Wyse is currently the premier vendor of low-cost ICA-based Windows terminals. For less than $1000 (street price), you can purchase a desktop unit with a 14" color monitor, keyboard, mouse, and ports for 10Mbit-per-second (Mbps) Ethernet, serial, and parallel connections. For even less money, you can purchase gray-scale units or units without an Ethernet connection (to use for remote access). And if you supply your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you can purchase a pizza box unit in the $500 neighborhood.

I tested the Wyse 2500T terminal, which includes an Ethernet connection, 14" color monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The configuration I worked with supports only 16 colors, but a firmware download lets you upgrade to 256 colors.

Configuring the terminal was simple­you configure it with an IP address or set it to use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and then enter the IP address of the ICA NT server system. When you start the terminal, it connects to the NT server, and the next thing you see is a Windows NT logon screen, so you can log on and interact with the NT server as if you were sitting at a direct-attached monitor with a keyboard and mouse.

The Wyse terminal works with any ICA-based server product, or you can purchase the Wyse implementation of WinFrame (see Screen A). The Wyse implementation is packaged several different ways: For example, the base package ($1499) supports five terminals but does not include ICA client software, does not support RAS, and cannot be a domain controller. You can buy extra terminal licenses, client software, and RAS/domain controller support separately.

I tested the base software in the Lab and found that it installed and operated as well as any other implementation of WinFrame I looked at. I also tested the Wyse terminal against the Wyse, Tektronix, Insignia, and NCD implementations of WinFrame, and the Wyse terminal worked consistently and reliably.

In performance tests, I experienced no significant I/O delays running the Wyse terminal in a LAN environment. Clearly, performance wasn't as good as that of a full-blown Pentium Pro NT Workstation, but in my judgment, it ran as well as a low-end Pentium or high-end 486 system running NT. I was pleasantly surprised by the terminal's performance, especially considering its low price.

Wyse ICA Terminal and Wyse WinFrame
Wyse Technology * 408-473-1200
Web: www.wyse.com
Suggested retail pricing (terminals):
Model 2000 (14" mono, no Ethernet) $649
Model 2000T (14" mono, Ethernet) $778
Model 2500 (14" color, no Ethernet) $979
Model 2500T (14" color, Ethernet) $1108
Model 2700 (15" color, no Ethernet) $1250
Model 2700T (15" color, Ethernet) $1380
Model 2300T (pizza box, Ethernet) $695
Suggested retail pricing (software):
Base WinFrame package (ICA only, 5 users) $1499
5 more users $999
WinFrame client software $199
RAS/domain controller support $1499