F/MUX Parallel Port Multiplexor
Nine Engineering The bulk of information on this page is from
a pdf sent to me by the president of Warp Nine, Larry Stein.
Easy Multiple Peripheral Connectivity
F/MUX is an easy to install IEEE 1284 (draft) standard
compliant multiplexor that plugs into the parallel port of virtually any
high performance DOS, Windows, or PS/2 host or
server to flawlessly transmit data to as many as 4 peripheral devices over
a common data link.
Easy Peripheral Installation
F/MUX allows multiple peripherals to share a common communications
path, thereby reducing the number of data links required. It eliminates
the requirement and expense of multiple parallel port cards, multiple PC
cable connections, and cumbersome host software required to manage external
There's no complicated "balancing" or reassignment of
IRQs or Interrupt Addresses. because F/MUX is an extension of the already
installed parallel port. All that's required is easy installation of necessary
device driver software provided by each peripheral vendor, installation
of F/MUX software, and simple attachment of F/MUX: to the computer's parallel
Looking for it. More as I find out...
Benefits to PS/2 ExpressPrint Users
To quote IBM "Using vendor supplied multiplexer and software,
users can attach up to four supported printers and output 300 dpi complex
graphics at the rated speed of the printer and still have capacity left
over.Compared to a direct LAN attachment, where data is sent over the LAN
twice before being printed, the busmaster ExpressPrint Parallel Port not
only reduces the load on the server processor, but prevents the LAN from
being flooded with unnecessary printer traffic".
What Happened to The F/MUX?
After the F/Mux was demonstrated operating off the ExpressPrint
port at the PC Expo show in New York, IBM did a Boca self destruct. No
orders were made.
From the Designer
"At the PC Expo show we demoed one ExpressPrint driving
4 laser printers, printing graphics and operating at full rated speed,
concurrently. It was a pretty cool demo."
IEEE 1284 Compliant
F/MUX is IEEE 1284 compliant, supporting all modes of
operation including Compatibility or Fast Centronics Mode. This allows
F/MUX to support multiple high-performance laser printers. along with Extended
Capabilities Port (ECP) and Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) compliant CD-ROM
players, external tape backup units, removable disk drives, SCSI adapters.
or external LAN adapters. When an F/MUX is attached to an Enhanced Parallel
Port, such as Warp Nine Engineering's F/PORT.
(ISA, sigh!) it enables throughput up to 2 MB/second for increased productivity
using multiple external peripheral devices.
Fast High Volume Printing
F/MUX meets the demand of high volume printing requirements,
allowing attachment of a single computer or server to multiple high performance
laser printers. It passes data as fast as the printer can accept it. F/MUX
can be connected to standard parallel ports, but performance will be limited
to the speed of the port. The F/MUX can be up to 30 feet away from
the computer if attached with a 1284 cable (such as FP/I 2X4 Cables from
Warp Nine Engineering). F/MUX is integral to IBM's
PS/2 Server 95 ExpressPrint© and may be employed in similar
configuration attached to servers from other vendors.
Fast Parallel Port Connections
F/MUX supports all IEEE 1284 modes. Conventional character
mode parallel port peripheral products (those relying on byte-by-byte interrupts
exchanged between peripheral and port) are also supported by F/MUX. Whichever
IEEE 1284 mode the peripheral is operating in, the CPU locks on an F/MUX
port in the proper mode with no user intervention required. Depending on
the speed of the computer/server parallel port and the speed of the peripheral
I/O, up to 2 MB/second data rates are supported by F/MUX.
External high speed parallel port multiplexor IEEE 1284
(draft) compliant. Supports high speed external devices such as pocket
LAN adapters. SCSI adapters. printers, tape backup systems, removable disk
drives, CD-ROM players when necessary drivers for each peripheral are installed
Supports up to 2MB/second parallel port data transfer Supports cable connections
up to 30 feet Supports any combination of up to 4 peripheral devices 5-year
Made in the U.S.A. Hmm, must be a typo
here... To you folks in the EU, I suppose this won't mean much, but I've
found US quality and reliability is usually worth the extra price. Plus,
it's a lot easier to get technical support when it's in the same country.
(Remember the Magnetek?)
IEEE 1284 Driver Toolkit
The toolkit information page is HERE.
The request form for the evaluation Toolkit is HERE.
OS support is Win3.1x, W95/98, and WinNT. The drivers support all of the
1284 protocols including Compatible, Nibble, Byte, ECP (with or without
DMA and interrupt), EPP, Device ID and negotiation.
Unknown if this supports the F/Mux. Or even the ExpressPrint
port. More info as it comes in.
Disclaimer: I have not received anything
from Warp Nine Engineering, other than product information and images.
If this actually rises from the ashes, I will damn well buy one. And proceed
to flog the heck out of it with as many things as I can. What good is technology
if you can't abuse it?