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Tech Note #37:  Introduction to the TOAD
1998 Bionic Buffalo Corporation; All Rights Reserved.
                  12 June 1998
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Although most use of home networks is contained within the home, there is increasing
demand to place home components on the internet. Home computers are an obvious
example, but access to the internet (or another external network) allows operations such
remote control of home heating and cooling for convenience or as part of a load-
management process
interrogation or control of intrusion, fire, and other alarm systems
software upgrades and maintenance of home appliances
remote reprogramming of appliances such as message machines, VCRs, and
Placing home devices on the internet creates various concerns relating to security,
routing, network management, and traffic control. Although some home networks
might be very simple with low traffic loads, others may be complex and heavily loaded
with multimedia and other high-volume applications.
TOAD allows simple implementations to scale to the internet. For example, consider a
two-node system consisting of an intelligent thermostat and a furnace. Using simple
broadcast mechanisms, the thermostat applications can find the furnace object without
using a directory service or central server. When a gateway with an appropriate manager
is placed on the network, both devices can be fully interoperable with remote systems.
If a load-management system is added to the network, either in the home or at a remote
site such as that of a utility company, then the thermostat can be slaved to the load
management software using TOAD control messages. The thermostat will co-operate
with the load management system when instructed. However, if the network connection
is lost, then the thermostat automatically will revert to autonomous behaviour.
Office environments include services for document handling, telephony, scheduling,
and multimedia operations, as well as the traditional functions which were among the
first to be computerized. With networked office equipment, it becomes desirable for
service objects to make themselves available over the network to potential clients.
There is no shortage of alternatives in the marketplace for directory services to match
would-be clients to potential servers. TOAD offers unique levels of scaleability that
allow office equipment to be networked without centralized directory services. It will
also allow equipment to use those services as the complexity of the office network
increases. In addition, TOAD is not proprietary to any particular object or computing