PicLan - Networking for Pick

(C) Copyright 1990-1998 Modular Software Corporation. All rights reserved.

Version - February 28, 1998

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4: Network Configurations

PicLan is available for a number of Pick host environments. This in combination with a variety of DOS networking architechures and software allows for a wide variety of possible network configurations. This chapter discusses what network configurations work and what software and hardware is required for each type of Pick host system.

4.1: Supported Hosts

PicLan supports the following Pick host systems in the following configurations. This information may be subject to change, so please review the PicLan Technical Release Notes that are included with the PicLan installation software.

4.1.1: Pick Systems R83

PicLan supports Pick Systems R83 version 3.0 and 3.1. The PicLan software diskettes for this release also include software for the AP/Native version of PicLan so you can install a single release onto either R83 or AP/Native system. This release has the following features and characteristics:

4.1.2: Pick Systems AP/Native

PicLan supports Pick Systems AP/Native version 5.2.0 through 5.2.7. This release has the following features and characteristics:

Because AP/Native version 5.2.4 and later is a 65 user AP release, PicLan is typically installed to use ports 33-64 and serial adapters are installed to use ports 1-32.

4.1.3: Pick Systems AP/Protected Mode

PicLan supports Pick Systems AP/Pro version 6.1. This release has the following features and characteristics:

4.1.4: Sanyo/Icon UPBOARD

PicLan supports Sanyo/Icon UPBOARD versions 92a and later. This release has the following features and characteristics:

4.1.5: Alpha Microsystems Pick/64+

PicLan supports Alpha Microsystems Pick/64+ version 2.2 and 2.3. This release has the following features:

4.1.6: Sequoia PRO

PicLan supports Sequoia PRO release 2.4. This release has the following features and characteristics.

4.1.7: General Automation R91

PicLan supports GA R91 release 8.1 (09) and later as well as 8.2. This release has the following features and characteristics.

4.1.8: ADDS/RunRiver/GA PC/OS

PicLan supports ADDS PC/OS release 3.0M as distributed by Monolith Corporation. The 3.0 release distributed directly by ADDS is not supported. This release has the following features and characteristics:

4.1.9: ADDS/RunRiver/GA Mentor PRO

PicLan supports ADDS PC/OS release 4.0 and 4.1 as distributed by General Automation. This release has the following features and characteristics:

4.2: Network Protocols

PicLan is an IPX-based networking product. IPX (Internetwork Packet eXchange) is an extension to the XNS (Xerox Network Services) protocol. The IPX protocol is the core protocol for Novell NetWare networking software, making it by weight of numbers the "most popular" local area network protocol in use today. In order for PicLan to work with a network, that network must support IPX protocol data packets and DOS workstations must support the IPX protocol and either the IPX API (Applications Programming Interface) functions or have one of the driver interface specifications that PicLan supports such as Packet-driver or NDIS. The network does not need to be exclusively IPX, however, and co-existence with other protocols such as NETBEUI, TCP/IP, and others is possible.

4.3: Pick Host Connections

A PicLan Pick host system connects to a network through the use of a local area network adapter that is installed directly in the Pick system. The type of adapter, and thus the type of network that can be attached to, varies with each PicLan implementation.

R83 AP/Native Pick/64+ PC/OS Seq/Pro
These PicLan hosts all use an Ethernet network adapter and connect to an Ethernet segment of a local area network. For each of these systems, you purchase a network adapter as a part of your PicLan package. For ISA and EISA bus systems, there is a single model of adapter that supports all Ethernet cabling specifications (transceiver, coaxial, and twisted-pair). For MCA (PS/2) bus systems, there is one adapter that supports transceiver and coaxial cabling and another adapter that supports twisted-pair cabling. For R83 and AP/Native, you must specify the type of adapter you need when you order PicLan. Pick/64+ and Sequoia PRO are not supported on MCA bus systems, so only the ISA bus adapter is available.
Pick/64+ Seq/Pro
If you wish to use PCI network adapters, you can request this at the time that you order PicLan. This requires that you load the new 32-bit PicLan drivers for these platforms. You can choose between standard Ethernet and Fast Ethernet.
AP/Pro Men/PRO
These PicLan hosts use an Ethernet network adapter and connect to an Ethernet segment of a local area network. For these systems, you purchase a network adapter independently of the PicLan software package.
This PicLan host uses General Automation Lan adapters which you purchase directly from GA or from your GA dealer. The GA Lan adapters are local area network adapters that support the ArcNET specification. All GA Lan adapters support coaxial star-configuration ArcNET cabling and some optionally (via jumper selection) support coaxial bus-configuration ArcNET cabling. Some GA Lan adapter models have only a single coaxial connection. Other adapter models have multiple coaxial connections. With multiple connections, the GA Lan adapter is effectively an active ArcNET hub. Most installations will opt not to use the internal active hub characteristics of GA Lan adapters and will instead opt to use external active and passive ArcNET hubs. The advantage of using external hubs is that powering down the GA system does not disable your ArcNET network.
The UPBOARD Pick implementation is actually hosted on top of a DOS environment. This allows PicLan to be dual personality with respect to network adapter support. If you are installing an UPBOARD without the use of DOS IPX drivers, the UPBOARD uses the same network adapters as does R83, AP/Native, and Pick/64+. If you are installing an UPBOARD with the use of DOS IPX drivers, you can use any type of network adapter with any type of network architecture. This includes direct connections to Ethernet, ArcNET, Token-Ring, FDDI, TCNS, and others.

4.3.1: Compatible Ethernet Adapters

PicLan embedded Ethernet driver is compatible with a total of four Ethernet adapter's architechures. On the Pick host system, you must use one of these adapters within the limitations of the PicLan version for your particular host.

NE-2000 Compatible Adapters

PicLan is compatible with adapters that adhere to the NE-2000 specification originally designed by Novell. There adapters are very inexpensive and are available from over 100 sources. Modular Software does not test every brand, but field reports show that most brands work well. The adapters that are included with some PicLan package are multi-personality adapters that are compatible with the NE-2000 specification.

Western Digital WD8003/8013 Compatible Adapters

PicLan is compatible with the WD8003 (8-bit) and WD8013 (16-bit) ISA adapters originally manufactured by Western Digital Corporation. These adapters are not nearly as readily available as the NE-2000 type adapters, but boast better performance, particularly for larger systems. The following adapters have been used at Modular Software with PicLan:

Other adapters may be compatible with PicLan, but this has not been tested.

WD Elite/A Compatible Adapters

The WD Elite/A and SMC Elite/A adapters are 8013 style adapters for MicroChannel systems. These adapters may be used with PicLan versions that support MicroChannel systems such as R83 and AP/Native.

DEC 21x4x PCI Adapters

PicLan versions with 32-bit network drivers (currently AP/Pro, Mentor PC/OS, and Mentor/PRO) can use network adapters that are based on the Digital Equipment Corporation "Tulip" series of Ethernet controller chips. These adapters are made by a number of companies and utilize PCI expansion slots. The "Tulip" series of controller chips consist of fivee different chips:

The following brands and chip-types have been tested in-house at Modular Software:

Other adapters from SMC, Kingston, and other are also repored to work with PicLan.

4.3.2: Workstation Connections

PicLan's DOS and Windows workstation utilities are multi-personality with regards to network connections. The PicLan DOS workstation software can directly interface to PicLan Ethernet network adapters, or operate with any brand of network adapter through the use of IPX, Packet, or NDIS drivers.

Direct Use of Network Adapters

PicLan can use PicLan network adapters on DOS workstations without having DOS IPX drivers present. This environment is only typically used for very small installations. Any of the types of network adapters that are supported in the Pick host system will also work in DOS workstation in this configuration.

DOS IPX Drivers with NetWare

Most PicLan installations use workstation network adapters supported by DOS IPX drivers that were included with Novell NetWare. PicLan DOS utilities are compatible with all current, and most older version of IPX drivers included with NetWare 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, NetWare Lite, and Personal NetWare. Both old-style (SHELLGEN/WSGEN) IPX.COM drivers are supported as well as the newer ODI specifications drivers and Novell's Client-32 for DOS and Windows.

DOS IPX Drivers with Windows for Workgroups

PicLan DOS utilities are compatible with the Windows for Workgroups 3.1 MSIPX program. This program is actually an old-style Novell IPX driver (similar to IPX.COM internally) that Microsoft has linked into their NDIS protocol stack. Windows for Workgoups 3.11 no longer includes the MSIPX program and we recommend that PicLan users not use MSIPX with Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (use the PicLan NDIS driver interface described below instead). If you need more information about MSIPX, consult the Windows for Workgroups 3.1 Resource Kit published by Microsoft.

DOS IPX Drivers for Lan Manager, NT, and Lan Server

Microsoft Lan Manager, Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server, and IBM Lan Server use NDIS drivers for DOS workstations. A number of NetWare interconnectivity products are available for these platforms including the ability to load IPX drivers and to use either ODI, NDIS, or Packet-Driver specification LAN adapter hardware drivers. If you have IPX drivers loaded, PicLan will use them. The main problem with loading IPX drivers in this situation is legally obtaining them. Programs like Novell's ODINSUP work very well, but are generally unobtainable without licensing NetWare.

DOS IPX Drivers from Other Sources

PicLan DOS utilities should be compatible with most other third-party IPX drivers including products like Spry Concurrent and similar.

DOS Packet-Driver Ethernet Drivers

PicLan will operate in conjunction with DOS workstation software that utilizes the Clarkson University "free-ware" packet-driver specification Ethernet LAN adapter drivers. The PicLan DOS software makes a direct interface to the loaded packet-driver without the use of an IPX API provider. PicLan ships with a collection of "free-ware" packet-driver drivers. Additional packet-driver drivers are available from a number of network adapter manufacturers.

DOS Packet-Driver ArcNET Drivers

PicLan will operate in conjunction with DOS workstation software that utilizes the Clarkson University "free-ware" packet-driver specification ArcNET LAN adapter drivers. The PicLan DOS software makes a direct interface to the loaded packet-driver without the use of an IPX API provider. ArcNET compatibility is provided within PicLan primarily for General Automation R91 users. PicLan ships with a "free-ware" packet-driver supporting RX-NET style ArcNET adapters. Additional packet-driver drivers may be available from network adapter manufacturers.

DOS NDIS Ethernet Drivers

PicLan will operate in conjunctions with DOS workstation software that utilizes NDIS 2.0 (real-mode) Ethernet LAN adapter drivers. The PicLan DOS software is compatible with the packet-driver to NDIS converter program thus allowing PicLan to operate without the use of an IPX API provider. PicLan ships with the packet-driver to NDIS converter program.

DOS NDIS Drivers with Windows for Workgroups

Microsoft Windows for Workgroups version 3.11 can operate in conjunction with a number of different DOS drivers. Windows for Workgroups can interface to Novell IPX and ODI drivers, or can use NDIS 2.0 (real-mode) or NDIS 3.0 (protected-mode) LAN drivers. PicLan can interface to NDIS 2.0 (real-mode) drivers in conjunction with Windows for Workgroups using the packet-driver to NDIS converter that is shipped with PicLan.

32-Bit IPX Stack with Windows 95

PicLan will operate with the 32-bit IPX stack included with Windows 95 regardless of the type of network adapter installed. PicLan is also compatible with the Novell Client-32 software under Windows 95.

32-Bit IPX Stack with Windows NT

PicLan will operate with the 32-bit IPX stack included with Windows NT workstation and server regardless of the type of network adapter installed.

4.4: Internetworks

PicLan requires that the Pick host system be connected to a network and that the DOS workstation also be connected to a network. The networks themselves then either need to be the same network or need to be a part of a larger internetwork environment that supports the IPX protocol. The IPX protocol, by design, is routable. A routable protocol includes internal data structures and addressing conventions within each network packet that allow packets to be forwarded from one network to another by a device called a router. Local area networks have distinct limitations as to size, performance, and extensibility. The most common approach to reducing these limitations is through the implementation of multiple networks that are interconnected with routers. These interconnected networks for an internetwork that acts as a single, larger network. Any workstation on any part of the internetwork can access any server on any other part of the internetwork. The internetwork does not have to be composed of a single type network architecture. You can easily construct an internetwork with segments that are ArcNET, Ethernet, Token-Ring, and others all working together in a global environment.

Internetworks can grow to be quite large. A single Ethernet network can typically be thought as capable of supporting 50 to 200 connections or node. Internetworks exist with in excess of 10,000 nodes. PicLan is fully compatible with internetworks that support the IPX protocol.

4.4.1: Repeaters and Hubs

Some networking architechures support devices called Repeaters and Hubs. These devices are essentially signal amplifiers that allows cable length and workstation count limitations to be increased in a completely protocol-independent manner. Repeaters and Hubs typically only work between networks of the same architecture such as Ethernet to Ethernet or ArcNET to ArcNET. When you use a repeater or hub to connect two networks, all network traffic on one side of the repeater is re-created on the other side of the repeater. This means that repeaters and hubs do nothing to reduce the amount of network traffic on a particular network segment.

4.4.2: Bridges

A bridge is a dedicated network device that is used to connect two or more networks together. While similar to a repeater, a bridge is different in that is has some degree of intelligence. Bridges can understand the internals of networking protocols and can selectively move network traffic from one segment to another. Bridges can also connect dissimilar networks such as Ethernet and ArcNET.

4.4.3: Routers

A router is similar to a bridge in that it connects two or more networks together. A routers is different from a bridge in that it requires that the network protocols that are to be moved across the router are routable. A routable protocol (of which IPX is one) includes internal addressing information within each package that allows a router to know intelligently where the packet needs to be sent. NetWare and IPX networks are typically built entirely with routers and do not use bridges or repeaters.

PC-based Routers

Most Novell NetWare networks use PC-based routers. A PC-based router is simply a PC system, running router software, that has more than one network adapter installed in it. The router software comes with most versions of NetWare for free. There are actually two types of PC-based routers. Internal routers are routers that are actually a part of a NetWare file-server. If you place more than one network adapter into a NetWare file-server, you are creating a router. External routers are PC systems that are not NetWare file-servers and are instead stand-alone PC systems running a DOS router program. This external router program is created with the NetWare ROUTEGEN program that is included with older versions of server-based NetWare (newer version of NetWare no longer include ROUTEGEN). External routers are used in situations where cabling prohibits the use of internal routers.

Windows NT Routers

Windows NTserver version 4.0 includes IPX routing. Windows NT Workstation does not include IPX routing. These IPX routing functions are compatible with PicLan. If you use these routing function, you should install the "routing and RAS" update pack from Microsoft as this makes router installation and operation much easier (this upgrade pack is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft's web site).

High-end Routers

Several companies make dedicated high-end routers that support the IPX protocol. A high-end router may be appropriate in extremely high traffic networks where PC-based routers have inadequate performance. High-end routers are also used in installations with wide-area network links where it is desirable for the router to perform data compression or other specialized functions. High-end routers are typically only users in larger installations.

4.4.4: Specific Pick Host Internetwork Limitations

Because each type of PicLan host system has limitations as to the type of network it can connect to, you should consider whether a router is required for a particular installation. PicLan always supports the use of routers, but in some situation, routers are mandatory.

These hosts are all exclusively connected to Ethernet. If you have a network that does not have all Ethernet devices, you will need to use a router.
The General Automation R91 host is exclusively ArcNET. If you have a network that does not include all ArcNET devices, you will need to use a router.
The UPBOARD host can use either Ethernet PicLan adapters, or it can use other network adapters with DOS IPX drivers. This means that when DOS IPX drivers are present, the UPBOARD can connect directly to any type of network.

4.4.5: Multiple Pick Hosts

You can build PicLan network with more than one Pick host system either with or without the presence of DOS workstations or a DOS network. If you need to network two different Pick host systems and the systems support the same type of network interface (such as R83 to Pick/64+ with Ethernet), you can simply cable the system to each other directly. If you are networking two hosts that use different network interfaces (such as R83 and R91 with Ethernet and ArcNET respectively), you will need to insert an IPX router in between the two systems to make the connection.

4.5: Wide Area Networks

IPX as a networking protocol can be transmitted by a variety of means over a variety of mediums. Local area networks such as ArcNET, Ethernet, and Token-Ring are common when the network only needs to extend a short distance. It is also possible to transmit IPX network packets via other, longer distance means. Examples of these long distance means include microwave links, analog telephone circuits with modems, digital telephone circuits, and shared data networks. Wide area networks with IPX protocol data is simply another example of the use of a router.

4.5.1: Telephone Data Circuits

The most common method of implementing wide area IPX networks is through the use of digital telephone circuits. These circuits range from 56 K DDS (Digital Data Circuits) to 1.5 Meg T-1 circuit bundles (24 DDS circuits in a bundle). These type of channels are typically driven directly with IPX network traffic using specialized high-end routers or with PC-based routers and specialized wide area router software such as the NetWare Wide Area Router package. PicLan works very well with these types of connections.

4.5.2: Packet Data Circuits

IPX network can also be extended through the use of X.25 and similar packet-switched data network providers. A packet-switched network is different from a DDS circuit in that it can be multi-drop (can connect more than two points) and is typically billed for the amount of data actually transmitted and is not dedicated to a single customers use. Packet data circuits are typically much slower than DDS circuits and have longer transmission delay times. PicLan still works quite well over these circuits.

4.5.3: Encapsulation Circuits

IPX network traffic can also use other digital data network as wide area interconnections. You can encapsulate IPX network packets within other protocols and send them over wide area networks. You can use TCP/IP encapsulation and send IPX traffic over the Internet. You can use mainframe networks to move data from city to city. All of these solution have the characteristic that when you insert an IPX packet in one end, it comes out the other and it is quite unimportant what happens in the middle. PicLan is also compatible with these types of wide area network solutions.

4.6: Remote Access Connections

PicLan is compatible with most remote network access products. The following products have been tested with PicLan:

In general, any product that allows remote access into an IPX network will allow remote access to Pick functions.

4.7: Optional PicLan Components

PicLan includes two components that must be licensed in order to use certain PicLan functions. For R83, AP/Native, AP/Protected Mode, Pick/64+, Sequoia PRO, PC/OS, and UPBOARD systems these components are optional and an additional license fee must be paid in order to use these components. If you have an existing PicLan installation, you can add these functions by simply entering in new license authorization code information into the PicLan install. You do not need to re-install PicLan or receive new software from Modular Software. PicLan for AP/Pro, Mentor/PRO, and R91 includes these components in the base PicLan package.

4.7.1: Pick to Pick Option

PicLan installations can include multiple Pick host systems. These Pick host systems can consist of a mixture of all of the Pick systems that PicLan supports. The base PicLan software license includes support for network functions between Pick host systems and DOS workstation systems only. If you are building a network with multiple Pick host systems, you may optionally elect to license Pick to Pick functionality that may be useful in your network environment. This additional functionality includes Pick to Pick file-transfer functions, remote file access functions, remote printing support, and remote login support for async users. This PicLan Pick to Pick option is priced based on the number of Pick host systems present on the network. Pick to Pick functions require at least a 1-user PicLan package as well as the Pick to Pick option installed on each Pick host in order to operate.

4.7.2: DOS Services Gateway Option

The base PicLan system includes DOS workstation utilities for terminal emulation, file-transfer, and workstation printing functions. The PicLan DOS Services Gateway extends these functions allowing non-network Pick users access to DOS files through IMPORT and EXPORT type functions, DOS file access functions, as well as providing more full-featured Pick to DOS printing functionality. The DOS Services Gateway software executes on a dedicated DOS workstation that is connected to the network. The DOS Services Gateway computer system will need to be configured with appropriate PC and networking hardware to allow it to perform the desired functions (i.e. printer connectivity or DOS file storage). The DOS Services Gateway provides additional Pick to NetWare and NetWare to Pick remote print spooling functions for sites using server-based Novell NetWare. The PicLan DOS Services Gateway license fee is based on the number of Pick host systems that will have access to DOS Services Gateway functions on the network. Multiple DOS Services Gateway systems may be used on a single PicLan network without additional licensing although this is usually not necessary, particularly in NetWare installations.

4.8: Workstation Requirements

In addition to requiring compatible network interfaces as described previously, PicLan networks require DOS workstation to be configured with:

In addition, PicLan DOS utility programs are capable of utilizing a number of DOS functions including:

4.8.1: DOS Network Interface Requirements

PicLan requires that each DOS workstation have one of the following network interface configurations:

4.8.2: Windows Support

PicLan DOS software may be used within a Microsoft Windows environment (Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, and Windows NT). PicLan also includes 16-bit Windows applications for status display, DOS Services Gateway, and terminal emulation functions.

32-Bit Windows Support

PicLan includes both driver and utility software specifically designed for Windows 95 and Windows NT. The current PicLan release includes multi-threaded 32-bit driver layers as well as a 32-bit terminal emulator and 32-bit Dos Services Gateway program. Additional 32-bit components will be added in future releases. All 16-bit Windows and DOS PicLan components are also fully usable within a 32-bit Windows 95 and Windows NT environment.

4.8.3: Using DOS Multi-tasking Software

DOS multi-tasking software such as Desqview, the DOS task swapper, and similar programs often do not work reliably with PicLan and their use is not recommended.

4.8.4: Using Third-party Terminal Emulators and Connectivity Products

PicLan is compatible with several third-party terminal emulator that have has specific PicLan support code added to them. These include:

This is a partial list. Other products are under development and some of these products may not be shipping production yet. Contact the specific third-party supplier for specific details on PicLan support within their products.

A PicLan DOS/Windows SDK (Software Development Kit) is available to users who wish to use PicLan connections with their own in-house emulator/file-transfer programs. This SDK is designed to be accessed from DOS and Windows applications written in 'C' that would normally access a serial port.

4.8.5: The PicLan Visual Basic Toolkit

A toolkit allowing Visual Basic applications to use PicLan services is available. This toolkit is documented in the on-line help that is included with the PicLan client. Functions for file access and remote procedure calls are included allowing Visual Basic applications to interact with Pick database files.

4.9: DOS Services Gateway System Requirements

The PicLan DOS Services Gateway software may either be run on a dedicated or semi-dedicated DOS workstation or as a 16-bit Windows applications under Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, or Windows NT. If a DOS workstation is used, this workstation should be configured with:

The DOS Services Gateway does not require that the workstation have a local hard disk or even a local floppy disk provided that the system has access to network drive storage. Adding additional processor performance and memory may help DOS Services Gateway performance, but is not required for most installations.

The DOS Services Gateway is designed to be a dedicated system. You cannot use the gateway system for other DOS tasks, although you can use the Gateway system as a "terminal" into the Pick host and as a place to connect parallel printers.

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