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DOS Breakthrough: Ethernet via Wifi

Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-01-13 4:32 PM
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Using this serial wifi adapter https://www.tindie.com/products/theoldnet/rs232-serial-wifi-modem-fo... and a new firmware that turns it into a hybrid wifi ethernet adapter (cited/available in these listed videos), there's a new way to network with DOS/wifi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S35-jFSMEf8 and make sure to watch his follow-up for proper wifi setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pruyb2enrU&t=0s

This is still very alpha, starting with the fact that there is no DNS resolution--you have to use a proxy (eg: "set http_proxy=***.***.***:****"). In the video, Richard posts his own proxy for theoldnet.com, so you can get there, but nowhere else so far. You can follow the struggle here: https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_slip_router/issues/17

I've gotten it to work on an Omnibook 425 and a 200LX. The 200LX, with its screen size and resolution, makes for a challenge when trying to surf with a nifty DOS browser called MicroWeb https://github.com/jhhoward/MicroWeb The font is tiny and for the 200LX, this is pretty much proof-of-concept right now, especially with the current DNS problems.

There is a port of MicroWeb for the XL95 https://github.com/jhhoward/MicroWeb/releases/tag/v0.52 which I have tried, but it only uses a fraction of the 200LX screen and the miniscule fonting remains a burden. The 200LX's zooming, not surprisingly, doesn't work with MicroWeb.

There's a big learning curve to this setup and I had a time climbing it, but I think I can now help folks with the flashing and installation.

What we need is a proxy and I cannot find an available one on the 'net.

Still, this is insanely promising for DOSheads.

You can tell just by the videos that Richard is an affable guy and I've received email support from him.

Jake
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2022-01-13 6:33 PM
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Very cool news, Jake!

Thanks for sharing all the info and details.

Keep us posted....

Mark
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-01-13 10:11 PM
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Seems to me that this could have some legs for CE as well in overcoming the WPA and ethernet driver limitations that people experience. Alas I doubt there is any driver interface support for SLIP.

Once you've mastered it on the 200LX Jake, could be a good one for a review and some tutorial doc's in the support section
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-01-13 10:25 PM
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I'm all in, but the way is still not clear.

Jake
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-14 5:50 PM
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I'm begining to think of all these various "hardware extensions" more or less the hardware equivalent of "software patches or firmware updates": Necessary upgrades for interfacing with the "moving target" of "online evolution."

Pleased to see you are making progress in saving these DOS hpc's from the fate of the Dodo (er... DoDOS)! Good luck to you!

joval ...from his J720 with a RasPi "hardware extension" hybrid HPC

Edited by joval 2022-01-14 6:04 PM
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-01-15 3:26 AM
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C:Amie - 2022-01-13 5:11 PM

Seems to me that this could have some legs for CE as well in overcoming the WPA and ethernet driver limitations that people experience. Alas I doubt there is any driver interface support for SLIP


This approach would be too slow for WinCE, not to mention cumbersome. I believe the best way to bring WinCE to WPA networks is by using the same esp8266, but with this firmware ( https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater ) paired up with a regular Ethernet card. For WinCE it will be just a regular Ethernet card, but on the other end you have an esp8266 connecting the Ethernet link to any Wi-Fi network. We can go all the way up to write a custom little program that talks to the esp8266 and changes configs like which network to join, passwords, etc.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-01-15 9:42 AM
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If there were a way to go faster than 115200 bps in the way you suggest, definitely! So basically it would be a dongle with a male 8p8c wired in crossover with layer 1 media converter firmware or would it need to be a layer 3 NAT router?
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joval Page Icon Posted 2022-01-15 4:12 PM
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I asked about this once before: IrDA is capable of 4Mbs on the J720, obviously in someway it converts ?serial Tx, Rx into infrared pulses. Is there some way to disconnect or tap into the phototransistor/diode leads and connect them to the Esp8266/Esp32 much like a serial to wifi connection? This may not apply to your DOS hpc's,

Does the IrDA basically work like a dial up modem with similar AT commands, etc? I don't know much about IrDA hardware or software... Is there any hope in this approach . Thanks in advance!

Forgive me if I'm posting this in the wrong neighborhood... you just have me wondering/wandering.

joval ..... from his J720 with RasPi "hardware-extension"
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2022-01-15 11:42 PM
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joval - 2022-01-16 1:12 AM

I asked about this once before: IrDA is capable of 4Mbs on the J720, obviously in someway it converts ?serial Tx, Rx into infrared pulses. Is there some way to disconnect or tap into the phototransistor/diode leads and connect them to the Esp8266/Esp32 much like a serial to wifi connection? This may not apply to your DOS hpc's,

Does the IrDA basically work like a dial up modem with similar AT commands, etc? I don't know much about IrDA hardware or software... Is there any hope in this approach . Thanks in advance!

Forgive me if I'm posting this in the wrong neighborhood... you just have me wondering/wandering.

joval ..... from his J720 with RasPi "hardware-extension"

That may be possible:

Look at these:

This is a WiFi controlled IR Blaster.
https://github.com/mdhiggins/ESP8266-HTTP-IR-Blaster

There was a product that used IrDA to connect to LAN in 1997 called IrHawk-GP01.
https://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/article/961220/irhawk.htm

It might have been that IrDA could be converted to LAN for use in Windows CE as it mentions above in the Japanese site that "it would be useful to have one for Windows CE". I guess that can be connected to a WiFi by extending it?

So yeah, if somebody can couple IrDA to Ethernet / WiFi with ESP8266 or similar, it will work in theory.



Edited by stingraze 2022-01-15 11:55 PM
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 12:31 AM
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More progress about successful DOS browsing.

The ever-aware C:Amie suggested http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/Network/proxy/Freeware.htm to act as the missing proxy and that indeed was the ticket, at least for a larger DOS machine (I'm still sorting the 200LX).

I had to refresh myself mightily about AnalogX, but a crash course is this: install the program, start, go to Configure/Proxy Binding, put in the IP address of your Win machine, then in DOS: set http_proxy=windows.ip.address:6855 , start MicroWeb

For the Omnibook 425, I struggled with MicroWeb's small, wispy font, but then discovered if you start at C:\ with the command microweb -c , it forces CGA and bolds pretty much everything.

Initial browsing is http-only (eg: 68k.news), but if you first go to frogfind.com, then search for your favored site, you might actually get to said site--for instance, I arrived at hpcfactor.com and looked through the forums. You won't be able to post, but you can read. Some sites don't properly come up--oddly, lite.cnn.com, whose frogfind errors can be replicated on every browser I've tried--but others do, eg: npr.org.

My searching has shown 200LX users employing MicroWeb, and while that's true, I can't yet recommend it for anything other than proof-of-concept eyestrain. More testing is needed.

Life is hard: you're at 115K max. But given 68k/frogfind's bold text CGA visage, one can move forward through a lot of the web on DOS, without all the *.cfg hardship that lynx and doslynx demands, let alone building a custom DOS packet.

Jake
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 6:58 AM
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I am glad that worked (not least because I didn't want to have to run an open public proxy server )

I suppose the next step would be either minification or, more likely a de-https proxy?
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 9:05 AM
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This is interesting, unfortunately I don't have a Dos Palmtop to play along. Sigh... I guess that's next on the list. Almost had me breaking out my old Panasonic CF-01 this morning at 3 AM and firing up it's W95/Dos 'goodness.' Arachne, web browser for dos, worked quite well for the time best I can remember.
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radiance32 Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 10:12 PM
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I actually bought one of these a week ago when I saw this video from another forum post...
Can't wait to get my hands on it

BTW, I've got, for one of my new videos, and for my YouTube channel, been building a website for my channel,
where you can see my list of videos, get Howtos and tutorials, forum / support links (and yes to this forum off course!),
and a download area for 200LX related software, like enablers/drivers/tools/software/games/patches etc...

The whole website is hosted on a doublespeed HP 200LX, with a 10mbits CF ethernet adapter in a CF to PCMCIA adapter,
with an RJ-45 dongle attached. The webserver runs on DOS and it's quite snappy about 100KB/sec throughput when
downloading files from it. The webserver software/drivers are on the C: Ram drive, and the website data is mounted on a network drive,
from my Linux NAS, and I've got a 16GB filesystem made for the website, which is mounted on the palmtop and
contains the webserver's web root and other directories like cache and logs etc...

It's working quite nicely, the site is far from finished, just the main page has content on it, but I'm adding stuff daily,
so in a few weeks when the basics are all there, I'll be making a video on how I set the entire thing up.

Try it out: http://www.palmtoptube.com

I'd love to hear if it works properly, and what kind of speed/responsiveness/experience you get when browsing it from the US,
as it's hosted from New Zealand (i've fiber and a static IP at home)


I'm using DOS / mTCP, not Minix.

The reason is that I cannot get the PCMCA NIC to work in Minix, so I have to use SLIP/PPP to connect the palmtop to the network,
and the maximum stable line speed i can get is 38400 baud, which would be 25x slower than my ethernet card equipped webserver,
and give me about 4KB/sec throughput, which would be ridiculous to try and run a webserver off.
Imagine having multiple people browsing and downloading several files of 2-3MB each from the download area all over a 4KB/sec network link

It's pretty sad, as using Minix for the webserver would have been much better, as I could have had dynamic content with cgi-bin,
and all the other advantages you get with running a webserver on a UNIX-like OS.
I still plan to make the 2nd Minix video, where i demonstrate how to compile a new kernel with networking support, and how how to connect it
to a linux machine with PPP or SLIP.

So for now, due to not having an ethernet card on Minix, it's MS-DOS and mTCP for the webserver...

Since the mTCP httpserv only supports HTTP, as HTTPS is too complex for such a slow system,
and the fact that you really need HTTPS on your website nowadays otherwise you end up with
some issues like people getting warnings that the site is not safe (scaring them away) etc...
I was thinking of setting up a separate raspberry PI to act as a HTTPS to HTTP reverse proxy,
so incoming HTTPS connections are decrypten and forwarded to the 200LX,
the mTCP httpserv responds to the request, and the raspberry PI then encrypts the results
and sends them back to the user's webbrowser which made the HTTPS request...
I think this is the only solution to the HTTPS issue...

Cheers,
Terrence


Edited by radiance32 2022-01-16 10:35 PM
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 10:38 PM
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Serve time was 8.79 seconds for 233KB from you, but it was 15.3 seconds for the full transaction to complete (largely YouTube/Google state, tracking and cookie exchanges).
To put that into perspective, hpcfactor.com is entirely runtime compiled ASP with data drawn from an external, LAN resident SQL Server pool and its transfer time is about 0.2 seconds with a transaction completion of 0.27 seconds.

So, not bad considering the age of the equipment involved... I mean, hpcfactor.com is running on current spec-Xeon Scalable processors.
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radiance32 Page Icon Posted 2022-01-16 10:41 PM
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Yeah,

I think for a PC/XT with an 186 CPU it's quite fast
and I'm not even using the file caching functionality of httpserv, which doubles the speed (approximately)

So,
when you browse the website, is it satisfactory ?
Eg, are you satisfied with the user experience of browsing the site ?
Do you feel, when browsing the site, that this is good for running a large website, or do you think it's too slow and unpractical ?


Cheers,
Terrence

PS: the page loads in about 4 seconds here on the local network (connecting directly to the webserver)

Edited by radiance32 2022-01-16 10:42 PM
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