View Full Version : "IBM Personal Computer Network Card" - any use or value?

Timo W.
December 1st, 2014, 12:43 AM
I got a couple of 5150s the other day and one had an "IBM Personal Computer Network Adapter" from 1984 fitted. Due to the stupid general name of that card, I wasn't able to find much info on it. Only some press-releases indicating that it's not ethernet or something, but a proprietary networking solution by IBM. So I guess that card is completely useless these days? Does it hold any value? I'm currently unsure what to do with this thing...

December 1st, 2014, 07:07 AM
This is very brief and from memory so it will not be perfect, but it is close enough to answer your question:

The IBM PC Network was a competitor to Ethernet. Previously IBM had a product called "Cluster" which was fairly slow compared to Ethernet - only around 300K/bps. PC Network improved on that, and also allowed for more wiring options. But it is not Ethernet in any way, so don't try to connect it to anything else unless it is also PC Network hardware.

I have a small Cluster setup in my house between an AT and a PCjr for testing purposes. It's fun to play with, but not terribly useful. PC Network is probably the same way. I think the card has some value because it is a failed branch of the networking evolution tree. But you basically can't use it for anything unless you have the IBM software, or are willing to write your own.

Give me a day or two and I will dig up more specifics. I have the documentation here in the house ...

Timo W.
December 1st, 2014, 08:06 AM
Thanks. :)

That's more or less what my impression was as well after reading the original press release: http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/0/897/ENUS184-100/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en

So with a second card, one "IBM PC Network Translator Unit" (most likely impossible to find), and all the cables, it could be used to build a network between two PCs. :oha:

Timo W.
December 2nd, 2014, 02:52 AM
Just found this at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_Network

The card I have is the "more expensive and less widely used broadband version". Cool. :) And it's the origin of NetBIOS. Maybe I should remove the EMI shielding that covers 75% of the card and put it in a showcase. :rolleyes: