PicLan for AP/Pro

Version - February 28, 1998

PicLan for AP/Pro is a full-featured version of Piclan implemented for AP/Protected-Mode (AP/Pro). This paper discusses issues regarding PicLan in general, and PicLan with AP/Pro in particular.

How is PicLan Licensed?

PicLan licensing with AP/Pro is very simple.

What Types of Functions does PicLan Provide?

PicLan provides a number of networking functions. These functions are subdivided into three general categories:

DOS/Windows Workstation Functions

These functions are available to DOS and Windows workstation users that are networked to a Pick host system.

Pick to Pick Functions

PicLan supports a number of functions between Pick systems.

DOS Services Gateway Functions

The PicLan DOS Services Gateway consists of a DOS program executing on a dedicated DOS workstation. This DOS program provides access to various DOS functions from the Pick host system without any manual user intervention. The DOS Services Gateway allows the following functions:

What Types of Networks does PicLan Support?

PicLan for AP/Pro supports that same types of networks as does any other PicLan Ethernet based system. These supported networks are quite diverse and many sites actually use combinations of different network architectures. This section discusses networking with PicLan from simple to complex.

Stand-Alone DOS Workstations

PicLan will operate in conjunction with DOS workstation without the use of any other networking software. Simply install an Ethernet adapter in each DOS PC and cable it to the Pick system and that DOS PC becomes a high-performance Pick workstation.

This type of installation is very simple, and particularly for smaller sites is very practical. The biggest limitation of this type of network is that PicLan does not provide DOS network functions between workstations.

If you wish to build this type of network, you must use either the same types of network adapters in each DOS workstation as is supported in the AP/Pro Pick host system, or install compatible packet-drivers on each DOS workstation. Modular Software does not test PicLan with every available DOS packet-driver, so you should test PicLan functionality with a particular card and driver before purchasing a quantity of adapters for workstations.

Pick to Pick Networks

PicLan supports Pick to Pick networks with each Pick system acting as a peer. Simply install networking hardware into each AP/Pro system and connect them together with Ethernet cabling. PicLan can also be used in a Pick to Pick environment with Pick systems from different vendors. It is perfectly practical to build a network that has R83, Alpha Microsystems, and AP/Pro systems all communicating on a single network. This type of installation is usually of highest interest to dealers that are supporting multiple platforms.

Novell Personal NetWare

Personal NetWare (formerly NetWare Lite) is the simplest DOS network that PicLan supports. Simply install any NetWare supported Ethernet adapter into a number of DOS PCs and connect the AP/Pro system to the same network and you are done. PicLan uses the existing DOS IPX drivers that NetWare supplies so workstation configuration is extremely easy.

Server-Based Novell NetWare

The bulk of network installations are built around server-based Novell NetWare. PicLan works with all varieties of NetWare from version 2.0 up through the current 4.1 release. You can build the Novell network to include any type of network topology including Ethernet, ArcNET, Token-Ring, FDDI, and Wide-Area Links and PicLan will communicate with all of them. The AP/Pro system itself must connect to an Ethernet network segment, but the rest of the network is wide open.

PicLan uses the NetWare IPX driver under DOS so workstation installation is extremely easy.

Microsoft Windows for Workgroups

PicLan supports Windows for Workgroups as a general NDIS2 Ethernet network. This means that you will have to specifically install PicLan support on each and every workstation. This installation process is not as straight forward as we would like to see it, but over 200 PicLan installations are successfully up and running with this type of installation.

The primary limitation of PicLan with Windows for Workgroups (and any NDIS network for that matter) is that WFW does not include router functionality as does NetWare. This effectively limits PicLan to smaller networks that are composed of a single network segment.

Microsoft Windows 95

PicLan supports Windows 95 using the Microsoft-supplied IPX stack that is included with Windows 95. Support for DSG file transfer and printing functions is also included. Windows 95 does not act as an IPX router, so external routers must be employed for larger networks.

Microsoft Windows NT

PicLan supports Windows NT using the Microsoft-supplied IPX stack that is included with Windows NT. Support for DSG file transfer and printing functions is also included. Windows NT 4.0 Server now included IPX routing functions eliminating the need for external routers in smaller to medium sized networks.

Artisoft Lantastic

PicLan supports Artisoft Lantastic as a general NDIS Ethernet network. Lantastic version 5.0 supports and 6.0 includes NDIS driver support that allows PicLan to use the same network hardware that Lantastic uses concurrently with Lantastic functions. The installation is about as difficult as a WFW installation and has the same general limitations.

Other NDIS Networks

PicLan is compatible with, and users are running PicLan with several other types of NDIS network including Lan Manager, DEC-Net, and a few others I have never heard of before. If your network uses NDIS2 Ethernet drivers under DOS, PicLan will probably work with it. The biggest problems with these networks is that Modular Software's (for AP/Pro this means Pick Systems) ability to support you is very limited.

Other Packet-Driver Networks

PicLan is also compatible with the Packet-Driver Ethernet DOS interface specification.

Windows 95 and Windows NT

PicLan now supports both Windows 95 and Windows NT directly. PicLan uses the built-in IPX protocol stack that is a part of Windows 95 and Windows NT networking functions. DOS, 16-bit, and 32-bit client applications are included and supported with PicLan. DSG functions are also fully supported.


PicLan does not currently support OS/2. Some very limited PicLan functions will run as DOS applications under OS/2 if the NetWare OS/2 requester is loaded. PicLan OS/2 client support is currently being researched.

Macintosh Clients

Direct PicLan support for Macintosh systems is not currently planned, but a number of users have reported good results running PicLan with Soft-PC and Soft-Windows from Insignia Corporation.

Unix Networks

PicLan was designed in many ways to provide an alternative to Unix networks. We do however have some sites that use PicLan with DOS and Windows workstations that concurrently communicate with Unix servers and native Pick servers. Usually these installs are NDIS2 or Packet-Driver PicLan installs.

What Type of Network Adapters Work with AP/Pro?

In order to use Piclan with your system, you need to have a compatible local area network adapter installed in your AP/Pro system. The following adapters have been tested as compatible with PicLan:

WD/CPX Style Adapters

Adapters that adhere to the WD8003/8013 standard work with PicLan. These include the following models which have been tested at Modular Software: Many of these adapters are no longer available, so you may have to use another style of adapter in order to use PicLan.

NE2000 Style Adapters

Adapters that adhere to the NE2000 standard also work with PicLan. These adapters are available from well over 100 sources. Field experience shows that all but a handful of adapters of this type work well with PicLan. The following models have been tested in-house at Modular Software: There are many other adapter that work. If you wish to use an NE2000 style adapter, you should be able to source one at a local computer store. If you are a dealer, it is suggested that you test the brand of adapter that you plan on using with PicLan before purchasing a large quantity of them.

DEC PCI Adapters

PicLan is also compatible with adapters that use the Digital Equipment Corporation 21040, 21041, 21140, and 21143 Ethernet controller chips. These adapters are all PCI based adapters. The following models have been tested: Other manufacturers also use these DEC chipsets, so you may have other sources available to you.

Company Addresses

These are company addresses of adapters mentioned here:
Compex Inc. U.S.A.
4055 E. La Palma
Unit D
Anaheim, CA 92807 U.S.A.
Phone: (714) 630-7302
Fax: (714) 630-6521
Irvine, CA 92714
Tech Support: (714) 261-1288
Standard Microsystems Corporation
80 Arkay Drive
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Phone: 1 800 SMC-4-YOU
With this variety of compatible network adapters, the question occurs, which adapter should I use. The truth is that it does not matter much. The PCI adapters are the fastest and the NE2000 adapters are the slowest. The PCI adapters are also the most expensive and the NE2000 are the least expensive. In the scheme of things, this probably doesn't matter much. If you have PCI slots, you will probably want to use a PCI adapters to save ISA slots for other users. If slot count is not a problem, the NE2000 adapter work just fine. If you are really worried about performance, the NE2000 cards seem to be good for about 150 users.

One last note, Modular Software will not be selling network adapters for use with AP/Pro.

How do PicLan Users Appear on AP/Pro

When you load PicLan onto an AP/Pro system, users "logging in" over the network appear as normal AP users attached to Pick ports. The ports that the network controls is configurable so that any legal port on the system can be designated as a network port. With AP/Pro, this means that you can assign any number of ports from 1 to 256 as a network port. The "default" PicLan install allocates the top 32 AP ports (225-256) as network ports. You can freely change this default to either increase or decrease the number of network ports. The only limitations to PicLan port allocations is that you should not assign a network port over top of an actual serial port that is installed in the system, and each network port that you allocate uses up some system memory. In practice, the amount of system memory that is used is generally small with about 180K in use by PicLan for a 32-user install and 750K in use when all 256 ports are assigned to the network.

Once a user has "attached" to a network port, they login to the AP system in exactly the same manner as a serial terminal user. It is at this point that AP enforces it's user license limit.

What Terminal Emulations are Available with PicLan?

The DOS component of PicLan for AP/Pro is identical to the DOS component of all other releases of PicLan currently in distribution. This means that you can freely use any of the three existing PicLan terminal emulators on DOS and DOS/Windows workstations. The three emulator programs that are included with PicLan are: The DOS terminal emulators also operate in Windows "DOS-boxes" and you can freely run multiple instances of the emulators (mixing and matching if your wish) in Windows at the same time.

Each emulator supports the following three emulations:

In practice, we expect that nearly all users will run in PC-Console mode (this is an identical emulation to the Pick port 0 console on AP/Pro).

A number of additional commercial emulators are also available with PicLan support built in including:

Each of these products are built using the same network communication layer that the PicLan supplied emulators use. If you are the developer of a DOS or Windows terminal emulator and would like to include PicLan support, you can download the PicLan DOS/Windows Software Developers Kit (SDK) which includes documentation and libraries that enable you to directly use PicLan network connections with your own programs. The SDK is available from the Modular Software web site.

How Is PicLan for AP/Pro Supported?

Pick Systems will be supplying all user and dealer technical support for PicLan with AP/Pro. If Pick Systems is unable to resolve a problem, then Modular Software will back them up. If you call Modular Software for support, you must have your Pick call tracking number ready in order for us to supply support.

The PicLan and AP/Pro software packages are maintained separately. This means that PicLan and AP/Pro version upgrades do not need to be in-sync. Modular Software expects that PicLan upgrades will occur independently of AP/Pro upgrades.

Users and Dealers can get PicLan upgrades for AP/Pro via the following means.

Download from the Modular Software BBS

With the advent of the internet and Modular Software's web site, our BBS is no longer operating.

Obtain Copies from your Dealer

PicLan upgrades can be freely copied by Pick Systems dealers for distribution to registered AP/Pro users, so check with your dealer to see if they have a later release.

From Pick Systems

Pick Systems will ship PicLan upgrades as they become available. These upgrades are expected to lag behind the Modular Software's BBS by several days or more, so the absolute latest may not be available in this manner. Pick Systems will charge for upgrades to cover media and handling.

Via the Internet

Modular Software maintains a WWW site at http://modsoft.com with links to downloadable files.