The one with the T shaped BNC's that conected to the network card and chained all the computers together and would go down regularly and require checking all the connections and terminators to see if one's come undone or got loose, sort of like Christmas tree lights.
Back in the mists of time:- 1981, My first networking was a star network comprising an Acorn Atom acting as a file server to Rockwell AIM65 clients that were being used for data logging and basic process control. A very cheap alternative to the PDP11 system that I could never get my hands on as too expensive to take out of the computer room and into the lab. All custom code/interfaces developed in conjunction with the UK Micro processor development council as standards were still evolving back then and the UK actually thought we might need to get interested in this sort of technology
next :- I was working on a suite of programmes for BT for the management of their payphone systems including a comms system to transfer data from regional counting centres to BT head office by MODEM/accoustic couplers. With a colleague we worked out scenarios, holding up boards with Ack/Nak etc as we tested before hitting the macro assemblers. But after a few months something went wrong at two sites. Canterbury and Brighton. Everywhere else worked. Weeks of debugging and I still cannot find the problem with my code. Then it hits me. There is nothing wrong. it must be a configuration change. But examining the file, there is no change.
In desperation phone the Cantebury number (modem remember) and get a pre recorded "Cantebury 5 figure numbers have now been upgraded to 6 by prefixing a 6 to the number". great! a config tweak and it works. So check out Brighton. The line is dead. Report it to BT and get told it has been cut off for non payment. Great BT cuts of BT.
So forward a couple of years and I installed a network using 10Base5 (thicknet) with Bridge communications terminal servers using the xerox XNS protocols before we moved over to TCP/IP and even successfully obtained a class B network allocation which we still use today as a far larger global enterprise. I even went over to China to install similar on a power station project. My other colleagues were implementing "Broadband" with Sytek kit as they had noisy factory environments and used to talk channels, head ends. But what was missing back then were wide area networks.
In my case we were trying to connect terminals to computers, the network was simply a method of replacing lots of RS232 cables and allowing switching between the terminal and multiple target. so for the wide area we had terminal servers providing RS232 connectivity to Case multiplexers between sites. But as someone had spent a fortune on the multiplexors and BT leased lines it took an effort to get them kicked out and bridges between sites put in.
Wonderful when BT brought out SMDS and I didn't need to think about network loads as with x25 etc and simply install ACC routers and get inter site connectivity. Until my new boss decided he wanted his beloved Novell PC network which wasn't using IP. So out go the ACC and in come Cisco routers. But we are now also using VSAT to link voice/data in China, Phillipines back to the UK. All IP. But still inter site.
But my boss with his Novell network did one thing right for the time. He set up email and had a server dialing up his internet service provider to push/pull email. So when he left. I inherited an internet account. Marvelous. OK dial up. but there was more than just email.Especially as I had a Mosaic browser on my workstation. You kids today don't know how lucky you are.
Oh the happy days of networking, When you actually needed to know what you were doing.
Oh I remember that cabling and the fun we had when someone removed the T-piece and plugged the coax directly into the card. The joy of trying to see why the connection worked, then didn't. Trying to talk an engineer (I think he was a telephone engineer) through tracing the cable and describing what should be there.
Didn't we laugh trying to find a terminator and T-piece to sort the issue.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. Jim Elliot
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