Equinox multi port boards

Karl Denninger karl at ddsw1.MCS.COM
Tue Dec 5 16:12:49 AEST 1989

In article <459 at gallium.UUCP> garyb at gallium.UUCP (Gary Blumenstein) writes:
>In article <134 at tiamat.fsc.com> jim at tiamat.fsc.com (Jim O'Connor) writes:
>>> using SCO HoneyDanBer and their supplied dialer program.  I gave up a long 
>>> time ago trying to get a Telebit to work on other smart i/o boards.  I 
>>My Telebits work with the Bell Tech (ah, excuse me, Intel) ACE board in this
>>system, but I didn't get the throughput improvement that I though I would.
>>The number of interrupts caused during a UUCP transfer did decrease
>>dramatically, but the actual speed of the transfers only incresed slightly.

>Keep in mind that your actual throughput is also affected by the condition of 
>the line, the modem, and your software.  The board istself may not necessarily 
>affect transfer speed as much as these other factors.  However, with 
>conditions being equal, for the exeption of the line quality (which I have no 
>way of measuring).  I have seen my highest throughput when using a Telebit on 
>the Equinox.  Overall, the worst I'm getting is around 1,250 cps and the 
>highest is over 1,500 cps.  I was never able to get 1,500 cps when using 
>another smart i/o board, and I've tried several of these .  The figures are 
>taken from xferstats (obviously with the HZ problem fixed) and with files 
>>500K both sending and receiving.  

Did you try the Specialix board?  I have one here on evaluation, and by Gods
is this board nice!  A wonderful subsystem!

Transfer rates?  We went from somewhere around 10k to somewhere around
14kbaud on our Telebit when we switched today.  Nothing other than the I/O 
card was changed.

>As far as interrupts go, there was a good posting earlier which explained
>this better than I could but because the Equinox utilizes polls every x 
>milliseconds when clock signals occurr, you are basically eliminating 
>extra interrupt servicing and context switching that you get with interrupt 
>driven i/o boards.  The ASIC processor is also smart enough to handle 
>simultaneous 38.4K baud to and from all 24 channels unlike most other
>smart boards which can barely handle more than 9,600 baud if that.

Oh, from the numbers in the Specialix manual I get:
	640 KB/sec (bits/sec) 	[Total throughput per card]
	or 64 Kilobytes/sec	[Total throughput per card]
	or 64 9600 baud channels unidirectional		32 bidirectional
	or 32 19200 baud channels			16 bidirectional
	or 16 38400 baud channels			8 bidirectional
	or 8 56800 baud channels			4 bidirectional

at 100% loading without losing ANYTHING!

Yes, it will run 56Kbaud!  It uses the "50 baud" setting on stty to do this.
We have a couple of terminals which can handle the speed, and it really,
truly, does get it without a single hitch.  Zmodem transfers are incredible 
at 56K!

With two 56K channels up receiving, and a couple of Telebit connections
running at 12-14KBaud there was no noticable degredation in performance.
None.  Absolutely zero.

I am >very< impressed.  Evaluation board?  Hell no, this one you couldn't
tear from my hands!

>>Here's another VP/ix question:  will this board let me run VP/ix from a
>>serial terminal like the Wyse60, which runs in PC mode during the VP/ix
>Yes, the Equinox board supports VP/ix sessions nicley.  In addition, VP/ix
>running under Interactive UNIX can be used over a modem.  I've tested

Same with the Specialix.

>Two other BIG pluses for the Equinox board that I forgot to mention in
>my original posting (I found out by accident!) is that their drivers 
>support line disciplines for both SCO Multiview and their office automation
>application (I forget the name of this).  When I enabled the line
>discipline, Multiview flys!  While I havn't measured it yet, there is a
>HUGE perceived difference in speed when running Multiview on, say a Wyse
>60 with this feature enabled.  It makes the application completly usable, and
>its very kind to the cpu.  In fact, when Equinox releases their new drivers 
>that have multiple sessions, I probably won't use them because Multiview 
>works so well.

That I haven't tried.  On the other hand, the line discipline code is on the
card when you're using line discipline 0 (standard).  Unlike Anvil, the
board doesn't suffer from this offloading at all!

>The other nice feature about the Equinox is that the drivers allow
>Foxbase+ to run at 38,400 baud on your terminals without blowing up
>the screen.  

Try it at 56K.  You think 38,400 is nice?  56K is like being on the console!
You really have to see it to believe it.

>>Last question (for now anyway):  what physical attachment does the board use?
>They have everything under the sun.  What I have, and I suspect will be
>the most common are two 4 foot PBX cables attatched to what they call 
>"Modular Splitters".  This is a little black box containing 12 RJ-11 jacks.
>Some of the other wiring alternatives you can get include male or female 
>DB25 distribution panels, punch blocks, DB25 or RJ-11 fan out cables,
>etc.  They also sell RJ-ll to DB25 adapters for modems and terminals and
>the coolest short haul modems I've ever seen.  I didn't have to futz 
>around with a breakout box at all.  Just plug and go.  My question is,
>why couldn't these boards have been around years ago when we originally
>configured our systems!

The Specialix connector scheme is a female DB25.  The I/O modules (8 or 4 
ports each) plug into >each other< allowing from 4-32 ports on one I/O 
interface.  Each "interface" board in the computer (there can be 2 total) 
has a 20Mhz (!) Z280 onboard and up to 1/2Meg of buffer RAM.

One of the nicest things about this card is that you can add additional
ports (given that you aren't beating the snot out of them!) until you have
32 (given all 8-port modules) on a single I/O interface, but buy them 
8 or 4 at a time.   Thus this card is >truly< expandable as your needs grow,
something that most other intelligent cards only dream about.

This thing comes with drivers for 386/IX 2.x and SCO Xenix.  Others are
rumored on the way.  Pricing runs from ~$1k - $2500 depending on the number
of ports; the 16-port version is somewhere around $1700. 

Do I sound like a salesman?  Not yet we're not.  But if this thing continues
to live up to it's initial promise, we'll be carrying them shortly (as in as
fast as we can get them in the building).  I can't say enough nice things 
about these ports boards; they are real wonders.

Anyone want to buy an Anvil Stallion-8 card for somewhere around $700?  
I have one for sale :-)

Karl Denninger (karl at ddsw1.MCS.COM, <well-connected>!ddsw1!karl)
Public Access Data Line: [+1 708 566-8911], Voice: [+1 708 566-8910]
Macro Computer Solutions, Inc.		"Quality Solutions at a Fair Price"

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