star's Secure Connect routers the most secure traffic control in the business have been integrated into the new Secure Access product line."
Morning Star Support's Web Page
"Morning Star Technologies routers that are currently in the field are unfortunately no longer supported. Some electronic information is still available."
Last modified: Mon Nov 25 19:59:06 EST 1996
"ASCEND ACQUIRES MORNING STAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
"ALAMEDA, CA, March 21, 1996 == Ascend Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASND) today announced that it has acquired Morning Star Technologies, Inc. in a transaction to be accounted for as a pooling of interests. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Morning Star manufactures standards-based, high performance networking products, including network routing software and advanced network security products. (...)
"Ascend issued approximately 440,000 shares of its stock to Morning Star shareholders in exchange for all outstanding Morning Star shares. The operations of Morning Star will remain in Columbus, Ohio, operating as the Ascend Network Security Business Unit. (...)
"Commenting on the acquisition, Mory Ejabat, chief executive officer of Ascend, said 'We are very pleased that Morning Star has decided to join forces with us. The acquisition of Morning Star provides technology that we will incorporate into our MAX and Pipeline product families to further enhance our market-leading product capabilities.' (...)
"Detailed information on Ascend products, news announcements, seminars, service and support is available on Ascend's World Wide Web site: http://www.ascend.com."
C. Adam O'Toole (email@example.com)