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Thread: Easy to set up Network System that work with Boot ROMs?

  1. #1
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    Default Easy to set up Network System that work with Boot ROMs?

    I picked up a very rare network card for an IBM JX which is looking for a network to serve it a file. On boot, it seems to be waiting for a response from a server but eventually times out. Appears to be coaxial Ethernet - is there something simple I can install that supports an NE2000 so I can see if I can serve it a boot image?

    Thanks for any thoughts;

    Anthony
    B5BC0C66-A564-4286-BDD1-E3A7E2C021BA.jpeg
    DC3F0DB6-39FF-4EDD-8CDC-EB9C10A22874.jpeg

  2. #2

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    You should be really careful unless you know exactly what that card is. The IBM Cluster Adapter was period correct for the time, and it also uses a BNC connector. And it's also a totally different network technology that is not compatible with Ethernet.

    Can you post higher resolution pictures of the card? (Both sides ...)

  3. #3
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    Hi Mike -

    Sure thing - here it is.

    5630CE79-544A-4496-8C66-FB5945A26807.jpeg
    9979A1BE-54BB-4E28-A685-2D2B7B7937E3.jpeg

    For more clues - I should point out it is one of the PCs mentioned in this press release -
    http://www.thepcmuseum.com/ibmjx/jx_in_bendigo.pdf

  4. #4
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    I am just reading this -

    http://minuszerodegrees.net/oa/OA%20...%20Adapter.pdf

    and I am pretty sure you are right - it will be an IBM Cluster Adaptor. Now I need to figure out what to do with it.

    Anthony

  5. #5

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    That is what I expected. And it's good think you did not try to hook it up to Ethernet ... I'm not sure which side would earn the "hit points."

    I have two ISA versions of that adapter here and several PCjr versions of it. The technical reference is readily available. I am looking to port mTCP to it so that we can have mTCP running on top of native, IBM specific hardware, and for Internet connectivity I'll write a small gateway program to bridge Cluster to Ethernet. But I haven't even started poking at the adapter to make it send or receive a packet yet. Compared to Ethernet the programming model it's quite icky; it is like the love child of peer-to-peer SNA and Ethernet.

    Keep it safe - it will make a wonderful part of a VCF exhibit one day. (The PC, PCjr, and PC XT all part of an IBM Cluster Network.)

  6. #6
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    I have just bought a New Old Stock IBM PC Cluster Adaptor. Is the software available somewhere? Would love to give it a spin. Would be great to bring a JX over to the USA as part of a PCjr exhibit.

    I ordered a JRide the other day - over the next week or two I plan to wire up an Adaptor to theoretically use PCJr sidecars in the JX expansion bay.

    782F5E51-485F-4B7C-870E-7CDAFBB68222.jpeg

  7. #7
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    It seems to have been a predecessor to the IBM PC Network (Broadband) cards (CSMA/CA vs CSMA/CD and 375Kbps vs 2Mbps). Maybe there is some IBM Networking software, but I'm not sure which would cater to interfaces that old.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_Network

    Mirror of the old IBM PCCBBS here:
    http://ps-2.kev009.com/pccbbs/
    The allfiles.txt in the root has all the descriptions.
    Last edited by WBST; May 21st, 2020 at 09:42 AM.

  8. #8
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    I have just found this article from 1989 which indicates that IBM JX computers with cluster cards can communicate with an AT with a cluster card under Novell Netware. This is apparently also an option.

    https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.co...2889%2990008-3

    I need to see if I can find a copy of this version - it may contain drivers for this board.

    Anthony

  9. #9
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    A possible clue to the Netware support for the IBM Cluster Adapter variants:
    https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cg...h_a&subtype=CA
    Last edited by WBST; June 11th, 2020 at 12:07 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Beckett View Post
    ...for an IBM JX...
    Oh sure.. you just have to rub in the fact you have a working JX that isn't smashed into a million plastic bits like mine!
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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