Update: 05/06/95 10:55 AM

ISDN: The Saga Continues

So far in this diary, I haven't posted two updates in one day. I hope to change that today. Because in this installment, I'm going to have to report that I still haven't been able to get my ISDN hookup working. But today, I'm planning a full frontal assault on the problem, and I'll definitely report back to you if that happens. (Just before I go out and get drunk.)

Here's the way I spent my day yesterday:

I had accepted the default of IRQ 3 for my network card -- which, I have come to realize, was a mistake, because that's the interrupt generally used by COM2. So I decided to set the card to a different interrupt.

Easy enough, you say.

Wrong! The Linksys Ether 16 LAN Card doesn't have hardware switches; instead you set the IRQ through a utility program that they provide.

Well, that's even better, you say.

Wrong again! The Linksys setup program, it seems, will run only under DOS. It will not run from a DOS box under Windows. (I've confirmed this with Linksys technical support, as well as by much trial and error.) And now that I've configured my PC for Windows NT, I can't boot DOS at all. Linksys suggested that I boot it from a DOS diskette (why didn't I think of that?), and that seemed like it was going to work, but when the program reached the point where it was actually going to update the configuration on the card, it crashed. (I just got off the phone with a friend who tells me that I need to add HIMEM.SYS to the CONFIG.SYS file on my DOS diskette, to give the setup program access to the memory it needs to operate. I'll give that a try after I post this report.)

So, if I can't configure the card on an NT machine, what should I do? Linksys suggested the obvious but dreaded solution: Take the card out of the NT machine, put it into a DOS machine, program it in the DOS machine, take it out of the DOS machine, and put it back in the NT machine. Fortunately, I have a DOS machine sitting here in the same room. Unfortunately, I hate messing with hardware. (Dammit, Jim, I'm a programmer, not a grease monkey!)

So, I put the Linksys card in the DOS machine and tried to configure it for IRQ 5 or IRQ 9. It wouldn't take either of them. It seems that I have other devices set to those interrupts in the DOS machine. So even though I'm not planning to use the card in my DOS machine, the Linksys setup program detects the conflict there and refuses to accept the setting.

Are you thoroughly confused by now?

Me too.

I did try one more thing: I figured that if my router was programmed correctly, and if my ISDN line is properly functioning, I should be able to ping the router through the Internet. But that didn't work either. (At least I'm consistent.)

A friend of mine who's a network consultant has volunteered to come over and help me out this afternoon. He says, with great confidence, that we will get it working. If he's wrong, my Internet service provider says that, if I can't figure it out by Monday, I can bring the PC and router down to his office and he'll set it up for me. For a small fee. I would consider that as admitting defeat -- but if I haven't been able to get it running by Monday, I'll probably take him up on his offer anyway.

Stay tuned. The best is yet to come.

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Hank Mishkoff (hank@webfeats.com)