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PartyNet - What you need before the party

Please remember that The NetCrew does not sell, loan, or rent any network related hardware at the partysite.  Make sure that you read this section carefully before leaving for ASSEMBLY '02, or you will be very frustrated  (and network-less) upon arrival.  This point cannot be stressed enough since every year individuals arrive without the necessary equipment.  All the information you will need to have a great time at this year's party is described in detail below.

Hardware and Cables

In short, you will need an Ethernet network card with a RJ45 connector and a TP (Twisted Pair) patch cable of about 10 meters in length. If you are not sure what this means, read on. If you think you do, you should probably read the rest of this section anyway. Just in case.

Network card

There has been a major change since 1999 - COAXIAL CABLE IS NO LONGER SUPPORTED. There is a very real chance that the network card you have is useless this year. So, if you have a network card that has only a connector  labeled 'BNC' (see picture below), you should buy a new one that has a connector labeled 'RJ45 Connector' .

Certain older network cards (like the one in the picture above) have both a coaxial and a RJ45 connector. These will work fine. Most if not all network cards that are no more than a few years old should have a RJ45 connector.  However, if you know your network card is old, or you bought it used, please make sure to check whether it has a RJ45 connector or not.

If your network card has the connector labeled 'AUI' (in the picture above), it is possible to use a TP transceiver like this:

to enable you to access the party network. Be warned: A transceiver is very likely just as expensive as a new network card, so you might as well buy an entirely new card. The new card will be far superior to the old card and contain the transceiver combination anyway.

Once you have the proper network card in your hand, do yourself a favor and install it into your machine before leaving for Asm'2k. At the party, you do not want to realize that you forgot your screwdriver (or driver disk) home.  As well, it tends to be rather dark at the partysite so it is highly unlikely you could see the insides of the computer (or even the computer itself!) any way.


Unlike ASSEMBLY '99, each table will have a switch instead of a hub. This means there will no longer be a coaxial connector at each table, which means that this year you cannot use your coaxial connector for anything


Every attendee will need a 10 meter long TP patch cord.  Please make sure to not arrive at the partyplace with a cable that is too short - the switch to which your cable will be connected is physically attached to the table. This means that if your cable is not long enough to cover the distance between your computer and the switch, there is very little that can be done. TP does *not* work like coaxial - it is not possible to attach your computer to the computer next to you.

A TP cable has a connector like this in each end:

When buying one, make sure you are choosing a cable meant for connecting a computer to a switch. An 'X' or 'cross' cable (meant for connecting a switch to a switch or a computer to a computer) will not work.


The driver you will need for your card depends on what operating system you are running. This documents does not intend to cover all of them - those enlightened among us using *nix based OS's are expected to cope on their own.

But whatever your OS, this general rule applies:

Make sure to obtain and install the driver you need before coming to the party.

The partyplace is dark and loud, the guy next to you probably does not know anymore more about installing network drivers than you do and the NetCrew is busy and probably cannot get to you for a few hours. Trust me, you will be much happier if you already have the network card in your machine and the drivers properly installed when you arrive.

Installing a network driver into Windows

Plug'n'Play cards

Installing these should be trivial since Windows should detect them automatically. As a rule, it is always better to use the driver that came with the network card and not the one that came with Windows. Hence, when Windows boots up and gives the 'Windows has detected new hardware' window, always choose 'Have Disk' if you have it.

All reasonably recent cards should fall under this category.

Non-Plug'n'Play cards

These are a bit harder, and there really is no comprehensive way to describe the installation. We can give a few pointers though:

Try the 'Add New Hardware' option in 'Control Panel', and when prompted choose to let Windows search for the hardware.

If it does not work (which is usually the case with older network cards), make sure you know the exact make and model of your card in advance and try to find it from the list. Selecting a "well this is pretty close" usually does not do the trick, but if you cannot find your card you might as well try a close match. If you can browse the Internet, search the card manufacturer's website  for the proper driver.

Once you have the correct driver installed, it is time to make its settings match the ones for your network card. Again, there is no comprehensive way to do this. What you are trying to do is to change the driver settings in Windows to match your hardware's.

There are two ways to set the hardware settings. The older (better) way is using the dipswitches in the card itself. It may or may not be trivial to change the settings - some cards dipswitch settings are impossible to figure out without a manual.

If you are unlucky, your network card requires a 'special software' that is used to set the hardware settings. It usually only runs in DOS, and chances are that you do not have it and you cannot find it anywhere.

Before starting to fiddle with the hardware settings you should check whether you can use the ones that are set already. If you are lucky, there are no conflicts with any other hardware you have. Then all you will need to do is set the driver to use them. You can find  the hardware settings with the steps described above.

Usually, the IO address is wrong if Windows shows the network card as inoperational in 'Control Panel' / 'System'.

If Windows shows the card as operational, but network just does not work, you probably have the wrong IRQ.


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