myatari.net
Homepage
 
  

Broadband ST

One by one, Edward Baiz adds his Ataris to his home Ethernet LAN

 

Hello again everyone, Gamer here to bring up another article I hope you all will enjoy. If you read my article concerning MagiCNet and MintNet, you know that I have a LAN set up in my computer room in which I have my Hades060 and my wife's PC hooked up to the internet using an Ethernet set-up (cable modem and router).

Well, I also have a 4 MB STE system that sits next to my Hades. After my LAN was successfully running, I often thought how great it would be to also have the STE hooked up to it. Why? Well, for one reason, I wanted a backup system, for e-mail,  just in case anything happened to my Hades. And if I wanted to back up my STE hard drive, it would be easy to transfer the files on to my Hades and then put them on a CD. Here are some pictures of my STE system:

[Photo: STE on desk]

[Photo: Box of tricks under desk]

It has 4 MB of RAM installed and included one of the newer color Atari monitors which I like very much. As you can see, the STE does not have an Atari mouse. Another Atarian rigged a PC mouse to work with Atari computers. I love it because of its nice feel and smooth action. The piece of hardware that looks like a small tower, is actually a PC monitor stand that contains a hard drive, CD-ROM drive, two 3.5" floppy drives and a 520ST power supply. I have not seen anything like it since it was made back in 1988, but I am sure some other Atarian has built something like this. Originally, it was built with the two 3.5" floppy drives and a 5.25" drive. The 5.25" drive was installed since at the time, the 5.25" floppies were still in use. Ten years later, I took out the 5.25" drive, installed a SCSI hard drive and then put in a CD writer drive. Of course I first bought a Link II host adapter from ICD and had a friend build me the correct cable. The whole system works fine with the exception that I cannot use one of the floppy drives. My floppy drive A is the internal one in the STE and drive B is the top drive in the monitor stand. I have heard there is a program that exists for the ST that allows the use of three floppy drives. Still looking for that one. Oh, one last thing about my system, I have the monitor stand on the floor because the desk that the STE sits on is not deep enough to have both the STE and the stand on the desktop.

OK, now you have an idea what my STE is like, it is time to get started. When I was setting up my Hades system I read a lot of articles on the internet about using an Atari computer on an Ethernet system. The piece of hardware I liked was the EtherNEC sold by Lyndon Amsdon. His product contains an NE2000 card that is compatible with the ISA bus interface, the EtherNEC adapter (allows connection of the ISA bus to the STE through the cartridge port) and appropriate drivers for MagiCNet, MintNet and STinG. You can also order an enclosure that covers everything. I went ahead and ordered everything including the cover. The cost was $70 - $80 and was well worth it. It is a real nice piece of hardware, looks great and easily connects to my STE as you can see.

[Photo: EtherNEC interface connected to STE]

Normally I have the EtherNEC resting on its side on the desk when I use it.

[Photo: EtherNEC standing upright]

As I said before, the EtherNEC comes with drivers for MagiCNet, MintNet and STinG. I will be discussing the installation of the cartridge port STinG driver.

My STE does not have MagiC, MiNT or Geneva. I have not felt the need as yet. Besides, the STinG installation is the easiest in my opinon. Of course the first thing to do is to install STinG. I had a copy of version 1.26 on the Hades that I copied to the STE. I started out by first putting the files, STING.PRG and STING.INF, into my AUTO folder. The STinG package comes with three CPX files. When using the EtherNEC, you only need one of them and that is the STNGPORT.CPX file.

I put that file into my CPX folder. Next I created the necessary folder "STING" on drive C. I copied the STinG drivers into it which were:

  • RESOLVE.STX
  • SERIAL.STX
  • TCP.STX
  • UDP.STX

I also copied the EtherNEC driver, ENEC.STX, into the STING folder. This driver is for STinG that uses the cartridge port interface. The last two files I copied into the STING folder were DEFAULT.CFG and ROUTE.TAB. That is it for installing files. The next thing that needs to be done is an adjustment of the DEFAULT.CFG and ROUTE.TAB files.

First the .CFG file. When reading about this file and the EtherNEC, I found it is best to leave most of it alone and make only the necessary adjusments. In other words, you do not need to change the values for the MSS, RCV_WND, ICMP_AD... I think the only thing I adjusted was the ALLOCHEM value. I only did this since I do have the full 4 MB of RAM in the STE. Other than that, I left everything else the same except for the things I will mention next. I have Comcast as my cable broadband provider, so the value for DOMAIN is "comcast".

The USERNAME value needs to be entered. My e-mail address is edbaizjr@comcast.net, so the USERNAME value is "edbaizjr". So, then, the HOSTNAME is "comcast.net". I filled in the FULLNAME as "Edward S. Baiz Jr.". Next is the NAMESERVER value. This must be the IP address of your router. Then I finished up by filling in the values for EMAIL, SMTP_HOST, POP_HOST, POP_USERNAME and POP_PASSWORD. These you should have and are self-explanatory. Once you have all this entered, save it.

Next comes the ROUTE.TAB file adjustment and that is a little tricky. When you open this file, at the bottom, you will see groups of numbers with the word "Modem 1" in a line. At the beginning, you can read an explanation of the entries in the line. You need to enter in your gateway IP address, the subnet mask and the port being used. In my case, the gateway IP address is 192.168.1.1, the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0 and the port is Ethernet. These numbers must be entered, but the point I must stress is that you cannot change the number of spaces between each group in the line. If you do, the system will not work. You can test to see if you entered the values correctly by loading in the STinG dialler program. Click on the action "Tools" and then "Routing Table". If nothing appears on the screen after you do this, then you entered the numbers in wrong and/or the spaces between the groups were changed. From reading and from the advice of others, there needs to be two lines in the ROUTE.TAB file. Below is what I found to work just fine:

#0.0.0.0         0.0.0.0         EtherNet                192.168.1.1
#192.168.1.1     255.255.255.0           EtherNet                0.0.0.0

When I checked the above with the STinG dialler Tools, this is what it looked like:

[Photo: Routing table]

Notice that in the second line, even though my ROUTE.TAB file has 192.168.1.1 typed in, the result that comes up is 192.168.1.0 comes up. I do not know why this happens and I do not care. I only care that the system works (An address ending with 0 is a network address, it identifies the network itself rather than an individual host - Ed).

The last thing that needs adjusting is the STNGPORT.CPX file. This part is really simple. Bring up the CPX file. Click on "Addressing" and then "EtherNet". You will get something that looks like this:

[Screen-shot: STinG IP address configuration]

As you can see, you need to fill in your IP address of the Atari computer you are working with. I first had to configure my router to add in my STE. Next, type in the subnet mask which for most will be "255.255.255.0". Finally, make sure the little box to the left of the word "Active" is checked. Save it here and then you are done.

Now, the next obvious step is to connect the EtherNEC to the cartridge port of the computer. Of course when you do this, Lyndon recommends that the computer be off. When you turn on the computer, look at the back of the EtherNEC. The yellow light (top light) should be on which shows the card is getting power.

[Photo: Back of EtherNEC]

As a final check to make sure the NE2000 card is being recognized correctly, go back into the STNGPORT.CPX file. Click on "General", then "EtherNet". If the card is installed correctly, you will see something like this:

[Screen-shot: MAC address configuration]

Now connect a Cat-5 cable as shown in the picture above. If you have an Ethernet connection, the green light (below the yellow light) should be come on as in this picture:

[Photo: Green link status light]

If you have other computers in your LAN, the quickest way to test the STE Ethernet connection, is to again use the STinG dialler. Go in under "Tools" and then to the ping utility. Just type in the IP address of one of the computers in the LAN and hopefully you will see data flowing. Another way would be to run programs like CAB.

Well I hope this article gives you some insight as to how the EtherNEC works. Installation was simple for me (about 30 minutes) and I hope it will be simple for you. Remember that this wonderful piece of hardware will work on any Atari computer that has a cartridge port. I have talked with Carey Christenson who successfully got this to work on his Falcon under STinG. Let me say that if you have any questions, please e-mail me at MyAtari or Lyndon.

edward@myatari.net

Useful links

 

[
Top of page ]

MyAtari magazine - Feature #6, October 2003

 
Copyright 2003 MyAtari magazine