Warp Nine F/MUX Parallel Port Multiplexor

From Warp Nine Engineering (previously FarPoint Communications). 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 peripherals.
   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 port.

F/MUX Software
  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 warranty.

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. 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?

Content created and/or collected by:
Louis F. Ohland, Peter H. Wendt, David L. Beem, William R. Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Tomáš Slavotínek, Jim Shorney, Tim N. Clarke, Kevin Bowling, and many others.

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