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SpidersWeb
May 11th, 2014, 05:29 PM
Decided to network up my vintage room - ordered T's, coax cables, terminmators etc, got piles of cards including (I know they're not popular but hey, vintage) NE1000's for my XT's.

So originally i'd planned to use Netware Lite - it's P2P (so the server can still be used as a normal PC), everything is in a batch file so I'm not forced to load drivers in to memory, and memory usage was small. But with my newer PC's (286/386) the NICs I have aren't always purely NE2000 compatible and their "Netware drivers" need a newer version of LSL. Then I thought maybe I'll setup a dedicated Netware 3.12 server and ran in to issues with disk translation meaning I needed to apply a large list of updates in the order they were released. It all started getting a bit frustrating.

So I thought I'd ask about LanTastic - or a better alternative if you think of one:

What's memory usage like?
Does it work over IPX or something else?
What version(s) would I use? How backward compatible is it? e.g. can a 2.0 client talk to an 8.0 server etc?
What server version will work on a 286 / DOS5 ?

Caluser2000
May 12th, 2014, 06:05 AM
Personnal Netware that shipped with DrDos 7 could be an option http://www.drdos.net/documentation/usergeng/18ugch18.htm

At least one other forum member is using it to network their old boxen.

SpidersWeb
May 12th, 2014, 12:02 PM
I've added that to my list to try out. My only concern is memory usage, ideally everything needs to be in a .BAT or tiny.

NWLite fits the bill except unlike PN, it can't talk to proper Netware servers. I took another stab at it last night since it was already installed on two machines. I got past the native driver problem by upgrading LSL and IPXODI to newer versions - On the D-Link DE220 I got it to start up on BNC with Frame 802.3, but the RT8019 driver would only do Frame 802.2 (maybe it needs an alternative entry in net.cfg?) so I went back to the standard NE2000 driver for that machine. Both cards have 10Base2 enabled, both on the same frame type (I switched it on both and back to test) and when requesting data on the network their lights flash (but not on the other card). FastLynx wouldn't work over IPX either.

I tested the cable and termination, came out perfect, so perhaps I have a fault with one of my cards. Oddly I have a huge pile of NE1000's but 16 bit cards with coax seem to be hard to find (maybe I just hid them somewhere safe). I'll need to add a third machine, and see if I can get two of them to talk, and hopefully eliminate the bad egg.

I also realized yesterday that Lantastic is still a commercial product, so I can't really label it as abandon-ware :/

Keen to hear more thoughts.

Chuck(G)
May 12th, 2014, 02:08 PM
Any reason that you're not interested in plain old TCP IP?

Unknown_K
May 12th, 2014, 03:42 PM
Maybe he wants to run DOOM 1 which needed IPX to work for multiplayer.

Chuck(G)
May 12th, 2014, 08:42 PM
Maybe he wants to run DOOM 1 which needed IPX to work for multiplayer.

Could be--I'm not a gamer. But I believe that the Microsoft LANMAN driver does provide IPX for many NICs.

Ole Juul
May 12th, 2014, 09:32 PM
What server version will work on a 286 / DOS5 ?

This one? (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?17419-ELS-Netware-Level-II-kit)

SpidersWeb
May 12th, 2014, 10:00 PM
Sorry for slow reply, I had a nice one typed out but Firefox crashed.

IPX - means I can use my precious FX2 to go Peer to Peer
TCP - means my XT's can play with my IBM RT (ftpd, telnet etc)

So I'm happy either way :) I do use LanMan and TCP/IP on my 386+ machines, but the goal of this network is just to share files/printer with one machine to a flock of XT's. So I want something with a very lightweight client, I've always found LanMan to be kind of heavy.

SpidersWeb
May 12th, 2014, 10:01 PM
This one? (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?17419-ELS-Netware-Level-II-kit)

hah! Awesome find :D

modem7
May 13th, 2014, 12:28 AM
... On the D-Link DE220 I got it to start up on BNC with Frame 802.3, but the RT8019 driver would only do Frame 802.2 (maybe it needs an alternative entry in net.cfg?)
Note that the NetWare server (of version 3 or 4), to cater for different clients using different frame types, can be configured to support both frame types on the one network card. An example is in the 'Installing one adapter with multiple frame types' section of http://uni-smr.ac.ru/archive/hrdw/LAN/INTEL/82557/INFO/NETWARE/NW41.TXT

SpidersWeb
May 13th, 2014, 01:33 AM
modem7 - Cheers :) In that part I was dealing with NWLite - I never finished the Netware 3.12 server experiment because it didn't like the large hard drive - got up to the point of creating Netware volumes inside the partition and then couldn't mount it. Solution is apparently to upgrade the server with patch after patch, or just use SCSI.

Had some success tonight with Ye Olde Netware Lite though. I set up a third PC and got SOFTWARE VIOLATION ON NETWORK
Never thought I'd be happy to see that. Looks like my DE220 card is faulty on 10Base2 (fine on 10BaseT).

So I've got a HP Vectra 386 and an IPC AT talking to each other reliably - mounted a file system etc.

NWLite Client uses 31KB (including all drivers). Optional extras do pack a punch - server ~40KB, Server Cache eats up 139KB of conventional (seems to install if it discovers you have XMS or EMS it can use - but it's optional)

Not bad really, despite being fairly incompatible with everything else, I can message users, anyone can be a server if they want, and a menu driven interface for controlling servers (remote control is standard too), user accounts, file shares, printers etc. I honestly did not expect to see user accounts/control - I just figured it'd be "open world for everyone".

So it's turning out better than I expected, but the incompatibility is a bit of a bummer.

Chuck(G)
May 13th, 2014, 07:37 AM
Sorry for slow reply, I had a nice one typed out but Firefox crashed.

IPX - means I can use my precious FX2 to go Peer to Peer
TCP - means my XT's can play with my IBM RT (ftpd, telnet etc)

So I'm happy either way :) I do use LanMan and TCP/IP on my 386+ machines, but the goal of this network is just to share files/printer with one machine to a flock of XT's. So I want something with a very lightweight client, I've always found LanMan to be kind of heavy.

I boot my XTs using Lanman using a CONFIG.SYS menu. Select that you don't want networking and nothing loads. Lanman will use EMS memory if available, so the memory footprint isn't too bad even with networking.

SpidersWeb
May 13th, 2014, 01:53 PM
I boot my XTs using Lanman using a CONFIG.SYS menu. Select that you don't want networking and nothing loads. Lanman will use EMS memory if available, so the memory footprint isn't too bad even with networking.
For a couple of these machines, specifically the IBM's, I want to avoid changing how they feel too much.
But it's a good idea, what I might do set up one of my XT clones with DOS 6, and CONFIG menus to switch between NWLite / LANMAN / mTCP / Normal on startup.

Out of curiousity - the RT runs AIX 2, and provides "NFS" shares and responds over TCP/IP. Anyone know what I'd need to get a DOS/Win PC to mount that? (I could just use FTP, but I've always been curious)



Info for anyone who plays with NWLite in the future and reads this thread. This is what I've learned in the process:

- You can easily upgrade to LSL 2.11 to use newer network card drivers, but you need the newer IPXODI to match. LSL 2.11 will connect to hosts running 2.05 etc just fine, and NWLite doesn't notice, just drop the two files on there and you're upgraded.
- You can set the PORT and INT to anything you like in NET.CFG, you are not limited to the few options you get in the install menu
- You need a serial number for each terminal - unless you want all your PCs screaming at you every few minutes with the PC speaker
- Not compatible with any version of Netware or Personal Netware
- Uses 802.3 raw by default (haven't tested it with 802.2 which is usually the default for more modern stuff) - some cards will need <tab>FRAME ETHERNET_802.3 added in to their "Link" section of NET.CFG
- Everything can be unloaded, I created a stopnet.bat by reversing startnet.bat and putting /Q and U after entries (/Q for cache, everything else it's U)
- If you upgrade one system to use LSL 2.11 you'll need the matching IPXODI.COM as well, but you wont have any issues with NWLite or terminals running the older version of LSL/IPXODI.
- Need "LASTDRIVE=Z" or similar in CONFiG.SYS or otherwise it will throw a tanty and not let you mount drive volumes.

SpidersWeb
May 13th, 2014, 09:48 PM
Looks like I could be wrong about NWLite playing with NW. Apparently if you use NETX.COM you can use resources from Netware Servers (2.0 to 3.11).
Just been reading some old magazines on Google Books.

SpidersWeb
May 14th, 2014, 12:50 PM
Connected up my first XT - just a clone machine. V20 @ 8Mhz, 8 bit VGA, 20MB etc.
Got my AT mounted as D drive. I have a cabling issue though, I'm sure of it, because after I took these photos I changed the cabling around - and none of the 3 connected machines would talk anymore - put the cabling back how it was the first time and same result. I got most of it from China, so I'm concerned despite their claims of RG58 50 ohm - that it was really only intended for video use. Might make my own. Also two 50ohm terminators, and I read 31 ohms on the cable.

With MS DOS 3.3, mouse driver, and client loaded I had about 560KB free memory. I should've taken a photo of it, but I booted Windows 2.11 on the XT from the AT's hard drive - was surprised it worked.

LOGI-88 showing message from server and D drive mounted.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j307/DrRabid/Vintage/th_IMG_06191_zps5c1de96c.jpg (http://s83.photobucket.com/user/DrRabid/media/Vintage/IMG_06191_zps5c1de96c.jpg.html)

IPC AT showing server status
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j307/DrRabid/Vintage/th_IMG_06261_zpse86eaccc.jpg (http://s83.photobucket.com/user/DrRabid/media/Vintage/IMG_06261_zpse86eaccc.jpg.html)

Had some fun with IO and IRQ's - not a problem with hardware just forgot what was where. On AT and higher, IRQ 5 is usually my 'goto', but that's not a good plan on an XT, neither was 320H.

Chuck(G)
May 14th, 2014, 02:55 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of networking pre-10BaseT!

Of course, you've already discovered that the big weakness in 10Base2 is if there's a problem anywhere along the line, nothing works anymore. Reminds me of strands of Christmas-tree lights--all it takes is one.

I've been offering RG58 BNC-terminated cable, fittings and terminators to anyone who'd pay shipping--no hits. I've offered it for free on Freecycle--no takers. You'd think that someone would want it for the copper scrap value.

You really shouldn't have to go to China for all of this! If you take a regular 47-56 ohm resistor and fit it into a BNC female connector, you've got a terminator that's no worse or better than the shiny stuff. Making your own cables is also easy if you have the right connectors.

The other thing you may want to do is use an old 10Base2/BaseT hub to convert your BaseT to Base2. Should be easy as cockroaches to find--the usual drill was to connect two hubs with 10Base2 (coax-coax) and then hang 10BaseT (twisted pair) off them.

SpidersWeb
May 14th, 2014, 05:02 PM
haha yes, 10Base2. For some reason I thought given the simplicity of it and short distances that it'd be very tolerant - but think I was a bit off there!
I do remember at a local high school a student running off with a terminator and causing a few issues.

Making my own terminators is on my to do list for tonight :) One of them definitely reads 50 ohm, I tested it before using, but I never tested the other. I'm thinking they possibly sent me a 75 ohm terminator by accident (commonly used these days by CCTV it seems). Just used a calculator and 50+75 in parallel matches the ~30ohms I was reading on the cable, so it'd make sense.

The reason I'm going to China on this is to keep costs down. Second hand would be good too but searches turned up nothing advertised - and ordering from most countries is expensive since it seems to be air-only. I did a price up yesterday, if I got another 5 cables - China: $27 delivered, Local: $64 + crimping tool + pickup/build my own.

So I'm crossing my fingers it's just a bad-spec terminator. I'll wait until I have everything 100% before I order any more cables and T's though.

I did find a 10Base2+10BaseT switch on our local auction site, but pickup only and an 8 hour drive away lol Only $1 though - will keep an eye out. I currently don't have any plans to connect it to my main home network - but it'd be nice being able to connect machines that don't have a 10Base2 connector. Getting data between my vintage and home networks will be done with a Syquest cartridge - have one in my IBM AT and the tweener and a big box of 44Mb cartridges.

Weird how I can find 20+ Syquest cartridges, but not 10Base2 cable.

Chuck(G)
May 14th, 2014, 05:18 PM
You don't even need a hub, necessarily. I've got an (16 bit) ISA Ansel N2104 NIC here--4 10baseT and 1 10Base2 on the same card. Uses the AMD LANCE chip. I got all excited about it when I picked it up--then I realized that I'd have to have the system with it powered on if I wanted connectivity between any 2 systems on the net.

Still, kind of interesting.

SpidersWeb
May 14th, 2014, 08:40 PM
I remember cards like that. I had the same response when I first spotted them. Sort of an "AWESOME, oh wait..." moment.
Don't think I ever actually seen one in person, just adverts a long time ago.

Edit: unrelated but just found an awesome KVM at work, has optional AT keyboard and DB9 for mouse for each system (as well as PS/2 and VGA), sweeeeet.

SpidersWeb
May 15th, 2014, 12:35 PM
Was the terminators - the suspect one wasn't 75 ohms, at least anymore, it was infinite - had broken, get what you pay for I guess. Grabbed a pair of 100ohm resistors and poked them in to a T - works great but I'll need to make a proper one soon. Got 3 machines talking - Vectra 386/20 (which I want to use as a print server), IPC AT, and the LOGI-88 - just need to sort out more cabling etc and do the IBM XT's and IBM AT.

Fitting the correct terminators meant the network was the difference between not working at all, and working perfectly.

Chuck(G)
May 15th, 2014, 12:49 PM
If you can find the BNC "twist-on" connectors commonly used for RG-6 cable (http://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-RG-6-Twist-on-to-Male-BNC-Connector-Coaxial-Lot-Pack-/290957722076), they're perfect for hiding a resistor. If you can't find 50 ohm resistors, a 47 will be just fine (well within tolerances). Just solder the free end of the resistor to the connector housing.

And be grateful that you're dealing with 10Base2 and not 10Base5. :)

SpidersWeb
May 15th, 2014, 03:23 PM
I found some 47's and 52's, but went with a pair of 100's because two legs wedged in to the T connector a bit better :D
It's pretty rinky dink, but it did confirm the problem.

Thanks for the twist on tip - I'll go check what our local electrical hobby store has in stock.

Edit: apparently they stock 50 ohm terminators, couldn't find them last time I looked, about the same price as just a connector. T's are $8 each though :/

SpidersWeb
May 16th, 2014, 09:35 PM
Got new terminators installed, network is running reliably, going through each XT/AT and sorting out cards plus fixing other issues I needed to attend to. But that's hardware stuff.

Software-wise the only reason I wouldn't recommend Netware Lite - is the frustrating licensing system, aptly described by PC Magazine. The idea is each station has it's own disk - it gets a serial number once - and if you use that disk in another PC on the same network you'll get persistent nagging messages from the TSRs. If you're unable to aquire valid disks (or at least one unused original + serial keys), your only option is to turn to a hex editor. Their replacement product is given out for freesies, so I don't think they'd be fussed no matter what option you chose.

Otherwise it's been brilliant. I had better get back to it, my fiancee is going to get annoyed at my XT soon (I left it playing the Leisure Suit Larry theme - Quickshot Sound Machine woo)