This document describes features and the
basic installation procedure for the PC/FlexNet for WIndows95 Add On Package.
A good while ago, in April 1996 at the
Packet Radio Conference in Darmstadt a first implementation of FlexNet
for Windows 95 was introduced. In the first euphoria it was promised
to have the whole package available no later than the HAM RADIO-Conference.
Unfortunately, many details had to be worked out until a reliable solution
could be found.
The draft, which finally is based on the
Alphatest-stage is assembled as in the following: The FlexNet modules
(kernel and driver) are still available as DOS-Versions, which means
they still run under DOS. Therefore the istallation method remains the
same for the time being.
The program has to be installed under
DOS, before starting Windows. However, all modules can adjust to the
new conditions after starting Windows. Especially the Interrupt-Routines
of the drivers are now "dual mode" which means, depending on the machine's
condition, they are executed in Real- or Protected Mode, supported by
a 32bit-virtual driver (VxD). Therefore the same performance as under
DOS was obtained, concerning the interrupt latency. Basically, the drivers
are compatible to the 3.3e-versions, which means they can be mixed.
The desired performance under Windows can only be achieved with the
If using a DOS-installation, an update
is also recommended. Aside from the Windows support the kernel itself
had only one change - 1 letter. It now has the number 3.3f.
Upgrading to PC/Flexnet V 3.3f
Attention should be paid to the following:
The following files have to be replaced by newer versions:
This means, these modules can not be mixed
with the 3.3e-versions. A final 3.3f version of FLEXDIGI is not available
yet. Due to the fact that the use of Windows on a node is not advisable,
there are no special priorities for that. Digipeaters should run the
Important changes concerning the Ethernet
The previous drivers (IPXN, IPXD, IPPD
and ETHER) do not work under Windows 95. The Ethernet cards are administred
by Windows and therefore must be installed under Windows. Of course
IPX and AXIP still work (only UDP until now) but a new driver called
ETHER32 is needed.
Not all drivers have been adjusted to
the Windows environment yet. USCC will work soon, the tests are not
Installation of PC/FlexNet V3.3f under
The title says it all:
FlexNet is not intended to be used
under older Windows-versions.
All higher functions are carried out in
32bit-modules. If Windows 3.1 is used, FLEXNET.VXD may not be installed
in the FlexNet-directory, as this may lead to problems.
Before installing FlexNet, the Windows
hardware manager should be checked. The necessary resources for the
FlexNet drivers (i. e. COM- and LPT-ports) should not show any conflicts.
Any installed printers or modems will be disconnected by FlexNet anyway,
this means, they should be deinstalled from the begin with. Basically
the system has to run stable and the hardware manager should not show
any problems before installing FlexNet, otherwise the results are unpredictable
- you should not expect a more stable system after installing the package.
The installation of the basic modules
(kernel and hardware drivers) is the same as in DOS:
- All needed modules are copied into
the FlexNet directory. It is important that the new flexnet drivers
are there, too!
- A batch file (e.g. LOADFLEX.BAT)
has to be created, which loads the modules with the parameters needed.
This file is loaded with "CALL LOADFLEX.BAT". Of course everything
can be copied into the AUTOEXEC.BAT as well.
- The PATH environment variable
has to show the FlexNet directory.
- The new modules "FLEXNET.VXD",
"FLEXCTL.EXE" and the ".DLL" also have to be found
in the FlexNet directory. They are referred to automatically.
- MSVCRT.DLL may be copied into
the Windows system directory as well.
After the modules are sorted, the system
should be booted into DOS (not in a DOS-Box under Windows!!). After
loading a terminal program (e.g. BCT) everything should run as usual.
If not, then it is advisable to find the error now, otherwise the start
of Windows is useless.
If everything works well, Windows can
be booted. After the GUI has been activated, the FlexNet-Logo shows
up for a few seconds, offering a menu. If an error is reported instead
or additionally, fix it and try again.
The taskbar should show the FlexNet logo.
When clicking on it, a small menu with various modules is opened. These
modules should be self-explanetory. They were not build to win a beauty-contest,
they just offer some basic functionality.
If everything is working well so far,
applications can be started. Any DOS application (e.g. a terminal program)
should be run in its own DOS-Box. It is a good idea to use a Windows
"shortcut" for this and put an icon on the desktop. Many DOS programs
need the WA8DED hostmode compatibility driver "TFEMU" to access
the Flexnet Kernel. It has to be called individually in the respective
DOS box. So the easiest way would be a batch file which first loads
TFEMU and afterwards starts the program. Again a Windows "shortcut"
is the easiest way to conveniently start the batch file.
32bit applications are under development
by several authors, so wait for many interesting new applications to
be available in the near future.
Important: the applications have
to use different MYCALLs (or SSIDs)! Otherwise there may be conflicts
in the outgoing QSOs. For incoming QSOs it would be undefined which
application will get it.
The trace mode (monitor) is still quite
limited. Only one application can use trace mode, all other applications
should have trace disabled. Here an improvement is under development
which will be introduced together with the 32bit version of the PC/Flexnet
Due to the fact that the network-cards
are administred by Windows using 32 bit drivers, an access by the old
packet drivers is not possible. Therefore a special driver called ETHER32
was created which is installed as a normal FlexNet-driver for the desired
number of channels, after installing the required protocols (IPX and/or
TCP/IP for AXIP) under Windows. More information can be found in the
corresponding Microsoft documents. For IPX, the frame type has to be
set to "Ethernet II". At least here the "AUTO" setting was
not working. The Ethernet channels are only available after starting
The command line parameters for ETHER32
are described in ETHER32.DOC. The protocol type for every channel
is entered; for AXIP_UDP additionally the IP destination is
After starting Windows, the parameters
can be checked or changed using "ETH32CFG". This can be done
in a DOS box under Windows. The corresponding Windows sockets (WSOCK32)
are needed for communication with the Ethernet. The own IP address and
other parameters are entered in the network configuration (control panel).
The corresponding link to the Windows
networking kernel is internally carried out by several modules: FLEXNET.VXD,
FLXAP32.DLL and FLEXCTL.EXE. They are loaded automatically,
the "FlexNet Control Center" performs as a helper application to link
If you are familiar with PC/FlexNet for
DOS, the update does not hold any surprises. Simply copy all the modules
into the FlexNet directory and start with your old batch file. The only
exception is Ethernet (and HB9JNX's soundmodem modules).
As a beginner, first read the documents
attached to the modules. It is necessary to boot DOS first and test
the package. Only if everything runs without errors, Windows should
be booted, and new features can be explored. This includes the TCP/IP-support.
Then the Ethernet driver may be installed if needed. If following this
order, possible problems can be pinpointed easier. If the whole package
is installed at once it may be hard to find the source of a problem.
73' and have fun with all the new stuff