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.
As the name suggests, TCP/IP is the predominant protocol used for connecting systems into the Internet. Due to the popularity of the Internet, and due to the fact that TCP/IP is available for a larger variety of systems than any other networking protocol, TCP/IP use is growing rapidly. TCP/IP is designed to be routed over wide area networks, so it is well suited for campus environments and for connecting many remote locations. However, TCP/IP has several disadvantages. It can be difficult to configure (although OS/2 Warp's TCP/IP support is the easiest yet devised). It treats all network traffic the same, regardless of its importance. It is not very efficient handling exceptionally busy network links. It cannot guarantee delivery of real time information (and thus doesn't work particularly well with audio and video). Finally, NFS (Network File System), the software used to share disks over a TCP/IP-based network, lacks features and performance.
The following software packages for OS/2 Warp provide TCP/IP protocol support for network adapters (in other words, they include MPTS):
The following software packages for OS/2 Warp provide TCP/IP protocol support plus TCP/IP access software beyond that included with OS/2 Warp:
Includes both client and server software, including telnetd, ftpd, rshd, rexecd, and more.
Add-on kits are available for NFS (server and client), X Window Server, Domain Name Server, X.25 Extended Networking, and more.
Other protocols (such as NetBIOS) can be encapsulated and routed over TCP/IP. (MPTS provides the support to do so.) WinSock support is provided with OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection software, so you can run any TCP/IP or Internet software designed for Windows under OS/2 Warp. See (0.4) Special Report on OS/2 Warp for additional information on TCP/IP, the Internet, and OS/2 Warp.
NetBIOS is the "native" protocol used by IBM LAN Server, Artisoft's LANtastic (Version 5 and later, including LANtastic for OS/2), Windows for Workgroups, Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft LAN Manager, and several other PC-based network software packages. The protocol is fairly well standardized, and all these systems can "talk" to one another. NetBIOS is the highest performance networking protocol available for PCs (or, more precisely, IBM LAN Server 4 Advanced has been rated the fastest PC network server by LANQuest Labs when compared with Microsoft NT Advanced Server, which uses NetBIOS, and Novell Netware, which uses the IPX protocol). However, its major disadvantage is that it cannot be easily routed over wide area networks (see above).
The following software packages for OS/2 Warp provide NetBIOS protocol support for network adapters:
The following software packages for OS/2 Warp provide NetBIOS protocol support for your network card plus access software for sharing disks, printers, etc., over a NetBIOS-based network:
The premier peer-to-peer networking package for OS/2 Warp. Quickly, easily, and inexpensively connects you to other OS/2 Warp PCs with LANtastic or IBM LAN Server, and Microsoft Windows for Workgroups and NT PCs. LAN Times raves that LANtastic for OS/2 is much easier to use than any other version.
Rated the fastest network operating system by LANQuest Labs. Available in both Entry and Advanced versions, and second only to Novell Netware in marketshare, IBM LAN Server 4 now includes both TCP/IP and NetBIOS protocol support, drag-and-drop administration, better documentation, and a host of other enhancements. Winner of "Best of Show" at Networld+Interop.
Offers connection to any NetBIOS-based server, even using NetBIOS over TCP/IP. Also offers limited peer-to-peer networking. Diskettes containing this software are included with IBM LAN Server 4 only.
In short, for small peer-to-peer networks, Artisoft's LANtastic for OS/2 is an excellent choice. When your needs grow, IBM LAN Server 4 Entry Edition fits the bill. And, when your needs require the fastest PC server you can get, IBM LAN Server 4 Advanced Edition is the wise move.
IPX is a protocol which was designed by Novell. It is used to connect to Novell Netware servers and to PCs running Personal Netware.
The following software packages for OS/2 Warp provide IPX protocol support and Netware access software for your network card:
Updated regularly (the latest version is Release 2.11), the Netware Kit for OS/2 is freely available from Compuserve, OS/2 Warp BBSes, and many other electronic sources. (Novell collects revenue from higher priced servers and provides free or nearly free client software.) To use the Netware Kit with OS/2 NDIS drivers (and other OS/2 Warp networking software), be sure to select Netware support when you configure your network card using MPTS. If you only plan to use your network card to access Novell Netware servers, you can use an OS/2 ODI driver (if available).
A kit which allows you to install the regular Novell Netware 4.01 server software on an OS/2 PC. Your complete Netware server can then run alongside any other DOS, Windows, or OS/2 applications, even IBM LAN Server 4, on the same PC.
IBM's enterprise networking protocols are collectively referred to as SNA (Systems Networking Architecture). These are the protocols used to connect PCs to other PCs, midrange systems (such as the AS/400), and mainframe systems (such as the ES/9000). SNA protocols are similar to TCP/IP in that they are being used to connect a variety of different systems together. However, SNA protocols offer features such as rollback/commit options (for keeping databases in sync), priority markers (for giving more important traffic preference), and better utilization over busy networks.
Communications Manager/2 is a comprehensive package designed for enterprise networking with SNA protocols using dial-up, ISDN, coax, or network links. Terminal emulation (IBM 3270, IBM 5250), file transfer (IND$FILE), APPC/APPN, SDLC, LU 8.2, and more are all included. In other words, all the access software you need for taking advantage of IBM's enterprise networking is in one integrated package. Communications Manager/2 Version 1.1 (or later) includes NTS/2 (LAPS).
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:
Designed to run alongside a PC running IBM LAN Server 4, LAN Server for Macintosh allows the same server to be accessed by Apple Macintoshes on the network. It makes an IBM LAN Server 4 system look like an AppleShare server.
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").
(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