On 7/31/22 4:46 PM, Rich Alderson via cctalk wrote:
What you have been describing, and what no one else
seems to have
twigged to, is what we called a TIP ("terminal interface processor")
or EtherTIP (because it sat directly on the 3Mbit/10Mbit Ethernet,
unlike the ARPANET TIPs that sat on a 56Kbit leased line). There were
dozens of these scattered across the Stanford campus when I arrived
there at the start of the autumn quarter.
I've not thought about the name "TIP" in a while. I'm used to
associating it as a command in SunOS / Solaris for accessing something
over the serial port.
But I've normally heard these types of things referred to as a "terminal
server". I believe that various makes & models of said terminal server
class devices have been recommended multiple times in this thread.
These were Cisco boxes (although they predated
'cisco Systems by a few
years) configured with one or more RS-232 interface cards which IIRC
supported 16 lines per card, and sat on the same Multibus backplane as
the SUN-1 processor board which ran the Cisco software (later called
"IOS") and the Ethernet interface card (which attached to the thicknet
cables with a vampire tap). Later versions, of course, used thinnet
(i.e. 10base2), and even later used 10baseT. The box was the same
as the Cisco routers with the addition of serial cards.
Maybe I should allocate a Round Tuit to researching old historic Cisco.
The user sitting at the dumb terminal typed a carriage
return, the TIP
woke up, and the user saw a prompt for a hostname on the command line.
(Other commands were available, but the default was to treat any
unrecognized command as a hostname.) The TIP would then open a telnet
connection to the specified host, and the user would do whatever she
wanted to on the remote box.
This is still the behavior that I see on Cisco routers. 2500, 2600,
You can probably easily re-create this behavior over the AUX port and /
or asynchronous serial interfaces in the router, e.g. 16 port NM.
Cisco still (I think) sells TIP-style boxes, although
generally based on Catalyst designs, since Cisco's engineers were
more concerned with making better routers after a while. You should
be able to find a relatively inexpensive Catalyst type box on ePay.
Put it on your LAN, hook your dumb terminal to it, and Robert's your
male parental sibling.
I'd be afraid that such a traditional terminal server would be
physically larger than desired and may cost more than something like an
older Raspberry Pi, et al. Depending on the fans, there's a good chance
that it would make more noise too.
Grant. . . .
unix || die