Using the Wisconsin Network - Part 9

By Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

In our last part of the series, we took a breather and answered a few of the most commonly encountered questions concerning network nodes. In this part, we will expand on one of the questions concerning the "X-1J" nodes.

Why? The X-1J series of nodes is compatible with and is very similar to familiar "TheNet" nodes we have been working with all along. The X-1J will accomodate newer operating modes, it is capable of doing a great deal more. It also makes conventional operating modes easier and more convenient to use. That is why it is rapidly becoming the new node firmware of choice in Wisconsin, and many other areas. In addition to providing all of the usual node services, it also has the ablilty to route TCP/IP Packets as well.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with TCP/IP, one can safely say that it is an amateur radio version of the Internet, and can be connected to the Internet. TCP/IP uses a different method to hook our computers together than the standard "AX.25" method we are all used to. TheNet X-1J allows us the opportunity to interface to the rest of the computer world, yet still retain "backward compatability" so that we can use AX.25 as well. In order to accomodate the expanded features, some commands needed to be changed from the older "TheNet" Node Firmware.

And that is the subject of this article, to compare the two and show the command differences. Question is, how do you tell what kind you are connected to? Luckily, there is one command that will tell you very quickly - the U command. Once connected to the node, it will not only tell you who is using the node, but what type it is. This is usually the first line you get when you ask for users. You will see one of the these 3, in all likelihood:

TheNet 2.08
TheNet 2.10st
TheNet X-1J4

Once you know what one you are using, you can use the appropriate command. You can find out which commands the node will take by sending a ?. TheNet 2.08 and 2.10st will show:

Bye Connect CQ Heard Info Nodes Routes Users

while TheNet X-1J will show:

Invalid Command - Choose from : Connect CQ Bye Help Info Nodes Routes Talk Stats Host BBS DXcluster MHeard Users Quit IProute ARP Adc

Quite a difference between the two! They have more in common than this would lead you to beleive, however. You can still use the X-1J to do what you have always done, you can just do a little more. First, we start with the similarities.

Bye, Connect, CQ, Info, Nodes, Routes, and Users all do the same in both versions. By now, you probably know what all of these do with the possible exception of CQ. But that it easy to understand, it just allows you to call CQ.

Now to the different use of H. In the 2.08 and 2.10st versions of TheNet, it gives you a list of the most recently heard stations on the TNC in which it was installed. It the X-1J, it gives you a small Help file. This covers the most common commands and the command differences between this version and the conventional TheNet nodes.

The Heard list is still in the X-1J. It is called up with the M (or MH) command. An easy way to remember this is "Most recently Heard". This heard list is better than the older style. It tells us what "port" a station was heard on (Radio port 0 or wireline Port 1 to the rest of the stack). It will also tell you the elapsed time since a station was last heard, how many packets that station has sent, and may also show that station's deviation or signal strength. This depends on whether an accessory board has been installed and hooked to the Node radio. Not essential, but really handy if the node is equipped with it!

There are also some added commands. Here is a quick rundown and just what they do:

ARP - A TCP/IP Function. Gives the "Address Resoloution" table from the node.
ADC - Will give information from accessories hooked to the node, like a temporeature sensor.
IPA - Will give the TCP/IP Address of the node.
IPRoute - Gives the TCP/IP Routing table for this node.
BBS, DXcluster, Host - These commands will hook you up to the local BBS, DX Cluster, or TCP/IP Host
                                   Computer. Easy enough.
Quit - Same as Bye.
Stats - Not of too much use to the average user. Will show statistics on Node (CPU) useage.
Talk - Conference mode. To enter, type T when you first connect up to the node. To exit, type /EX on
          a line all by itself.

And that is a quick overview of the differnces between the newer "X-1J" series nodes and the older "TheNet" nodes. Not all of the features are enabled on every node, but this sumarry shows what this powerful new firmware is capable of. If you would like more detailed information, look in the nodes  section here on this site.

On to Part 10 -  A look at TCP/IP Packet Stations

Back to Part 8  -  A Q&A concerning Packet Node operation

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Back to the WAPR home page  - Look at something else