VOGONS


First post, by mpg9999

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I have a 486 running MS-DOS currently, with a 3com Etherlink III NIC. I believe I can simply hook this into my router and it should work (provided I have TCP/IP drivers? not sure about this entirely), but I am wondering if there is something I can do to make this wireless? Like, can I get a network extender/small router and plug into that, which is part of my network? I have some idea of how this could work but I am wondering if anyone else has done something like this already.

Reply 1 of 19, by majestyk

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You can make a wireless bridge with two routers and connect the NIC of your DOS-box to one of the LAN ports of the 2nd router.
It´s easy to do with routers that run open firmwares like "openwrt".
MAny routers can do "bridge mode" with stock firmware also.

Reply 2 of 19, by Pierre32

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mpg9999 wrote on 2022-06-26, 13:55:

I believe I can simply hook this into my router and it should work (provided I have TCP/IP drivers? not sure about this entirely)

Yep, with your NIC driver and mTCP installed, that should just work. http://www.brutman.com/mTCP/

mpg9999 wrote on 2022-06-26, 13:55:

can I get a network extender/small router and plug into that, which is part of my network?

Yep! I've run my 386 wireless this way. As majestyk says, if you have an old wireless router laying around it may have the capability. I didn't, so I bought a TP-Link TL-WR802N: https://www.tp-link.com/au/home-networking/wi … uter/tl-wr802n/

It has a bridge mode, so it's the same idea. As far as the retro rig is concerned, it's plugged into a wired network.

Reply 3 of 19, by Jo22

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mpg9999 wrote on 2022-06-26, 13:55:

Like, can I get a network extender/small router and plug into that, which is part of my network?

You mean a little box with integrated WiFi and some RJ45 connectors? That connects your Etherlink to your WiFi router wirelessly?
Yes, such devices do exist. I've got one here. I'll check the model number.

Edit: tp link wa890ea

Last edited by Jo22 on 2022-06-27, 13:02. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 4 of 19, by mbbrutman

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You will probably find http://www.brutman.com/Wireless_for_Classics/ … r_Classics.html helpful.

Short story: Many routers can do this, and travel size routers are particularly good because of their small size.

Reply 6 of 19, by konc

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You don't even need a router for that, unless you have decommissioned equipment sitting that can operate as a repeater/bridge and you are willing to configure it. A simple access point that accepts wired clients will do the job.

Reply 7 of 19, by kaputnik

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mbbrutman wrote on 2022-06-26, 14:51:

You will probably find http://www.brutman.com/Wireless_for_Classics/ … r_Classics.html helpful.

Short story: Many routers can do this, and travel size routers are particularly good because of their small size.

Using an old Nexx WT3020 travel size router for this.

Bought it almost ten years by now, to run a wireless web server for a very specific purpose on. Nowadays I'm using it as a wireless interface for retro stuff, and actually also as a travel router now and then 😀

What made me pick the WT3020 back then was the OpenWRT compatibility. Once you start using that, you just don't want to deal with crappy OEM firmwares anymore, and it of course gives you inifinitely better possibilities for custom configuration 😀

A really nice feature is that it's powered by USB. You can power it from an USB port, or if the computer is too old to have that, just use another 5VDC source, like a Molex connector etc. No additional power bricks needed.

Reply 8 of 19, by majestyk

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OpenWRT is also my favourite. The only weakness is they - for whatever reason - only offer ready compiled images for the US reglatory domain, so if you´re somewhere in Europe and need any of the extra channels you´re lost unless you compile everything yourself from scratch.

Since for DOS systems you don´t need the latest 802.11 acx standard you can select from a vast supply of classic b/g(a) routers that you can buy for a few $$ and run OpenWRT on them.
There are by far more routers on the market than access points and it doesn´t hurt to leave the WAN port blank so I think that´s the best choice here.

Reply 9 of 19, by dionb

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majestyk wrote on 2022-06-26, 17:29:

OpenWRT is also my favourite. The only weakness is they - for whatever reason - only offer ready compiled images for the US reglatory domain, so if you´re somewhere in Europe and need any of the extra channels you´re lost unless you compile everything yourself from scratch.

Regultory liability..

FCC in US has rules to abide by, but no further obligations. ETSI in EU requires you get DFS and TPC certification which costs about EUR 25k per device you write firmware for. Obviously OpenWRT doesn't want (and indeed can't afford) to do that.If you compile it, you're technically liable for that yourself. YMMV but in practice private individuals won't get pursued for such things, worst-case you will only get into trouble if someone actively complains and you are found to be doing something blatantly wrong. But a corporation - even a not-for-profit one like OpenWRT - needs to be more careful.

Since for DOS systems you don´t need the latest 802.11 acx standard you can select from a vast supply of classic b/g(a) routers that you can buy for a few $$ and run OpenWRT on them.
There are by far more routers on the market than access points and it doesn´t hurt to leave the WAN port blank so I think that´s the best choice here.

You don't need ax, but I'd be careful with really old stuff. At least WPA2-only security support is currently required by Apple and Google, and you will get "insecure network" warnings on modern devices if you run anything older. Tbh, WPA1 is still more of a theoretical risk than a real threat, but WEP is crackable in seconds, literally. So I'd recommend going for WiFI-n stuff (or at least late WiFi-g) that at least can do WPA2. Note that WPA2 dates back to 2004, so anything from last 18 years should be OK.

Reply 10 of 19, by majestyk

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DFS / TPC - good point, I guess that´s why AVM recently crippled all of their (quite popular) FritzBox routers, so the a-band is virtually unusable. What a pity!

Funny how all the Xiaomis are never affected. They just do what they want saying "sue us in China."

WPA2 is mandatory of course. Older routers with 8 or 16MB Flash >= 64MB RAM can run quite recent versions of OpenWRt. Typically, as you pinted out, this will mainly be abng routers.

Reply 11 of 19, by Intel486dx33

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Wireless range extender is not a bad option.
I use the ISA 3c509b etherlink III 10-base-t network cards in my old computers.
And it worked fine with the TP-link wireless extender.
I was using a wireless N version.
I needed more ports on my wireless extender so switched to a D-link wireless extender which worked fine for many years too.
A few months ago I was experiencing problems with my old internet service provider router.
Which I had for about 5 years.
It would not always work and was making allot of noise so my internet service provider replaced it with a newer version router.
Now the old D-link Wifi extender would not connect to the new router so I had to go shopping for a new wireless extender.
I choose the Linksys wireless AC extender. It was not to easy to setup but connects fine with my NEW internet router.
Its a little tricky to setup. You have to use the webpage interface to set it up and configure the ports.
So its not as easy to setup as the ONE port TP-Link extender but it has allot more customization available for a wireless extender/bridge.
With 4 ports. If you want EASY ONE Button setup get the ONE port TP-link.
The Linksys works fine with my modern computer but I have not tested it with 10-base-T network cards yet.
But works fine with 100-base-T and gigabit Ethernet cards.

I have wireless AC network cards in my modern computers with 4 antennas
And they get pretty good transmission speeds but if I use the Linksys wireless extender
It gets even better transmission speeds.
I performed the internet speed test using the webpage tool provided by my internet service provider to compare the internet download and upload speeds of my computer Wifi card verses the Linksys wireless extender.
And the Linksys WON by about 30% faster.
The Linksys wireless bridge also has more antenna.

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2022-06-27, 08:36. Edited 9 times in total.

Reply 12 of 19, by Intel486dx33

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I hooked up my old computer with 3com network card and Yes it works with the Linksys RE9000. It Works great with the 3com ( 10-base-T ) 3c509b network card.
I am pleasantly surprised. I was not sure if this Linksys would support 10-base-T networking cards but it does.
I am using a Win95 computer with 233mhz Pentium CPU.
I have Network neighborhood and internet working over the Wifi extender.
Don’t know what the download speeds are but must be the MAX supported by the 3com 3c509b.
The negotiated connection speed is 10mb per second. ( 10-base-T ).
Works great and internet is snappy and quick.
I can access my home WD MyCloud NAS just fine too.
Works Great…..

YEA !…….

I challenge you to find a FASTER Wifi Extender/Bridge that supports 10-base-T networking.
This 3com 3c509b network card is a Legend. It has Amazing compatibility and support across so many different operating systems and networking equipment.

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2022-06-27, 07:32. Edited 6 times in total.

Reply 13 of 19, by Intel486dx33

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This 3com 3c509b card is a Legend.
Best ISA Networking card for 1990’s Retro computers. Its supported in Novell too if you want to play DOOM over the network using IPX/SPX protocol. ( YES Novell compliant network card )

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2022-06-27, 07:02. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 14 of 19, by kaputnik

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majestyk wrote on 2022-06-26, 17:29:

OpenWRT is also my favourite. The only weakness is they - for whatever reason - only offer ready compiled images for the US reglatory domain, so if you´re somewhere in Europe and need any of the extra channels you´re lost unless you compile everything yourself from scratch.

Since for DOS systems you don´t need the latest 802.11 acx standard you can select from a vast supply of classic b/g(a) routers that you can buy for a few $$ and run OpenWRT on them.
There are by far more routers on the market than access points and it doesn´t hurt to leave the WAN port blank so I think that´s the best choice here.

Can't remember a single instance where I really needed those channels, and I live in a quite densely populated area. Would guess most OpenWRT users can live without them 😀

Also got a commercial airport a brisk 20 minute walk from home, would probably just end up with a lot of channel hopping here anyways 😁

Reply 15 of 19, by dormcat

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I use a TOTOLINK EX200 for all my retro computers across the room. The single LAN socket doesn't bother me as only the WinXP build requires constant Internet connection; older builds either have their on-board NIC disabled from BIOS (enabled only when needed temporarily) or no connectivity at all, as I rarely turn them on at the same time (don't have enough monitors 😅).

Reply 16 of 19, by BitWrangler

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This is the other way to get wifi on older machines... through modem emulation https://subethasoftware.com/2018/02/28/wire-u … modem-firmware/

The most plug and play way to do it through a network card is to use a WAP standing for Wireless Access Point... not Wet anything... but since those waned in popularity after b standard, old and cheap ones are likely to be b only, and ones I used back in the day seemed to be buggy, did things like lock up and overheat. More recently there were some made as wifi adapters for consoles with a RJ45 LAN port... but unless you snag one for cheap in a thrift etc, they tend to fetch some tens of dollars as the console guys still want them.

That leaves us with as noted, an abundance of discarded routers. Many you don't even need to mess with much just set them to bridge mode. I have noticed though that the built into a wallwart type wifi extenders quite often have bridge mode as it's their default operating mode, and those are kinda compact, and only have the one LAN port... so one per device or use a hub/switch and serve a retro cluster. But at that point the regular old 4 or 8 port dealies are looking better.

Personally, I have been finding that powerline internet adapters picked up cheap are serving me well for retro boxes, some of the ease of wifi, no running cables apart from adapter to NIC, and router to adapter at the other end, and cross house connections doable. They need setting up with a newer machine initially, but then will work after power outs fine, guess they have flash memory for settings.

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Reply 17 of 19, by Intel486dx33

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Okay, After further testing I can’t say this Linksys RE9000 will work well with every computer or network card.
I tested in a Intel 486 computer with 3c509 and it worked fine.
But I tested this Linksys with an AMD 5x86-133 computer with a Netgear 310tx network card and it did not do well.
This computer worked fine with Wifi N extender so it must be the RE9000 gigabit port that is causing the problem.
Maybe the Netgear 310tx card requires a Pentium class CPU or better to work well with the RE9000 ?
Some network cards require a faster CPU.
The Netgear 310tx was also a popular network card for home computers back in Win95 era thats why I choose it.
But I do remember it being unstable in certain computers back then so it may just be a driver issue.

In any case this post was about WIfi for a computer with a 3com 3c509 card.
I would recommend the TP-Link Wireless N extender for a computer slower than a Pentium.
I think a gigabit port connection requires a Pentium or faster CPU. Even if its running a 10-base-T.
Some switches and Wifi extender port connections are not very good at being backward compatible with slower 10-base-T speeds.
I would only use this Linksys RE9000 with a Pentium computer for faster.
Even though it works fine with a 3com 3c509 and 486 CPU I can’t recommend it for reliability.
I have used the TP-link Wireless N Extender in the past and it was very stable and reliable.
Also very easy to setup.

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2022-06-27, 17:32. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 19 of 19, by dormcat

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2022-06-27, 11:52:

I would recommend the TP-Link Wireless N extender for a computer slower than a Pentium.

US$34 for just an 802.11N extender? That's awfully expensive. TOTOLINK EX200 cost me less than US$10.

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Equivalent to US$9.39 today.