novellNBC’s installation of Novell products as the mainline of its network for the coverage of the Summer Olympic Games was fraught with lackluster communications products, poor technical support and snags in multivendor communications, according to the systems integrator responsible for setting up the network.

As a result, the systems integrator, Nesbit Systems Inc., had to scramble to come up with alternative connections — in some cases replacing Novell Inc. products with 3Com Corp. hardware — to ensure the network delivered what it was designed to do: provide NBC’s on-site staff in Seoul, South Korea, with access to a research database on a local minicomputer and remote ties to systems in New York and Minneapolis.

The snafus caused Nesbit Systems to spend 50 percent more time on the project than planned. And, because a fixed price had been charged for the entire project, the company swallowed an estimated loss of $50,000 to $75,000, said Ken Michielsen, vice president of the Princeton, N.J., integration company.

While the System Fault Tolerant (SFT) NetWare operating system performed without a hitch, Novell’s communications products performed poorly and were bug-ridden to boot, said Irene Nesbit, president …