Networking FreeDOS - DOS networking today
In this chapter we will learn more about the network drivers, protocols
and networking software that can be used with a FreeDOS PC in the 21st
century. For deeper information about networking try Eugene Blanchard's
"Introduction to Data Communications" (see: http://www.techbooksforfree.
com/intro_to_data_com/, GNU GPL, a more recent but non free version can
be found here (see: http://learnat.sait.ab.ca/ict/txt_information/
Ethernet is today's dominant network hardware technology. For this type
of network adapters generally three sorts of drivers can be used under
DOS (and you should be able to find at least one of them for your card):
* Packet drivers, invented by FTP Software Inc. Many of them were
written and distributed by Crynwr.
* Open Datalink Interface (ODI) drivers, developed by Novell and Apple
* Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) drivers, developed by
Microsoft and 3Com.
All three are multiprotocol network drivers, what means that they are
able to support multiple protocols over the same card. Earlier drivers
did support only a single protocol. Multiprotocol drivers communicate
directly with the network interface card and provide a published
interface specification, to which applications can be written.
For a good general introduction into this topic see "Implementing Multi-
Protocol Network Drivers in a DOS Environment" by the University of
Georgia, Athens, Georgia (U.S.) (see: http://www.eits.uga.edu/~ucns/
The following protocols are supported by these three drivers:
* Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) used for
instance by UNIX, GNU/Linux, Windows Vista, OS X and the Internet,
* Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX)
protocols, used for instance by Novell Netware,
* Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) Extended User Interface
(NetBEUI a.k.a. CIFS) protocol used for instance by OS/2,
Windows 9x, ME and 2000.
TCP/IP is the standard for basic internet services as http, smtp or
ftp and it also became the default protocol for connecting Local Area
NetBEUI was the default protocol for LANs in Microsoft systems until
Windows 2000. It was replaced by NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT) and then by
TCP/IP. The application level network protocol SMB for instance can run
directly atop of TCP since Windows XP.
Novell's IPX was used in Novell Netware, which has been the default net-
working solution for personal computers running DOS or Windows 3.x.
Since 1998 NetWare is able to run on TCP/IP, more recent versions use
it per default.
Conclusion: TCP/IP is the "lingua franca" of modern networks. It is
still possible to use other protocols, but support may come to an end.
In general we can distinguish the following three ways of networking
that still can be used with DOS. Learn more about them in the following
* Novell Netware - ODI driver based Novell NetWare programs for
accessing a NetWare network and using TCP/IP services.
* MS client - NDIS driver based Microsoft "LAN manager Client" or "MS
Client 3.0" to integrate DOS machines into a Windows/SMB workgroup.
* TCP/IP applications - Packet driver based "UNIX-like" TCP/IP appli-
cations to access or provide network services like http, smtp, ftp,
SSH (see: SSH2DOS) or NFS.
Copyright © 2007 Ulrich Hansen, Mainz (Germany), modified 2010
For more information see here.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or
any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled
"GNU Free Documentation License"