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Thread: Ethernet and the PDP-11

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Default Ethernet and the PDP-11

    Ok, so I donít have enough difficult projects going on now I am thinking of a new project. A network port for my PDP-11/23 Qbus system. I see where there is a DEQNA M7504 Ethernet adapter card that will work in both 18 and 22 bit systems but I have several questions, first what operating system will support that card? , can I do it with RT-11 version 5? Or do I need a more advanced version of RT-11? What would the card appear as to the operating system? I think ďNQĒ is the device driver for Ethernet and am going to assume on the PDP-11 the device will be NQ0? And what about the external H4000 transceiver? Can I get a thick net to cat 5 adapters that will take its place or is there some other magic that takes place with the adapter? Donít want to branch into coaxial LAN at this time and would like to keep it all standard CAT 5 cables. Was thinking that a little Cisco AUI to RJ-45 would be the answer but donít know. Also what about the M7516 from the Micro Vax family?
    The goal is to install a network port on the 11/23 and use that to communicate with newer Windows systems to upload and download programs. And not have to do this thru the serial port on the CON.

    Ray F/Qbus

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default

    I'm not sure what the version requirements are, but there's a fairly good/complete collection of TCP/IP programs for RT-11 that are freely available:

    http://shop-pdp.net/rthtml/tcpip.htm

    Works with either QBus Ethernet card (DEQNA/DELQA). You can FTP files easily that way. Much faster and more convenient than a serial link. 2.11BSD has built-in drivers for Ethernet, and a TCP/IP stack, but you won't be running 2.11BSD on a PDP-11/23. I'm not sure if older versions of UNIX support TCP/IP on the PDP-11, I haven't personally played with them.

    As to cabling, you'll want a media converter. AUI (Thicknet) to 10baseT (Cat 5) converters are cheap, common, and available. Allied Telesis/Telesyn CentreCOM converters are probably the most common by volume, that's what the majority of mine are and they seem to be super common on eBay. If you need a tested converter and don't want to mess with eBay, PM me, I've got more than I need.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    2.11BSD has built-in drivers for Ethernet, and a TCP/IP stack, but you won't be running 2.11BSD on a PDP-11/23.
    But you can with an 11/73. What better excuse to upgrade with a M8192.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruff View Post
    But you can with an 11/73. What better excuse to upgrade with a M8192.
    If it's an 18-bit backplane, he'll have to either upgrade backplanes or wire wrap the upper four bits. But yeah, easy upgrade if you decide you want to run 2.11BSD! I'm using a microPDP-11/73 with 2.11BSD as my main PDP-11 at the moment.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2011
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    Think the problem is that my brain is so small I can’t wrap my head around the fact that if I get a working network port it won’t be like a windows system where I can see and access drives online. Maybe that’s the reason for migrating to UNIX? Think an 11/73 may be in the cards at some point or perhaps drag out my MicroVAX two and look at that again. Just that it would be fun to have a way to transfer files from the old RT-11 systems to a modern system without lots of aggravation. MicroVAX won’t address some of my favorite devices like the RL or RX drives. May also revisit the process of using the PDP-11 GUI on a Windows system and seeing how fast of a RS-232 port that I can put in the 11, forget the Ethernet stuff for now. Going from modern systems at work to primitive systems at home appears to be too much of a challenge for me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    Think the problem is that my brain is so small I canít wrap my head around the fact that if I get a working network port it wonít be like a windows system where I can see and access drives online. Maybe thatís the reason for migrating to UNIX? Think an 11/73 may be in the cards at some point or perhaps drag out my MicroVAX two and look at that again. Just that it would be fun to have a way to transfer files from the old RT-11 systems to a modern system without lots of aggravation. MicroVAX wonít address some of my favorite devices like the RL or RX drives. May also revisit the process of using the PDP-11 GUI on a Windows system and seeing how fast of a RS-232 port that I can put in the 11, forget the Ethernet stuff for now. Going from modern systems at work to primitive systems at home appears to be too much of a challenge for me.
    Look into the TSX+ package that S&H just released for hobbyist work. It will work on a 11/23 with 256k Memory or more. Add the Shop-PDP TCP-IP and you have a powerful combination. You get all the feel and most of software of RT-11 plus multiple windowed VT100 sessions and most programs can get 28KW of memory. You can start an FTP transfer as either host or client, while doing other work or play at the same time. The toolset includes:

    Code:
    TCP/IP Network Server 
    Telnet Client 
    Remote TELNET Server 
    Remote Telnet Port Server 
    CNCT Client 
    Remote CNCT Server 
    Remote CNCT Port Server 
    FTP Client 
    FTPL Client 
    Remote FTP Server 
    MAIL Client 
    MMAIL Client 
    POP3 Mail Server 
    MAILER Task 
    Remote MAIL Server 
    Local Printer Utilities 
    Remote LPD Server 
    Printer Daemon 
    Remote Printer Utilities 
    Remote Binary File Printing 
    Remote HTTP Web Server 
    Remote Gopher Server 
    Remote Authorization Server 
    Port Monitor Program 
    Password and Authorization Files 
    Client/Server Monitor 
    Subdirectory Utilities  
    Subdirectory Summary Utility
    All this w/o losing the fallback to basic RT11 whenever you want.

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