5.1 - PC HARDWARE
[5.1.01] - WHAT BASIC HARDWARE DO I NEED TO START A BBS?
In two short words a computer and modem. To get into more
details, once you decide what BBS/server software you'll be
using - the software package should list the minimun
requirements to run their software.
OTHER RELATED TOPICS:
[10.1.02a] - BSD/OS Hardware Hints
14.6 - CARRIER DETECTED
[5.1.02] - WHAT HARDWARE IS NEEDED TO ADD MORE PHONE LINES?
5.2 - NETWORKING YOUR PC BBS
[5.2.01] - INTRODUCTION
This section (Networking you PC BBS) is designed to give the
basics on how to make a networked BBS. There are a lot of
FAQ's out there that can be more helpful than what can be
written here, especially with the networking and using
individual BBS software, but this will give you a place to
[5.2.02] - WHAT IS A NETWORK?
A networked BBS is one that has multiple computers
'hardwired' through some non-phone connection to each other,
and they can send information to each other. If this is in a
corporate environment, there might be just one computer with
modems, with not only people calling in, but calling out as
well, for telecommuting and the like. For most private use
BBS's out there, however, all the machines on the network
have modems on them taking calls. We'll look mainly at that
[5.2.03] - WHAT DO I NEED FOR A NETWORK?
Assuming that your BBS software can handle multiple
computers with multiple modems, all you need to make a
network is an Network Interface Card (NIC), the wires going
to each computer, the 'topology' of the network, and a
Network Operating System (NOS).
[5.2.04] - THE TOPOLOGY
This is a fancy term for how the wiring will be laid. This is
mainly dependent on the wiring used. There's two main types:
The Bus and the Star.
[5.2.05] - HOP ON THE BUS
The bus is a series connection of computers. One to the other
to the other to the other, with resistors at the end of the
cable to tell the network you've hit the edge. It's probably
the cheapest way to get into networking. However, if you are
worried about one node (a computer on the network) going down,
this is a bad way to go. The wire breaks in any way, shape or
form, and the whole net comes crashing down.
[5.2.06] - HITCH YOUR DREAMS TO A STAR
The other way to connect them is in a star configuration.
All computers talking to one central hub. It's more
expensive because you have to buy that hub. That costs from
about $150 to easily over $1000. Unless this network will
also support a few hundred other users, stick with the
cheap, non-SNMP, non manageable hubs.
[5.2.07 ] - COACTIVE
I'll quickly glance over CoActive, because there's one major
problem with it: speed. The idea is simple enough: Give
everyone an adapter to hang off the parallel port of your
computer, run regular phone line between the machines, and run
a peer to peer network with the greatest of ease. Each node
takes about 10 mintues to set up, and that's pretty darn good.
The price makes it even more attractive. However, it is not
recommended if speed is a factor, it has an extremely slow
transfer rate. It runs as a serial port, so the max it can do
is 115K/second, where standard Ethernet pulls about 10 times
that. If you have small files, or run a message-only board, you
could get away with CoActive, but for anyone else it is not
[5.2.08] - ETHERWAVE
This is another new one, very fresh on the market. It's from
Farallon, and it's called Etherwave. Main claim to fame: You
can 'daisy chain' machines on Ethernet. big problem: The ones
near the end of the chain are very slow, and you still need a
NOS to run this thing.
[5.2.09] - LANTASTIC
Lantastic, by Artisoft, is a peer-to-peer NOS. What does that
mean to you? No dedicated server machine. So you don't have all
sorts of money tied up in a machine that does nothing but
manage your network. Before Windows for WorkGroups came along,
this was the ONLY reliable and cheap peer-to-peer setup. It
still is extremely popular, for one very important reason: it
runs in DOS. Windows for WorkGroups is great as long as you're
in Windows. As of 1 July 1994, Lantastic 6.0 has just hit the
streets, and the price is very reasonable.
[5.2.10] - NOVELL NETWARE
Netware, by Novell, has to be by far the most popular NOS. Alot
of companies run Netware, and there's all sorts of addons and
support for it. It's a good, reliable, robust operating system.
There's version 3.x and 4.x, with 3.x being more for small to
medium companies and 4.x for Wide Area Networks and large
companies. You'll be looking (as of 1 July 1994) at Netware
3.12 for your setup. 3.11 is also acceptable. Now, there's one
major drawback to Netware: It has to be installed on one
dedicated server. Dedicated means you can't do anything else
with that machine but run it as a server. Netware 3.12 will run
on a 386.
[5.2.11] - THE NIC
This is a card that will be installed into the computer and is
dedicated to network transmission. There are a lot of them out
there. You can easily pay from $30 to over $400. However,
sometimes, you do get what you pay for. It is suggested to find
a big company that will stand behind their product, both with
driver updates and tech support when things don't work. You can
do 3Com, Intel, Allied Telesis, SMC, Eagle, or others.
[5.2.12] - THE NOS & NETWORK TYPE
Now this one is a very good problem. A lot of people are
looking into this, not just for a BBS setup but for a variety
of other applications too. The following is a list and brief
description of some of the more popular networking software.
[5.2.13] - TIMBUKTU PRO FOR WINDOWS
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Amy Roberts)
Subject: Timbuktu(r) Pro for Windows
Date: 8 May 1995 20:37:26 -0400
Keywords: Farallon; Timbuktu Pro for Windows; LAN, WAN,
Internet, network management, novell, pc, software, windows
Timbuktu(r) Pro for Windows
Access anything or anyone on your network, from anywhere.
Farallon's Timbuktu Pro for Windows is networked remote
control with integrated remote node software for workgroups,
remote workers, and help desk administrators. Timbuktu Pro
works over your LAN, WAN, the Internet, or over dial-up or
ISDN lines to give you total LAN access. You can remotely
control not only your own PC, but any PC on your network.
Provide instant user support to anyone, wherever they are.
Retrieve and transfer files. Read e-mail. Update
client/server databases and workgroup applications like
Lotus Notes from afar. For the business user, Timbuktu Pro
for Windows lets you stay in touch from home or on the
road. For the network manager and help desk administrator,
Timbuktu Pro is ideal for troubleshooting a user's
computer, updating software, and training--all from where
* One license required per computer
* Novell IPX v2.12 (or higher) and/or a Windows
TCP/IP-based network such as:
+ Microsoft TCP/IP-32
+ NetManage Chameleon v4.01
+ Novell LAN Workplace v4.2
+ Trumpet Winsock v2.0
+ Network TeleSystems TCP Pro v1.0
+ For an updated list call Farallon
* 386 or higher with 4MB RAM (8MB highly recommended)
* Approximately 3MB hard disk space required for installation
* Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups 3.11
* DOS 5.0 or higher
* Optional: For remote dial-in, you will need a Shiva LanRover,
NT 3.5 Remote Access server, Windows 95 Dial-UP Server, or
PPP-compliant remote access server.
Timbuktu Pro for Windows version 1.0 is now shipping. The
product is available in twin-pack, 10-pack, 30-pack and
100-pack configurations. US street prices range from $70 per
user for a twin pack to $42 per user for a 100-pack. Farallon
also offers volume purchase pricing. All of Farallon's products
are available from resellers worldwide.
For more information,
Anonymous ftp: ftp.farallon.com/pub
Customer Service: email@example.com
[5.2.14] - WINDOWS FOR WORKGROUPS
As mentioned in the Lantastic section, this is Windows only.
[5.2.15] - HOW DOES ALL THIS HARDWARE HELP ME?
Well, suddenly you can share your BBS files over your whole
setup. In the Netware setup, you have one central location for
all your files, for easy backup and maintenance options. In
3.12, you can hang a CDROM or two off the server, to give even
more storage capability and value to your BBS. Suddenly, your
nodes can be 'light' nodes, doing nothing but answering calls,
with an 80 MB or so HD, and all the file storage is kept on the
server. For the Peer-to-peer, each machine can have one special
section for each file area, like games or utilities, and all
the other people look to that area for the files. Still easy to
maintain. Also, a network is a heck of a lot faster than
standard serial ports, and easier to send big files from one
machine to the other.
5.3 - CDROMS & YOUR PC BBS
[5.3.01] - HOW DO I ADD A CDROM TO MY BBS?
[5.3.02] - HOW MANY CDROMS CAN BE USED FOR USER ACCESS?
[5.3.03] - DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL SOFTWARE TO RUN A CDROM?
[5.3.04] - OTHER RESOURCES WHEN USING A CDROM ON YOUR BBS
From: FZDX57A@prodigy.com (Karen Thomas)
Subject: PUT YOUR FILES ON CDROM!!!
Date: 2 May 1995 04:08:39 GMT
C U S T O M C D
Utilizing the latest in CDROM technology, CUSTOM CD will
create an IBM compatible DOS or Windows CDROM according to
your specifications, using your source material, on a high
quality compact disc of your choice, in about a week.* It's
that simple. CDROMs can hold up to 650 MB of data.
+ Each customized CDROM is carefully mastered, produced, and
tested, to assure error-free duplications. Satisfaction is
+ Customized CDROMs are ideal for system back-ups and data
Source Material accepted:
You specify HOW you would like the data to be "set-up" on the
CDROM. You specify what directories and sub-directories you
would like created, and were files should be placed. (The
mastering technician will be happy to answer and questions or
to help you do this.)
We offer three brands of compact discs, Maxell, Sony, and TDK.
These are ALL high-quality "gold" discs.
540 MB disc $28
650 MB disc $35
*turn-around time averages one 3-5 days plus shipping time
on a single disc order.
If you would like to receive more information and an order
form, send your US mail address to:
3870 Central Ave, #202
Ft. Myers, FL 33901-8241