My 'intranet'


  • Introduction
Step 1 : Hardware
Step 2 : RISC OS
Step 3 : Windows 3.11
Step 4 : Actually doing it
Connecting to...
The Modern Generation...
  • Setting up Windows XP...
  • ...coming soon!
Setting up another RISC OS machine, and setting up a W95 machine will come...



After my MDFS server's power supply cooked itself (and half of my Econet), it became apparent that getting all of that stuff up and running again would be, as Acorn used to say, non trivial.

It also became rather apparent that as more and more use was being made of PCs, it was becoming increasingly clear that a network system achieving a usual 11K/sec or 80K/sec with a tailwind and no 6502-based machines just wasn't going to do.

The final nail was put in the coffin with the purchase of my RiscPC. Econet cards do exist for the RiscPC, however that said, Econet cards did exist for ISA-bus PCs. I rate the two about as easy to obtain.

So, here it is. My intranet.

The word 'intranet' seems to mean many things to many people:

  • A little 'home' or 'office' network (the correct use of the term)
  • A 'company-wide' multi-building network using miles of cable (could be an intranet, some people call this an extranet)
  • Something that should span continents (if a company, it's a 'wan', if global it's the internet...)
  • A mis-spelling of 'internet'
It is, to be honest, a rather pretentious term. However I have chosen to use it because my network is a network of class (compared to Econet!). It is fully 10-baseT wired. Nice cables, RJ45 plugs, and a Pinacl "MaxiHub" with 24 ports (was originally an Allied Telesis 12 port repeater, in case you see that in these pictures...) all keeping things in order.
None of this daisy-chained BNC-plugged co-ax 'cheapernet' rubbish!
In addition to that, the future is possible - my 'big' PC contains a 10/100 network card which can plug into ADSL boxes, WiFi equipment, and the older machines can share in this using a 10/100 hub...

Image; GIF 7K


Network topology

My network is intended to be set up as follows (the above picture is out of date!):
  Machine     Name        IP address    Operating system           

  RiscPC      Alyson   RISC OS 3.70

  A5000       Angela   RISC OS 3.10

  486 PC      MomsPC   Windows for Workgroups 3.11
  [** DEPRECATED **]

  P75 PC      RicksPC   Windows 95
  [** DEPRECATED **]

  Reserved for fake PPP   RISC OS NC (Bush box...)

  466MHz PC   Angelique   Windows 98SE
  [no network card, may be a USB<->Ethernet thingy]

  486 PC ghosted   Linux5 / Minix3


  450MHz PC   Aiko   Windows XP Professional

At the moment (2008/04/06), to be brutally honest, only Alyson and Aiko are networked, using a cross-over back-to-back network cable.

Note also that it is listed by IP address. There are some duplicates, like the 486 PC when it is running Linux will have a different IP address (because I achieved this by actually having two harddiscs in the machine, and swapping cables...). In addition, the 'fake PPP' is a modem connection into Alyson, with the Bush box (on the other end of the line) being assigned thast specific IP address...

However I have better plans for if/when I get myself sorted out with broadband. I will try to see if I can purchase one of the 'professional' versions of the Orange Livebox, because it offers four Ethernet ports (the normal offers 2 Ethernet and 1 USB). Then, most of my browsing will be done using Aiko; and I will probably run a web server on Alyson - I reckon for about 30-40 euros I can remove the harddisc and replace it with an IDE-to-CF doohickey and a 1Gb CF card; totally silent harddisc. Take out the CD-ROM and PC co-pro, I might be able to slow down the fan. I have a little circuit to run the fan according to temperature (from an older PSU). This may or may not be a full time server. It depends on how mom wishes to access the Internet.

Ideally, the best solution could be to plug the Livebox into the hub and run everything from there. That would permit me to use the basic home version of the Livebox and run up to 26 computers off of it (23 off the hub, 1 plugged in directly, 1 on the USB, something on WiFi...
I don't know if this sort of topology will work. I'll let you know when I've done it! ☺


Network numbering

I am using subnet 192.168.0... as that is a network 'reserved' for local networks, such as this. The first three numbers of the machines are 192.168.0.... Some sources may suggest alternatives such as 10.1.1... (at
All of the machines should have an address in the form 192.168.0.x (or 10.1.1.x if you prefer). The value of 'x' can be anything between 1 and 254. I believe zero is a reserved number, and I'd be suspicious of 255 as well. However it gives you quite enough to play with!


So... If you have ever wanted to get your own 'intranet' up and running, click a link in the above table.



You might be wondering why I have bothered to write this considering there are several sites which describe networking to a PC. Well, the main reason was to network with a PC running Windows 3.11 for workgroups. All of the RISC OS to PC sites I've seen describe how to get your Windows 95/98/ME box running alongside RISC OS.
But Windows 3.11 presents special challenges, namely: Because there are a number of people out there still using this system. As I am one of them, I feel that some support should be provided for those using Windows 3. Because, given the wide availability of Windows95 - anybody still using Windows 3 has good reasons to do so and rather than mock and tell them to upgrade, it's better to suggest how to get things done. So that is why I have written a nutshell.

Then, as time progressed and my needs progressed, I don't need to network Windows 3.11 any more, don't have any computer running that these days; I have progressed to trying to get XP to talk RISC OS, and vice versa.

One thing I will not be describing is how to get any PC to dial into a RISC OS machine as if it were the Internet, all faked over a 'null modem' serial lead. It isn't difficult to do, and some versions of the Acorn DNS resolver will also work as a DNS server; the problem is that what with TCP/IP packet overheads, there is very little you can do by this method that wouldn't be a lot quicker as traditional comms and Zmodem! Certainly attempting a VNC session of an 800x600 display with no compression (the RISC OS VNC server) is a 'tad slow' over 10mbit Ethernet... it is an exercise in sado-masochism to try it across a 115kbps serial connection!

Finally, I don't claim to be the authority on networking RISC OS and PCs. I wrote this out of my own experience and experimentation. So the standard disclaimers should apply: Caveat emptor and all that jazz. If you run into difficulties, I would like to recommend the newsgroup comp.sys.acorn.networking, which discusses RISC OS related networking issues. You could also try visiting a few of the other RISC OS networking sites (refer to the links page) to see if they do anything differently.

All said and done, best of luck and I hope this information proves to be helpful to you...

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Layout tested on Fresco 2.13, Oregano 1.10demo, and Browse 2.07
Also tested with ArcWeb 1.92 (without table support).
Tested with MSIE 6 under Windows XP.

Copyright © 2002/2008 Rick Murray