ArcNet and the Pursuit of Multiple Topologies

From: Robert Kirk Scott <>
Date: Tue Oct 9 17:10:21 2001

Tarsi wrote:

> 1) Who knows some stuff about ArcNet? I've gotten 4 cards (8-bit ISA) and a
> 16-port active hub. I've read somewhere that cards are either hubbable or
> not. Any other info on that?

I played around with ARCnet and enjoyed it immensely. The compnents are
cheap and available and although it is slow, it is very forgiving. At
one time I had an ethernet segment and an ARCnet segment with a Linux
slackware box doing the routing between them! The ARCnet machines could
access the internet through the Linux box! It was a hoot! As far as the
cards cabling go some are star topology and some are linear topology and
some have a jumper that enables you to switch between the two. The only
caveat with the linear topology is that the ends have to be terminated.
> 2) Anyone have any (I think it is) 93ohm coax arcnet patch cables that they
> want to get rid of?

I found that regular old coax cable tv lines worked fine with the screw
on bayonet fittings applied to the ends.

> 4) Any other interesting topologies I should try? I have plans to do:
> Arcnet, FDDI, Token ring, Localtalk, 10b2, 10b5, 10bT, 10bTX, 10bFiber, and
> (eventually) 802.11b wireless.

The IBM PCLan looks interesting and sets of the adapters and the access
unit (brand new) were available on Ebay not too long ago.

By the way the Linux-Arcnet list is still there, if a little inactive,
but they have a lot of information. Do a search on "Avery Pennarum" the
author of the Linux driver. Practically everything you need to know is
in the standard Linux kernels -- compile one with the ARCnet option
enabled and then look for arcnet.txt This document even has jumper
settings and specs for many of the common cards as well as instructions
for routing and IP configuration.

If you need an active hub to play with I might have one or two to spare.
Also have some parallel port ARCnet adapters (alas only Netware drivers
exist for these) which I never could get working. Also some microchannel
ARCnet adapters. Contact me offlist if you need any of these.

Kirk Scott
Received on Tue Oct 09 2001 - 17:10:21 BST

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