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Chapter 13 - Data Communications: Adaptation 1979-1986

13.6 Timeplex

In December 1983. Timeplex entered the T-1 multiplexer market with the announcement of its Link/1. Making three-node networks possible, not just point-to-point connections, the Link/1 represented a first step towards a networking T-1 multiplexer. In addition, each Link/1 could support five T-1 circuits compared to just one per each Megamux, a significant competitive advantage. Smith of GDC remembers:

Timeplex could build a triangle network: three point network, interconnect with three muxes, and we had to take six because we had two per link to do it. So they got the real jump based on the networking marketplace.

Like GDC, Timeplex sold a full line of data communication products, albeit OEMing its modems from Universal Data Systems (dial-up modems) and Paradyne (lease-line modems). Technology never was considered Timeplex’s strength: Rather it was known for its aggressive marketing and sales organization. The Link/1, for example, did not even offer networking reconfiguration capabilities equal to those of the GDC Megamux.7 Nevertheless, in 1984, Timeplex seized a whopping 18% market share for T-1 multiplexers on the strength of its distribution network and strong ties with the RBOCs. (See Exhibit 11.4 Statistical and T-1 Multiplexer Sales 1984.) Timeplex, like the other early Data Communication companies, conceived T-1 multiplexers as products to save customers money by consolidating their data circuits and, only later, would they add voice support to their systems. Ed Botwinick, president of Timeplex, remembers:

In the early ’80s, we started developing the Link family because we saw it was going to be a networking market. Everybody said T-1s are very expensive, so nobody’s going to have very many of them. I said: “I don’t care how expensive they are, if you fill them up, they may represent a major saving in terms of getting rid of lower speed lines. Communications needs are going up and we’re going to put voice on these things.

In 1985, Timeplex displaced GDC as the leading T-1 multiplexer vendor, capturing nearly one-third of the $158 million market with sales of $48 million. In doing so, the Link/1 comprised an astonishing 40% of Timeplex’s sales.

Exhibit 13.6.1 Statistical and T-1 Multiplexer Sales - 1984 ($ Millions)

Company Statistical Multiplexer Revenue Percent Market Share T-1 Multiplexer Revenue Percent Market Share Total Multiplexer Revenue
Timeplex 40 16.7 11.3 17.9 51.3
Codex 50 20.9     50
GDC 25 10.5 24 37.9 49
Micom 47 19.7     47
Infotron 40 16.7     40
Others 12 5 28 44.2 40
Total 239 100 63.3 100 302.3
  • [7]

    Ibid., p. 129