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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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

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    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
    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 ...)

    Comment


      #3
      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

      Comment


        #4
        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

        Comment


          #5
          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.)

          Comment


            #6
            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

            Comment


              #7
              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 21, 2020, 09:42 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                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

                Comment


                  #9
                  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 11, 2020, 12:07 AM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    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

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Article on the IBM Cluster Software and Adapters and why they don't form a LAN

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