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Internet with an 8088 and a cable modem!

the xt guy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
112
Location
Colorado
In the past, I've mentioned that I have "surfed" (dog paddled actually) the Internet a bit with an 8088/V20 computer on a modem and Bobcat browser.

I've had cable Internet for a while now, and wondered what it would be like to have an 8088/V20 computer on the 'net connected through the cable modem!

Recently, I purchased a router/hardware firewall to use with the cable modem. It has four RJ-45 Ethernet ports on the back which were just begging to be connected to more than one computer.

So this weekend I dug out an old Intel 8/16 Ethernet LAN card, installed it in an 8-bit slot of my 12mhz. V20 computer, downloaded the software from Intel's site (yes, they still have the software for this 8-bit compatible card) and learned how to install a packet driver. I then installed Arachne and after some configuring and a bit of luck, soon had a cable Internet connection running on this ultra turbo ;) XT clone.

640K won't go very far when you're on the Internet, so Arachne needs either some extended or expanded memory. If your 8088 lacks expanded memory the only other option is to use the hard disk, which is by far the slowest.

After trying this option, I installed an expanded memory board (with 26 megs. of expanded memory!) and reinstalled Arachne, choosing the "EMS" option on install. Yes, it helps and it is noticeably faster, especially when you scroll down on a page and Arachne has to redraw the screen.

Arachne is WAY better than the Bobcat browser. Bobcat doesn't use the hard drive or EMS memory, so when it runs out of conventional RAM, it simply stops the data transfer and gives you the option to flush the memory and reload the page again. Arachne may be extremely slow on an 8088 with no EMS but at least it eventually finishes parsing the data.

Obviously with no Java, Active-X or SSL there are quite a few websites that won't work. The surprise is that it works as well as it does.
 
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JoJo_ReloadeD

Experienced Member
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
120
In the past, I've mentioned that I have "surfed" (dog paddled actually) the Internet a bit with an 8088/V20 computer on a modem and Bobcat browser.

I've had cable Internet for a while now, and wondered what it would be like to have an 8088/V20 computer on the 'net connected through the cable modem!

Recently, I purchased a router/hardware firewall to use with the cable modem. It has four RJ-45 Ethernet ports on the back which were just begging to be connected to more than one computer.

So this weekend I dug out an old Intel 8/16 Ethernet LAN card, installed it in an 8-bit slot of my 12mhz. V20 computer, downloaded the software from Intel's site (yes, they still have the software for this 8-bit compatible card) and learned how to install a packet driver. I then installed Arachne and after some configuring and a bit of luck, soon had a cable Internet connection running on this ultra turbo ;) XT clone.

640K won't go very far when you're on the Internet, so Arachne needs either some extended or expanded memory. If your 8088 lacks expanded memory the only other option is to use the hard disk, which is by far the slowest.

After trying this option, I installed an expanded memory board (with 26 megs. of expanded memory!) and reinstalled Arachne, choosing the "EMS" option on install. Yes, it helps and it is noticeably faster, especially when you scroll down on a page and Arachne has to redraw the screen.

Arachne is WAY better than the Bobcat browser. Bobcat doesn't use the hard drive or EMS memory, so when it runs out of conventional RAM, it simply stops the data transfer and gives you the option to flush the memory and reload the page again. Arachne may be extremely slow on an 8088 with no EMS but at least it eventually finishes parsing the data.

Obviously with no Java, Active-X or SSL there are quite a few websites that won't work. The surprise is that it works as well as it does.

Amazing! Where did you get that 26meg EMS card ? I want one too ^^
 

the xt guy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
112
Location
Colorado
Off of Ebay, I believe (it's been a few years). It is an Orchid Ramquest 8/16 and takes eight 30 pin SIMMs (4 banks with 2 SIMMs in each bank). I have six 4 meg. SIMMs and two 1 meg. SIMMs in it, which accounts for the odd 26 megs (somewhere I have more 4meg. SIMMs and will one day up the RAM to 32 megs.)
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,058
Location
Sparks, NV
Let me get this straight.....you put 26 MB of RAM in an XT? How is that even possible, I thought the 8088 topped out at 1 MB and could'nt address anymore...

I run Arachne on my DSL using an 80286 with an intel card like yours, the 286 is not the fastest beast on-line, but it does pretty well, especially considering I have just about everything enabled including Oak Technology SVGA graphics (800X600 @16 bit color).
 

the xt guy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
112
Location
Colorado
That's exactly what it is, 26 meg. of expanded memory.

EMS 4.0 can access up to 32mb. of memory and can do lots more than the old 3.2 spec, which was limited to 8 mb. of RAM.

I have a very interesting book; "DOS beyond 640K" by James S, Forney. In this book which dates from 1992, he goes into detailed discussion about DOS and memory: the 8088/286/386 chips, expanded memory, extended memory, EMS memory in both 3.2 and 4.0 specs, DPMI and VCPI, DOS HMA, Desqview, Dr. DOS 5.0 vs. MS-DOS 5.0, Windows 3.0, memory managers such as QEMM, etc.

The author says that "most users probably know more about the surface of Mars than about what goes on above 640K."

Arachne in the V20 is definitely using the expanded memory. When I had Arachne setup previously using the hard drive, the hard drive was running constantly all the time it was downloading pages and parsing the data. Now with the expanded memory, the hard drive is silent.

It's not as fast as a 286 (Which BTW is my next project to get on the 'net) but it definitely helps.
 
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Mike Chambers

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
2,621
awesome

awesome

glad to hear you got the old thing online! :D

i've ran arachne on my 8088's before, just to see how slow it really is. well, it's pretty slow! lol. unfortunately i don't have any expanded memory cards in either of them, so of course i had to use the hard disk method. ouch.

just the simple google.com home page takes damn near 5 minutes to load up. maybe i'll get it on this site tonight, if i have the patience, and make a post with it.:yell:

also, i don't have a blazing fast 12 Mhz XT clone like you do. one of my boxes is 4.77 Mhz only, and the other can switch between that and 8 Mhz. (the turbo one, incidentally, turns out to be the very first "Dell" motherboard ever made. before they were called Dell! it's manufactured by "PC's Unlimited" which i hear became Dell about a year later, which would be around 1987)
 

the xt guy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
112
Location
Colorado
wow, 5 minutes. I think mine only takes about 30 seconds to load google. Yes the expanded memory makes a difference.

The CPU tests at 3.06x the speed of an IBM PC. The hard drive tests even faster. Every little bit helps!

It also helps that I have a SCSI hard drive in it. Hardly necessary for me to say that the cable modem connection is much faster than dialup, even on a V20. (It still takes quite a few seconds to show the page, but the download is much faster than the modem.)

I tried to come here and post with the XT but no luck. It was the needing to log in first that seemed to trip up the browser. I would have tried posting over on the Obsolete Computer Helpline but it is 'read only' for the time being.

Aarchne seems to accept cookies, which I hoped would do the trick and allow me to post here.

When the Uncreative Labs forum was on Bravenet a few years ago (and needed no log in) I could post there on an 8088 (and did). Their current forum is similar to this one, needing a log in.

I have one of the PC's Limited PC's too! (but no original keyboard or monitor). I got it from Ebay, $5 I think.

The seller did not know this was the first DELL PC. There were no other bidders for it either.
 
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Fred Macall

New Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
4
You Guys Ought to Give DosLynx a Try

You Guys Ought to Give DosLynx a Try

I tried Arachne about six years ago using a 16 Bogo MIPS
'486 DX-33 based PC I called Sailboard. It was soooo slow,
I couldn't imagine having the patience to run Arachne on an
old 8088 based PC!

Tonight, I am cruising through here on an '88 vintage Zenith
PC XT clone I call Zeke. It has an 8088, 640 KB of DOS RAM,
256 KB of EMS, a big SCSI disk, Hercules video, and a
parallel (printer) port connection to a PC I call Digerydo.
Digerydo is acting as a router for Zeke. It connects Zeke
to the Internet via my home LAN's Internet gateway, Bashful,
and its 56 Kbits/sec. dial-up connection to my ISP's
Remote Access Service. I am running my updated PLIP
Packet Driver on Zeke's and Digerydo's parallel ports.
And, a DosLynx v0.34b Work In Progress (or WIP) version,
for a browser, on Zeke.

I just checked: With DosLynx all warmed-up on Zeke, it was
able to display www.google.com in under 40 seconds.
Though its SCSI disk doesn't hurt, Zeke's main "performance"
feature is that 256 KB of EMS. I estimate that Sailboard
was about twenty times the speed of Zeke.

Why don't you check out my Web site at:
users.ohiohills.com/fmacall/ and give DosLynx v0.33b a try?
It will use the same kinds of Packet Drivers that Arachne
uses. So, it ought to be easy for you to try, if you are
already using Arachne.

Fred Macall K8GIV
 

evildragon

Veteran Member
Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
1,645
Location
Tampa Florida
i shall not dare tell people how my IBM PS/2 Model 25 gets to google in less than 3 seconds :p people would kill for that!

(but if you all shall, i'll tell, and post a video of it's surfing quality)

EDIT: Ok ok, not 3 seconds, but more 5 seconds, due to it "waiting for a reply"..

http://blackevilweredragon.spymac.com/ibmnet.mov

it's encoded as H.264.. You either need QuickTime 7, or VLC to play it.

http://blackevilweredragon.spymac.com/ibmnet.avi

This one is MotionJPEG, it's directly from the camera itself. It's very large, but doesn't require a special player...
 
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JDT

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
564
Location
Cicero, NY
OK i could use some help...

I have IBM 5150 I am trying to get to dog paddle the internet as well. After trying to aqcuire a 8-bit nic unsuccesfully, I decided to try and use my Xircom Pocket Ethernet III, I'm trying to use the MS-DOS TCP/IP stack thats included on the NT Server 4.0 CD. However after finagling the adapter to work with the install from the CD, whenit comes time to load the TCP portion of the stack I get the error "Trying to load 80286 code on a 8088 or 80186" and then the remaining executables fail to load as a result. So I guess I could use this stack once I get my IBM 5170... but what do i do about my 5150? Could anyone point me to (or send me ;) a DOS TCP stack that will run on an 8088 CPU? Would be muchly appreciated!
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,276
Look for Trumpet for DOS. It used to be here, but it looks like the site has been changed:

http://www.trumpet.com.au/dosapps/

I can email you a copy of the code later ... It will work on 8088 class machines, and I've used it with the Xircom PE3 that you are using.
 

evildragon

Veteran Member
Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
1,645
Location
Tampa Florida
my route for fast internet access may be more practical, but it's a bitch to setup. It involves a termina/mainframe type of setup.. You need a "mainframe" to do the parsing, and run DosBox.. and you need your XT being the terminal..

I guess you can't really call it being on the internet, but technically the "terminal" is the "window" to one..

my route is achieved by connecting my XT to my Cisco Catalyst's console port (a 12 port switch), and then telnetting into a dedicated computer (in my case, it's my domain controller)..

only thing is, screen drawing is a tad slow, limited by the speed of the serial port (you can see it in my video, it draws up, to down rather slowly, but the pages do load nearly instantly, as another computer is the one rendering it)
 

Fred Macall

New Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
4
TCP/IP Stack for DosLynx

TCP/IP Stack for DosLynx

Hello, Jason:

As explained at the top of the first page of my Web site at:
http://users.ohiohills.com/fmacall/ , DosLynx includes its
own built-in TCP/IP stack. (And, this goes for a lot of
other DOS Internet software, including arachne.) So, when
you download the DosLynx package, you'll get the TCP/IP
stack it needs included.

What you will still need will be a DOS Packet Driver, for
your Xircom Pocket Ethernet III. I don't know if that
software will require a '286 or not. If it does, you'll
need to look for another Ethernet card like the one(s)
mentioned earlier in this thread. I know that may not be
easy.

If you want to get a taste of contacting the Internet from
your IBM 5150, you might want to consider the PLIP packet
driver for its parallel (printer) port. That approach will
require another DOS, Windows 9x, or Linux PC that can act
as a bridge or router. See the PLIP section of my Web site
for more on that.

Fred Macall K8GIV
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,276
The Xircom PE3 definitely has packet drivers that work on the 8088. I run it on a PCjr, and have written software to talk to the packet driver directly. (ie: my own TCP/IP)
 
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