46 votes
Accepted

Which computer system defined the IPv4 576 byte datagram limit?

576 bytes was the standard buffer size in DECnet Phase IV use inside DEC. Why 576? Because a FILES-11 disk block was 512 bytes, you needed a few more bytes for protocol overhead, and the allocation ...
dave's user avatar
  • 35.6k
43 votes
Accepted

Was 10BASE5 a mistake?

The performance (except for allowable cable length, see below) was the same between 10BASE5, 10BASE2 and 10BASE-T, and you have the complexity backwards: the coax is simpler than the twisted pair. The ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.1k
39 votes
Accepted

What did corporations use for long-distance networks in the 1980s?

Corporations needing such connectivity (which was still unusual in the 80s, outside the realm of large corporations) typically used leased lines, i.e. private point-to-point connections leased from a ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
37 votes

How did the AOL software provide internet access to other applications running on Windows 95/98?

In the Windows 2 and Windows 3 days, Windows didn't ship with a means of connecting to the internet. Instead, Microsoft defined the Windows Sockets API for apps to use, and they allowed third-party ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 5,093
33 votes
Accepted

What was the technical reason behind the octal digits used for CompuServe User IDs?

It appears to be a legacy from TOPS-10. The easy part: octal was more popular in the 60s and 70s in general, but especially at DEC, which produced a number of 18-bit machines; the 3 bits per symbol ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 5,093
33 votes
Accepted

Did Xerox really develop the first LAN?

Xerox developed ethernet. Was there a local area network preceding ethernet? There was certainly wide area networking before ethernet, e.g. ARPANET dating from 1969. There was also local networking ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.1k
32 votes

When TCP was first invented, was the initial sequence number required to be random?

The first standard specifying modern TCP is RFC793 from 1981 (with predecessors dating back to 1974), which says about initial sequence number selection: To avoid confusion we must prevent segments ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 1,695
32 votes
Accepted

Does the "Amiga Client for Novell NetWare" exist?

The "Amiga Client Software for Novell Netware v1.4" (official name) was created in 1992 by Oxxi. It is available as a set of six(6) floppy disk images most places where Amiga abandon-ware is found. ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
32 votes
Accepted

How and what did it mean to connect to ARPANET from home?

You dial in with a terminal to a TIP (Terminal Interface Processor), which then offers a simple command interface to connect you to some host machine. Living Internet web site Wikipedia Functionally, ...
dave's user avatar
  • 35.6k
27 votes

Why was Wireplay "faster and more reliable" than dial-up Internet, since they both used the same hardware?

This article from British Telecom says Wireplay launched in June 1996 as a way to host multiplayer games over a closed dial-up network. This is why it was "non-Internet": All players were ...
Jim Nelson's user avatar
  • 3,783
27 votes

What did corporations use for long-distance networks in the 1980s?

If you had the need for WAN in the 1980s (not many, even large corporations did, IT was still often built as islands, maybe with the exception of banking, finance and accounting), you had the ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 35k
25 votes

Which microcomputer manufacturers developed their own Local Area Network systems?

One prime example is the Econet networking system designed by Acorn Computers. Best known for their BBC Microcomputer and Archimedes systems, Acorn started with a range of modular rack-based ...
Kaz's user avatar
  • 8,096
25 votes
Accepted

Does 10BASE-T need more sophisticated electronics than 10BASE5/10BASE2?

I designed a 10BASET ethernet chip (codename ENZO used in Sage MainLAN https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine-1991-01-rescan/page/n67/mode/2up?q=sage+mainlan) and produced a proposed design for a ...
PeterI's user avatar
  • 5,307
24 votes
Accepted

Why has Novell never written its own boot loader?

In order to load files from the SYS volume NetWare needs to have a device driver for the kind of disk your SYS volume lives on. Considering that you might put your SYS volume on an MFM drive, or RLL, ...
Ken Gober's user avatar
  • 11.4k
21 votes

Why was Wireplay "faster and more reliable" than dial-up Internet, since they both used the same hardware?

I was the architect for BT Wireplay from 1995-2000 and am one of the co-authors of the patented network protocol. Essentially @hobbs answer is correct, in that 90s Internet links were often highly ...
Phil Ashby's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Atari SIO vs IEEE 488

IEEE 488 may look simple enough for a home computer ("It's just an 8-bit bus"), but is way more complicated than you might think: Lots of wires - A proper HPIB cable needs 24 wires and ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 35k
20 votes

Connect Ethernet via Parallel or Serial in old laptop

Yes. For example, the Xircom PE3-10BT is a parallel port adapter that allows an RJ45 connector be plugged into it. You don't get full 10 Mbps with it, but it works. Mine is powered via a PS/2 port ...
Tim Locke's user avatar
  • 4,811
20 votes

Does 10BASE-T need more sophisticated electronics than 10BASE5/10BASE2?

Your question seems to ignore the topology of a network completely: If you want to connect, say 20 computers via Thickwire or BNC, you need: A length of the chosen cabling 20 MAUs if you want ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 35k
19 votes

Was 10BASE5 a mistake?

Something that enabled functional multiaccess local area networks hardly seems like a mistake. At the time, or at least in my experience, your networked computers were in a dedicated room. The cables ...
dave's user avatar
  • 35.6k
19 votes

Why was Wireplay "faster and more reliable" than dial-up Internet, since they both used the same hardware?

If they still use the same modem, and the same telephone wires, why is "not using the Internet" faster and more reliable for playing (supported) games "online"? The internet is a ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 5,093
18 votes

Did this analogue computer from 1960 really have Internet?

No, this has nothing to do with any networks; the "INT" stands for "integrator." That panel and the adjacent one to the right are the interface to an integrator/memory module: Integrators in analogue ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.1k
18 votes

Atari SIO vs IEEE 488

According to Joe Decuir (one of the designers of the SIO bus), he wasn’t aware of another serial bus when he had to design a solution for external peripherals in a radio-silent system. Make of that ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
17 votes

Does 10BASE-T need more sophisticated electronics than 10BASE5/10BASE2?

The per-port electronics in the network card is very similar, no matter whether you use 10base2 or 10baseT. AUI is slightly simpler on the network card, as a part of the electronics is not in the card,...
Michael Karcher's user avatar
16 votes

Format of "Pound" domains in RFC 821

It's called a #-literal. It's basically an Internet host number (IP address) written as a decimal number and it's been obsolete for almost as long as the Internet has existed. The current version of ...
JeremyP's user avatar
  • 11.8k
16 votes
Accepted

When was network byte order decided?

As far as I can see, RFC 1700 doesn’t define “network byte order” as a phrase; it specifies the order of transmission of bytes (or octets) on the network, as done previously in the RFCs it obsoletes (...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

In Windows 3.11, did a unusual subnet mask actually work?

The first question would be: "with what Winsock stack?" As originally shipped, Windows for Workgroups didn't support IP at all. Somewhere along the line (but I'm not sure of the exact date) ...
Jerry Coffin's user avatar
  • 4,842
15 votes
Accepted

How did Microsoft take over Winsocks (Windows Sockets)?

Microsoft didn’t take over Winsock. Winsock, the Windows socket API, is a socket API (similar to BSD sockets) which was designed by a number of engineers (including two from Microsoft) following a ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
15 votes

Did people back then build powerful computers out of multiple smaller machines?

Did people back then build supercomputers out of multiple smaller ones? What smaller ones? But there have been multiprocessor systems. For one, multi processor systems have been around since the ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 223k
15 votes

What did corporations use for long-distance networks in the 1980s?

Leased Lines Leased lines are always at the bottom of each network, no matter whether they are made as twisted pair of galvanic coupled wire, dynamic amplified lines, fiber or satellite link. They may ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 223k
14 votes
Accepted

Which microcomputer manufacturers developed their own Local Area Network systems?

Preface: As with many early questions, it's up to the definition of network. It might be helpful not to tie this too close to our modern understanding of a connection between (mostly) equal peers. ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 223k

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