VII. Ethernet Adaptor for the Atari

[book picture] What about ethernet for the Atari computer ? (4)

There exist different ways to do this.
Ethernet is another solution to connect your Atari to other computers. This is probably the most widly extended way to connect computers to eachother.
The big advantage of ethernet is that it is upported on almost every platform. So as long as there are ethernet adaptors with the necessary drivers and a TCP-IP software layer available, you can use this.
But ethernet adaptors are rather difficult to find for Atari computers, and those that can be found are expensive or don't have a driver for the most common used TCP-IP layer software (i.e. STinG 1.20 and higher).
Nevertheless, the situation is aproving and there is hope.

[book picture] What hardware do I need for an ethernet connection ? (4)

Yes, off course you can. There are even several possibilities. Some of these solutions are rather difficult to find.
  1. Bionet 100 (ACSI)
  2. PAM's FlexLink (SCSI)
  3. Riebl Card (Mega BUS or VME)
  4. D-LINK DE 600 pocket adaptor (ROM-port to parallel port interface)
  5. Pocket adaptors containing RealTek 8012 controller (ROM-port to parallel port interface)
For the most of these devices drivers for several packages are available. More detailed information is available on these pages :

[book picture] What Software do I need for an ethernet connection ? (4)

First of all you need the TCP/IP layer software and the appropriate ethernet driver for this TCP/IP layer software.
  • Most drivers can be found for MiNTNet
  • The TUW TCP/IP pakage also has a couple of drivers for some well known cards (Riebl, PAMs, BIO Data, DE 600, ...)
  • ANS (Atari Network System) also supports some drivers (Riebl, DECDriver)
  • STinG has drivers available for adaptors equipped with AMD Lance and RealTek RTL 8012 controllers.
As far as I know are only MiNTNet and STinG capable of using the standard Web, FTP, Mail Software.

[book picture] (Note this article is from early 1992 so the information is probably somewhat dated. It is included here for information purposes.)

     Some of the readers of the previous article didn't even know that an Atari ethernet board existed. For all who requested more information, here are some details about it. This article covers the Atari hardware and the software implementation. An article about our TCP/IP implementation will follow soon.


About Atari Ethernet Support

     Atari Germany markets ethernet boards for the Atari Mega ST series and Mega STE/TT computers. They were introduced at the Atari fair Dusseldorf 1990 and we got our board soon afterwards. At least the first series were manufactured by Riebl Computertechnik GmbH, Germany and were named "Riebl Card Plus".

     The Cards are built with an AMD 7990 compatible Ethernet controller (LANCE) and 64KB shared memory. The Mega-ST cards fit into the internal slot, the STE/TT boards use the VME slot.

     The board is bundled with ANS Software (Atari Network Services), based on TCP/UDP and features file sharing, printer spooling and redirection. The software doesn't support heterogeneous networking with the well know services (telnet, ftp to the most important 8-)).

     The software is implemented as GEMDOS extension. The programming interface is documented in the manual and cover:

  • ANS: miscellaneous network functions
  • IPC: interprocess communication
  • UDP: UDP protocol functions
  • TCP: TCP protocol funcitons
  • AFS: Atari File System functions and network aware replacements of the original GEMDOS file I/O functions. There are multitasking features to allow the implementation of the mentioned servers.
     In Austria the retail price (board + software) is about 10000 ATS (including 20% VAT) (The exchange rate currently is 1US$ to 11.5 ATS) ((3) This was as of 1992 who knows now - editor). If you know about prices or availability in other coutries let me know, I'll post a summary.

     IMHO I don't think the Riebl Card Plus is available outside continental Europe.

     At present there is no unbundled board available from neither Atari nor the manufacturer. We have to pay for the hardware and the license for the software which we don't use.

     Although it should be possible for an experienced EE student to build a functional equivalent, there is a one time licence fee of US $1000 for an ethernet hardware manufacturer due to IEEE. ( I don't know if the Atari board is licensed, they were not on the list I recently read on the net.)

     I think that some third party manufacturers of affordable ethernet boards could increase the market volume and lower the price.

     If you own a 1040 ST or equivalent you are out of luck with the Atari adapter. In Germany there are several companies which sell ACSI based ethernet adapters, I know PAM Network and BIOnet. As I know litle to nothing about them, please post a question about them if you are interested. Maybe someone is listening who has experience with them. (Hi Peter!)

     Johann Haider

(4) : Site Update of 27 August 2000, © by Karl Samyn