Seeking basic networking advice 
Author Message
 Seeking basic networking advice

Way back in the dark ages when I was in school, I sometimes didn't raise my
hand when I had a question because I didn't want to look dumb.  It always
cost me to fall behind.  And so it is, that even in mid-1999 as all the rest
of the computing world has already become expert at networking, I'm still
struggling to catch up.  I know I probably need to plunk down three or four
thousand bucks for one of those fancy MSCE courses, but I thought since
really smart folks seem to congregate here, I'd try "raising my hand" here
first--as I have gotten older I've finally learned not to care about looking
dumb.  I have a client who is using a Clipper program I wrote for them ten
years ago which we've modified frequently and which is currently compiled
with 5.3 and linked with Exospace  (I know, I know . . . just never spent
the money for Blinker anticipating being able to abandon Clipper for the
thick, green, wonderful pastures of the Windows Promised Land most any day .
. . but for some reason . . .)  My client has three machines:  a 386 4Mb, a
486 8Mb, and a Pentium 16 Mb all connected with Ethernet cards and coax.
(Is that the same as "10Base-T?"  Nobody ever explains this stuff.)  The
Pentium runs Win95 with Lantastic 7, the others DOS with the DOS version of
Lantastic.  We have one serial and three parallel printers all connected to
the 486.  Everything works great, although a bit slow of course.  The system
is obviously showing its age, and I've been asked to recommend
hardware/software from the ground up to allow for five workstations and
increased performance.  I'm still hoping Alaska's Xbase++ product will
eventually provide my pathway to get the software updated eventually.  But
what hardware / os / network is the best investment for the situation now
(Clipper) and into the future?  I read about routers, hubs, switches, 10Mb,
100Mb, Windows NT, Novell, . . . Would someone mind giving me a little
advice on the path of "least regrets later?"  Thanks for your time.
--Grady Stone



Mon, 12 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice
Coax wire is not 10BaseT.  10BaseT looks like a thick phone cord with a
phone jack.

Now for generalities:

If you use coax and have a problem anywhere on the wire, the net  goes down.
10BaseT only loses the one connection if a wire is defective or not plugged
in.
10BaseT requires a hub. Hubs cost $100 to $200 the size you will need.
Get the best wires you can buy.
I don't personally support networks without a dedicated server.
NT seems to be gaining market share though I don't understand why.
Novell 4 and 5 are modern NOS but are probably too complicated for a small
net.
I still prefer Netware 3.2, but some think it is out of date.
If you ENJOY your work, consider Linux.

(Hey guys, take it easy on me. These are thoughts, not rules.)

Mike



Mon, 12 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice

My experience is a little different than the other answer you have gotten.

There is nothing wrong with using coax cable if there is a straight,
point-to-point line down all the computers.  Yes, the middle computers all have
a cable coming in and a cable going out.  Not really pretty, but less expensive
(the combo network cards come with the connector that is needed for this type of
connection).  You can buy twist-on BNC connectors (cut the insulation to specs
and twist-on the connector - done) and you must buy 2 terminators (for the end
computers).  Cable is $0.50/foot; connectors are about $2 each, and terminators
are about $2.50 each.

10BaseT (10M Hz) networks can get by without a hub (a network switch is for
100BaseT) if there are only 2 computers involved.  More than 2 computers in the
network require a 10BaseT hub.  Hubs cost about $25-60 depending on the number
of connections (ports).  Some 10BaseT hubs are combo-type (have RJ-45 connectors
and a BNC connector).  Wire for 10BaseT must be Cat 5 rated and DOES have to be
wired in a special color-ordered sequence (not everyone will agree with that
statement).  The cable costs about $0.25/foot and RJ-45 connectors are about
$0.50/each.  In addition, you must buy a installation tool for crimping the
RJ-45 connectors onto the cable.  The connector is just a big brother to a
regular telephone jack and has the same problems (once the connector is
'broken', it has to be cut off and a new one installed).  Remember that cable
has to be run from a central spot out to each of the computers which could
result in using a lot more cable for some situations (vers. a single
point-to-point coax cable).

There is also 100BaseT (100M Hz), but that gets a little more expensive, but
look at your final costs.  Now you could look at a 100BaseT switch starting at a
cost of $250.00 for a 5 port switch (vers $100.00 for a 100BaseT hub).  Hubs use
half-duplex communication and transmit 'connection requests' to ALL computers on
the network hoping that A computer will answer the request.  Switches use
full-duplex communication and transmit info only to the intended computers (the
switch 'memorizes' where everybody is located).

Keith

Quote:

> Way back in the dark ages when I was in school, I sometimes didn't raise my
> hand when I had a question because I didn't want to look dumb.  It always
> cost me to fall behind.  And so it is, that even in mid-1999 as all the rest
> of the computing world has already become expert at networking, I'm still
> struggling to catch up.  I know I probably need to plunk down three or four
> thousand bucks for one of those fancy MSCE courses, but I thought since
> really smart folks seem to congregate here, I'd try "raising my hand" here
> first--as I have gotten older I've finally learned not to care about looking
> dumb.  I have a client who is using a Clipper program I wrote for them ten
> years ago which we've modified frequently and which is currently compiled
> with 5.3 and linked with Exospace  (I know, I know . . . just never spent
> the money for Blinker anticipating being able to abandon Clipper for the
> thick, green, wonderful pastures of the Windows Promised Land most any day .
> . . but for some reason . . .)  My client has three machines:  a 386 4Mb, a
> 486 8Mb, and a Pentium 16 Mb all connected with Ethernet cards and coax.
> (Is that the same as "10Base-T?"  Nobody ever explains this stuff.)  The
> Pentium runs Win95 with Lantastic 7, the others DOS with the DOS version of
> Lantastic.  We have one serial and three parallel printers all connected to
> the 486.  Everything works great, although a bit slow of course.  The system
> is obviously showing its age, and I've been asked to recommend
> hardware/software from the ground up to allow for five workstations and
> increased performance.  I'm still hoping Alaska's Xbase++ product will
> eventually provide my pathway to get the software updated eventually.  But
> what hardware / os / network is the best investment for the situation now
> (Clipper) and into the future?  I read about routers, hubs, switches, 10Mb,
> 100Mb, Windows NT, Novell, . . . Would someone mind giving me a little
> advice on the path of "least regrets later?"  Thanks for your time.
> --Grady Stone




Mon, 12 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice
On Thu, 27 May 1999 13:26:56 -0400, "Grady Stone"

Quote:

>My client has three machines:  a 386 4Mb, a
>486 8Mb, and a Pentium 16 Mb all connected with Ethernet cards and coax.
>(Is that the same as "10Base-T?"  Nobody ever explains this stuff.)  The
>Pentium runs Win95 with Lantastic 7, the others DOS with the DOS version of
>Lantastic.  We have one serial and three parallel printers all connected to
>the 486.  Everything works great, although a bit slow of course.  The system
>is obviously showing its age, and I've been asked to recommend
>hardware/software from the ground up to allow for five workstations and
>increased performance.  I'm still hoping Alaska's Xbase++ product will
>eventually provide my pathway to get the software updated eventually.  But
>what hardware / os / network is the best investment for the situation now
>(Clipper) and into the future?  I read about routers, hubs, switches, 10Mb,
>100Mb, Windows NT, Novell, . . . Would someone mind giving me a little
>advice on the path of "least regrets later?"

It's assumption time!

You want a network for the future, right?

100 Base T. Network cards are available for under $30 from many
sources.

100-base-t 8 port hubs are available for under $100 many sources.

Prewired cables are cheap, like $10 for 25 feet.

Dedicated Server. Build a Linux box. You'll need a 486 with some ram
(min 16) and a $2 disk from cheapbytes. The REDHAT install gives you a
choice of creating a server, and will automate the entire process.
Once set up, the Linux box will appear to the rest of the network as
being an NT server, thanks to SAMBA, which is installed by default
with the server setup.

3. Ditch the 386. Use the 486 as the server, and get two new
workstations for the users.

Linux on a 486 is better than NT on a midrange pentium most of the
time.

--

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  Harbour Project  http://www.Harbour-Project.org

      The game will never end. For the game is
        life itself, and life is Who We Are.



Tue, 13 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice

Quote:

>Way back in the dark ages when I was in school, I sometimes didn't raise my
>hand when I had a question because I didn't want to look dumb.  It always
>cost me to fall behind...

Thanks for your brave statements, Grady Stone.

I am in a similar situation to you. I slipped into programming at a late age
by the back door by writing a POS application for a shop I managed and then
finding it was marketable. But my education is full of holes in areas I
haven't had to deal with before.

Once I started hawking this application around, people started asking for my
Email address. You could see the cogs turning in their brains when I had to
say "I don't have one - I've never needed one before." What sort of a
programmer is this? What sort of a program could it be?

Well, now I'm on line and life has never been more fun. I've discovered
Newsgroups, for one thing.

I will be watching the replies to your query with interest, as a couple of
clients are asking me what are the prospects of networking the (currently)
stand-alone POS application and I know nothing about this.

Peter Lawrance
POSability Software

PO Box 3353 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Australia



Tue, 13 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice

|I will be watching the replies to your query with interest, as a couple of
|clients are asking me what are the prospects of networking the (currently)
|stand-alone POS application and I know nothing about this.
|

Peter

It depends a lot on the way you have written your app however it is likely
to be a fairly trivial (though perhaps tedious) task to make it work across
a network. If you simply open your databases in shared mode it will probably
work in its present form now as long as two people don't try to make a
change to the same record at precisley the same time. To ensure that sort of
clash doesn't happen you need to go through your code and make sure that
you:

if flock()                            // Did we get the file locked?
   do something to the current DBF as a whole (i.e. pack)
endif

or

 if rlock()
    do something to the current record
 endif

then mydbf->(dbcommit())
and mydbf->(dbunlock())

However, it is better to buy a good Clipper book (Network Programming in
Clipper 5 by Booth & Lief publised by ZD PRess to learn how to improve on
these basic networking  functions and how best to use them.

HTH

Will CHapman



Wed, 14 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice
On Sat, 29 May 1999 12:47:07 +0100, "Will Chapman"

Quote:

>if flock()                            // Did we get the file locked?
>   do something to the current DBF as a whole (i.e. pack)
>endif

You can't pack a share opened DBF file.

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Central Java
Indonesia.
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Wed, 14 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Seeking basic networking advice


|On Sat, 29 May 1999 12:47:07 +0100, "Will Chapman"
|
|>
|>if flock()                            // Did we get the file locked?
|>   do something to the current DBF as a whole (i.e. pack)
|>endif
|>
|You can't pack a share opened DBF file.
|

whoops - blush, blush....hope he takes my other 'advice' and reads a good
book...<g>

Will



Thu, 15 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 8 post ] 

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