OS/2 Warp FAQ List (20 Feb 95) Section 0308

(3.8) Networking Products

What networking products are available for OS/2 Warp?

Unfortunately, PC networking can be a complicated subject. The simple act of connecting two PCs can be easy, though, if you understand a little bit about how networks operate (and how they relate to OS/2 Warp). With that caveat in mind, here is a plain English introduction to networking with OS/2 Warp.

Drivers for Network Adapters

OS/2 Warp drivers are available for nearly all network adapters because of OS/2's dominant position as the software of choice for PC networking. There are two types of OS/2 Warp network drivers in general use: NDIS and ODI. ODI is only used by the Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2. NDIS drivers are used for all other OS/2 networking software in common use.

If you only wish to connect your OS/2 Warp PC to Novell Netware servers using the Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2, then you should use an OS/2 ODI network card driver. The driver will likely be supplied with the Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2 (see below).

If you do not plan to run the Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2, or you plan to run it in combination with other OS/2 networking or communications software, you should plan on using the OS/2 NDIS (also sometimes known as the IBM LAN Server) driver for your network card. The OS/2 NDIS driver is almost always found on a diskette accompanying your network card or can be obtained directly from the manufacturer. It may also be included in the OS/2 networking software you purchase (for example, IBM LAN Server 4 or Artisoft's LANtastic for OS/2). OS/2 NDIS drivers for many network adapters are also available from (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources, as well as vax.ftp.com via Internet anonymous ftp. Drivers for 3Com adapters are available via anonymous ftp from ftp.3com.com, from the 3Com Support BBS, or from CompuServe (GO THREECOM). Drivers for Cabletron adapters are available via anonymous ftp from ftp.ctron.com.

Make sure you request the driver intended for OS/2 Version 2.0 or later. OS/2 NDIS drivers written for earlier releases of OS/2 can be used, but they will require that you edit the accompanying .NIF file so that more recent installation programs will recognize it.

The Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2 can use OS/2 NDIS drivers if you install an ODI to NDIS converter. This converter (or "shim") is supplied as part of either IBM's Network Transport Services/2 (LAPS) or the replacement product, IBM Multiprotocol Transport Services (MPTS/LAPS). (NTS/2 should be considered an earlier version of MPTS.) MPTS forms the core of all OS/2 Warp networking software. It provides the installation and configuration utility for matching network card drivers with networking protocols. IBM licenses MPTS to many vendors, and it is included with most OS/2 networking products. MPTS is almost always the first software you should install (after OS/2 Warp) to allow your PC to access a network. Using MPTS, you simply select your network card(s), then select which networking protocol(s) you wish to run with your network card(s), and MPTS takes care of the rest.

What Networking Protocols are Available?

There are few (if any) networking protocols which are not available for OS/2 Warp. A networking protocol is simply the language used for communicating with other systems across the network. OS/2 Warp allows you to use multiple networking protocols, at the same time, over the same network card, should you need to, so you can mix and match as need be (without taking away precious memory from your DOS applications). Sometimes networking protocols are available by themselves (packaged without any client software to take advantage of the protocol). For example, the IBM LAN Server 4 requester (client) software includes all the programs you need to access a server (or peer) running IBM LAN Server 4. It also includes MPTS with NetBIOS (the primary protocol used for communicating with systems running LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, and NT, among others). However, the same MPTS includes other protocol support, including TCP/IP, 802.2 (SNA/APPN), and the ODI to NDIS converter (used to run the Novell NetWare Client Kit for OS/2). Other times OS/2 networking software comes with everything you need in one box. Still other times the software which uses a particular networking protocol is packaged separate from MPTS and the protocol support. For example, the Internet Connection, part of OS/2 Warp's BonusPak, works only with a modem using a dial-up connection to the Internet unless you add MPTS (which provides TCP/IP protocol support for network cards).

There are four primary networking protocols for PCs in use today. If you are just starting to venture into the world of PC networking, you need not understand everything about these protocols, but you should know what popular OS/2 Warp networking software uses each.

What Other Networking Packages are Available for OS/2 Warp?

The four primary protocols are not the only protocols in use today (and they are not the only protocols which are available for OS/2 Warp). Other packages include:

In addition, there are many other software packages designed for networks which are also designed for OS/2 Warp. Some are servers (Lotus Notes, cc:Mail Post Office for OS/2, and database servers such as IBM DB2 for OS/2 and Sybase System 10 SQL Server). Some are gateways and middleware (for example, IBM LAN Distance, which provides secure dial-up access to your office network; your modem behaves just like a network card, up to the speed of your modem). Some help manage networks (like IBM Netview for OS/2, IBM NetFinity, and CA-Unicenter from Computer Associates). Some let you control a PC over the network (IBM DCAF, Hilgraeve's KopyKat, and SCA's Poly/PM, for example). Some automate backups over a network (IBM ADSM). Some check for viruses (IBM Antivirus/2, McAfee ViruScan for OS/2). Some help you install software over a network (IBM LAD/2, IBM NetView Distribution Manager). And some just simply don't fit into any neat category (including Global Village's Faxworks LAN, IBM DCE, IBM SOM Toolkit, and IBM Time and Place/2). By no means is this a comprehensive list. And these software packages aren't reinventing the wheel; they all use one (or more) of the above mentioned networking protocols to communicate. So, for example, you might choose Artisoft's LANtastic for OS/2 and the Lotus Smartsuite for OS/2 (which includes cc:Mail for OS/2) to set up a small PC network with electronic mail, since cc:Mail works fine with NetBIOS.

Suffice it to say that OS/2 Warp is the most connected PC operating system, and it connects with style. Infoworld, in fact, calls OS/2 the best network client (and awarded it the "Interoperability Award").

Related information:

(0.4)  Special Report on OS/2 Warp
(1.3)  DOS and Windows Compatibility
(3.2)  Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.9)  Peer-to-Peer Networking
(3.10) Extended Services
(3.11) Internet Connection
(3.13) Multiuser Extensions and Security
(4.6)  Corrective Service Diskettes
(5.9)  Specific DOS Sessions

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