ObsoNET vs DenYoNet vs GR8NET?

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Door Lynn

Rookie (30)

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02-06-2019, 21:40

Recently I've wanted to connect my MSX2 to the network, so I've been looking around a bit, and it seems like my options are:

- ObsoNET (can be built with info available online)
- DenYoNet (unavailable online as far as I can tell)
- GR8NET (not directly buyable online, and very expensive from what I hear).

As I know someone that is able to help me build hardware (and willing to), ObsoNET is fairly tempting -- there's just one thing I'm worried about: compatibility. Do DenYoNet/GR8NET offer or support anything that ObsoNET doesn't? Purely network wise -- I know GR8NET has lots of extra features but that goes beyond the scope of this question ^^;

of course, if someone is able to sell me an DenYoNet for a reasonable price, I'd be tempted, too ^^

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Van OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1270)

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02-06-2019, 22:49

get a gr8net

i bet you can find it here

Van MicroTech

Champion (384)

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03-06-2019, 10:34

I'm also interested in buying an ethernet card, but I'm not very expert, hence my questions:
1) which of these network adapters is supported by TCP/IP UNAPI?
2) which of these network adapters is supported by an MSX emulator?
Thanks

Van Meits

Scribe (5404)

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03-06-2019, 11:52

I'd say Gr8net as well. It's an all in package. It went a bit over the top imho, but you can get going with it with having the cartridge only. Most you might need is built in.
I'm not a big networking expert, but every time I read about them three in one article, DenYoNet scored third place.
If you don't want to spend too much on one Gr8net + shipping (yes, it will cost you some) I do have an Obsonet 1.0 lying around here which is in the "I sell this for a friend" basket. I've checked the price list but it says no price, so I'd need to ask.

Van edoz

Prophet (2156)

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03-06-2019, 12:47

yes. GR8NET support is very good. So i will suggest that one! as a bonus you get much more with gr8net.

Van Grauw

Enlighted (8084)

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03-06-2019, 15:18

Afaik the difference between ObsoNET on one hand and DenYoNet / GR8NET on the other hand is that the networking chip on the latter two (the W5100) also provides hardware accelerated TCP/IP support.

There are two UNAPI specifications: Ethernet UNAPI and TCP/IP UNAPI. ObsoNET only implements the Ethernet UNAPI, so you need to run InterNestor Lite separately to install the TCP/IP UNAPI stack. For DenYoNet and GR8NET both the Ethernet UNAPI and TCP/IP UNAPI are built-in.

How much benefit that hardware accelerated TCP/IP stack of the WD5100 gives I don’t know, if there are big differences in terms of performance or memory usage. But in principle you should be able to use the TCP/IP UNAPI with all networking hardware and software, so I think in the end any interface that you can get your hands on will do just fine Smile.

I have an ObsoNET and GR8NET myself. I got ObsoNET from TecnoBytes (named “MSX Ethernet”), and GR8NET from Eugeny Brychkov. DenYoNet is extremely hard to find nowadays. ObsoNET was fairly cheap and at the time the only option, but shipping from Brazil added cost. GR8NET is more full-featured and I think currently the most readily available.

Van MicroTech

Champion (384)

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04-06-2019, 10:53

Thanks for your feedback, very useful Wink

Van Lynn

Rookie (30)

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04-06-2019, 17:31

Grauw wrote:

Afaik the difference between ObsoNET on one hand and DenYoNet / GR8NET on the other hand is that the networking chip on the latter two (the W5100) also provides hardware accelerated TCP/IP support.

I'm kinda wondering what "accelerated" means in this case; i.e. which tasks the accelerated chip performs that the other doesn't.

Grauw wrote:

There are two UNAPI specifications: Ethernet UNAPI and TCP/IP UNAPI. ObsoNET only implements the Ethernet UNAPI, so you need to run InterNestor Lite separately to install the TCP/IP UNAPI stack.

I assume this means running InterNestor Lite on every boot (or whenever I intend to use it)?

Grauw wrote:

How much benefit that hardware accelerated TCP/IP stack of the WD5100 gives I don’t know, if there are big differences in terms of performance or memory usage.

I'd be interested to know how much of a difference it makes, if that somehow can be measured.

Van konamiman

Paladin (1019)

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04-06-2019, 18:25

Lynn wrote:

I'm kinda wondering what "accelerated" means in this case; i.e. which tasks the accelerated chip performs that the other doesn't.

With ObsoNET, the Z80 in your MSX does all the TCP/IP processing. With DenyoNet et al, the TCP/IP processing is done by specialized hardware that is way, way faster than the Z80. It's as simple as that. Smile

Lynn wrote:

I assume this means running InterNestor Lite on every boot (or whenever I intend to use it)?

Correct. You install it once after boot, and then you have it running in background.

Lynn wrote:

I'd be interested to know how much of a difference it makes, if that somehow can be measured.

I did some benchmarking many years ago and while I don't remember the figures, I can tell you that the difference in speed is directly noticeable even without comparing numbers.

Van Grauw

Enlighted (8084)

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04-06-2019, 23:27

Konamiman, do you know why there would be such a speed difference? In principle IP and TCP only add headers around the payload and require a bit more bookkeeping. Is the payload copied to a new buffer for each network layer or something?

Van ducasp

Resident (58)

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05-06-2019, 17:44

I believe that this is not so simple on a 3.58MHz 8 bit z80, it has to interpret each packet, send proper responses, close receiving window, etc... Not having to send and receive ACKs and errors and deal with all those flows can make things run a lot faster and avoid lots of small data parsing and response queueing.

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