General Network Information

Last update : 24 August 2000 / 15.35 CET


[Fuji Town (Cover of Atari Computing issue 2)]   It is possible to connect an ethernet adaptor to every Atari (Mega) ST, (Mega) STe, TT or Falcon. Around 1991 BioData and PAM's Net developped a few good, but expensive, adaptors. I guess everybody will still remember the Bionet 100 adaptor from BioData.
Today almost all the adaptors have a SCSI interface. Don't panic if you don't have a TT or a Falcon with a SCSI connector. If you have a Link95 cable (only DM 140) or another ACSI to SCSI device you can connect such a new adaptor.
The new compatible TOS computers all posess PCI (Hades and Milan) or ISA (Medusa and Centurbo II Falcon accelerator) slots. The manufacturers of the Hades and the Milan also develop NE2000 compatible etnernet network cards that fit in there machines. They supply the cards with the drivers.
There also exist SCSI ethernet connectors who are made for other computers (like for the mac). There would be some made by Adaptec. They are pretty neat looking units in a vertical standing 5 cm wide box, separately powered so they don't draw through the SCSI.
Parallel ethernet adaptors are also widely available. But since no Atari has a fully bidirectional parallel port another way to connect it to our Atari must be found. This always implies the fabrication of some extra hardware.
But in both cases it would mean writing your own driver.
This is still the biggest problem for the average Atari-user. If you never programmed before and you do not know anything about it, it isn't very simple to do this. But fortunately there exist already a lot of drivers. They are available on the most FTP-sites, also on the Belgian FTP Site.

Does anyone have experience with writing his own driver?
I've heard this :
Writing drivers is not too bad. You have to supply a routine to open, to close, to transmit, to receive and to respond to the SCSI query that is done during a boot at the minimum. Probably more problematic is understanding enough about the ethernet protocol to cover it sufficiently to get the system running - that and having some specs for the box you are trying to program.
I think the best way to write your own driver is to look to another driver and use it as the base for yours, but who am I to say this.

But off course there also are other ways to connect Atari's together. Even much cheaper ways. But then you are limited in the number of computers and/or the type, ex only TOS-compatibles. The most used network to connect TOS-compatible computers is undoubtedly the Midi-Com network and all his variants. I do not know much about this. But I know the speed isn't as high as when you use an ethernet adaptor.
Since the comming of STinG and its different modules Local Atari Networks can also easaly be made using simple serial/Midi cables. The connection with foreign Operating Systems is also even possible. More about this in the L.A.N. section of this site.

I hope you will find some information on these pages you can use. If you would see a mistake or you have extra comments, please feel free to contact me. I don't know everything and am also here to learn...

Mail me at :

Karl Samyn
Saka@village.uunet.be

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