Fun with DOS-networking and IBM MCA

Content by Christian Hansen (original HERE). Modified by Major Tom.
Note: Most local files linked from these pages are missing unfortunately.


I lied a bit with the title. Except for the involved (packet) drivers, these pages are not that MCA specific

If you have 486sx and a few MB's of ram, and thought you hated Linux, try your mileage having Fun with DOS networking. Whenever you download files from this site, you should know, that my uplink speed is only 128bps, or 16KBs. These pages only cover TCP/IP. You won't find anything on NetBui, Novell, or anything not based on TCP/IP.

First a few words on the DOS flavour I used when doing these pages. It was Caldera DR-DOS 7.03. It can do multitasking, and have built-in DPMI support, which might come handy. A good place to begin searching resources is Christoph Fuchs Unofficial DR-DOS. This doesn't mean that you can't use any other kind of DOS such as PC-DOS or MS 6.22. It means that the stuff described here was tested under DR-DOS.

If you use a laptop such as 9552 or 9553, you might benefit from CardSoft 3.1 from Systemsoft to manage your PCMCIA nic's. Get it from Driversguide. If the external link is broken, or if you don't want to register with them, you can get it (1MB - at least 2 minutes) here. It is a must if you use a laptop with more than one PCMCIA card. The primary component is the socket manager, which is controller dependent, and the file is recognised in the SSxxxxxx.EXE format. Cardsoft 3.1 comes with SSIBM720.EXE and SS365SL.EXE which should cover the two types of PCMCIA controllers involved with PS/2 laptops. During installation you choose between a two or four slot system. A brief introduction to Cardsoft, got to this external link.

A few words on DOS-networking in general. In other os'es such as OS/2, Windows, and Linux etc., you have the ease of an environment whith a well-defined differentiation between application programs, a standardised TCP/IP stack, and the os' devicedrivers. Unfortunately this is not so in DOS, due to the fact that there is no such thing as a standardised TCP/IP stack. The consequences of the lack of a recognised standard-stack is, that applications, stacks, drivers, and whatever, gets all mixed up in different variations, depending on the whim of those who wrote the programs.
To keep things simple, I have strived to make the selections here, from applications which use the Waterloo (WATTCP) implementation of TCP/IP support, and Crynwr implementation of packet drivers. (Read packet drivers as device drivers).
An notable exemption from this scheme is the MS Network Client, which is "how Microsoft does it". Meaning their own TCP/IP stack, and not using packet drivers.

And now to the apps selection:

Waterloo
General use of packet drivers. Configuring TCP/IP for apps relying on WATTCP.
Ssh, scp, telnet and ftp clients. Ping and other tools.

A modem dialer to go
Works with the above ssh, scp, telnet, ftp etc, the below Arachne, but (probably?) not Iproute. No hard scripting - easy to use, WATTCP config hooks in.

The graphic webbrowser and e-mail client Arachne
A slow beast. You might be better off with Explorer 3.x and wfwg 3.11.
Uses autosearch for installed packet drivers and WATTCP TCP/IP configuration.

Routing, NetworkAddressTranslation (NAT) and Firewalling with Iproute 0.97
Uses packet drivers, but have own TCP/IP stack and do. configuration.
Could be the tool you have been looking for, combining your internal ether- and Tolkien networks access to the public Internet. Built-in (hellish) modem dialer. Under construction

Boa, the http webserver
You will be stuck with 8.3 filenames. Uses packet drivers, but have own TCP/IP stack and do. configuration file. Uses DPMI memory handling.

Axing the MS Network Client 3.0
This is an absolutely must, if you want to network with anything else but "Windows Network Neighbourhood". The setup cleans out the drivers and TSR's MS Network Client 3.0 installs in memory, so you can reuse your hardware with the Waterloo TCP/IP stacks and Crynwr packet drivers as described above, without having to reboot. Thanks to Wild Bill for sound comments.

On the side: "Hyperterminal" for DOS
A terminal emulator to do connections between two "COM" ports. I use this when I have shut myself out from the Cisco 677 ADSL routers ethernet connection, and have to use the "Management" connection.

If someone finds a DOS based dhcp server, I would love to know.

Have fun
Christian Hansen

Content created and/or collected by:
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