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Amiga Explorer and Parallel Port

 

TOPIC

Q: Does Amiga Explorer support parallel port connections?

 

DISCUSSION

A: Amiga Explorer directly supports TCP/IP connections and serial port connections (without TCP/IP software). Indirectly, Amiga Explorer also supports all devices and connections for which TCP/IP drivers exist for both the Amiga side and the Windows side. This means that it is in theory possible to use Amiga Explorer over all connection types which are supported by TCP/IP, including Ethernet networks and serial and parallel cables. In practice, TCP/IP is normally used only for Ethernet connections, because serial connections can also be handled directly by Amiga Explorer (without the need to install and configure TCP/IP and the serial line IP driver, or SLIP), while parallel line IP drivers (PLIP) which would allow the Amiga and Windows to establish a TCP/IP connection over a parallel cable, are still under development (if you know of an Amiga/Windows PLIP combination which works, please let us know).

Unlike serial port and TCP/IP connections, which are well-supported by the different operating system versions, implementing a parallel port interface requires the development of different drivers for the Amiga side, for Windows 95/98, for Windows NT 4.0, and for the Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/7/2008 driver model. Some software packages have not considered this, and implemented a low-level interface which directly accesses the hardware, which may work well under DOS, but which fails in newer operating systems such as Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, or even x64 versions of Windows in general. This is the main reason why Amiga Explorer does not directly support a parallel port connection. We believe that the development of PLIP drivers for various operating systems is taking so much longer than SLIP (the serial equivalent of PLIP) for similar reasons.

While we would love to be able to continually offer more features and better support for all possible configurations, given limited resources in a difficult moment for the Amiga we believe that directly supporting parallel port connections would be not only complex, but also not absolutely necessary. Amiga Explorer already offers good, system-compliant support on all operating system versions and for both low and high speed connections over the serial interface (19.2 kbit/sec to 115 kbit/sec) and TCP/IP (up to several Gbit/sec, using WiFi or Ethernet), including wireless links when a Bluetooth serial adapter is used. Where speed is required, Ethernet currently offers not only the best performance, but also the best price/performance ratio. Additionally, PLIP drivers which could immediately be used by Amiga Explorer for a parallel port connection using TCP/IP may be coming soon.

When TCP/IP is installed, serial and Ethernet connections can be used by multiple protocols at the same time, for example for Amiga Explorer and to share a modem for internet access.

 

Article Information
Article ID: 13-135
Platform: Amiga, Windows
Products: Amiga Explorer, Amiga Forever
Additional Keywords: null-modem
Last Update: 2012-01-18
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