A very high percentage of those interested in the BocaBoard are also interested in becoming Internet Service. Providers (ISPs). If you are one of them, please

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Installing Boca Card Mini-HOWTODavid H. Dennis david@amazing.com Joy Yokley – Converted document from HTML to DocBook v4.1 (SGML)2001-01-17Revision HistoryRevision 1.12001-01-17Revised by: JEYRevision 1.01997-07-08Revised by: DHDDescribes the basics of a Boca 16-port Serial Card (Boca 2016) used with Linux.

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Table of Contents1. Introduction..12. Warning..23. What do you need to install a BocaBoard?34. The Basic Procedure44.1. Recompiling the Kernel..44.2. Installing the Card..44.3. Telling Linux about Your Card45. Possible Problems..65.1. Additional Information and Service Comments.66. Acknowledgements..8Installing Boca Card Mini-HOWTOi

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1. IntroductionThis HOWTO is being maintained by David H Dennis, david@amazing.com, to try and help any otherindividuals who may have acquired a BocaBoard, stared at it and found out that it didn’t seem to do anything.A very high percentage of those interested in the BocaBoard are also interested in becoming Internet ServiceProviders (ISPs). If you are one of them, please feel free to drop by my web site, http://www.amazing.com,and check out my Inet-Access FAQ, over 9,000 lines detailing how to hook up to the net and how to makeyour Internet provider business succeed in these most interesting times.1. Introduction1

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2. WarningMulti-Port serial cards, such as the BocaBoard, are all but dead. If you are in business as an Internet ServiceProvider (ISP), you will not want to use any of these devices, because the new 56k modem standards will notsupport them. Instead, you need digital modem/terminal server combinations such as the Livingston PM3 ” ,Cisco 5200 ” or US Robotics Total Control “. Otherwise, you simply won’t be competitive in major markets.Users want high speeds; you won’t be able to provide them with a BocaBoard or other multi-port serial card.Even as a multi-port serial card, the BocaBoard is hopelessly obsolete. The overwhelming majority of peoplewho want to buy a BocaBoard would be better off getting a accelerated card such as the Cyclades” orRocketport”. (When last I looked, Rocketport” was a better board, but Cyclades” had the most stable kernelsupport). Accelerated cards use less of the CPU of your machine, and so you can support more ports percomputer with less performance degradation.That being said, perhaps you own one of these devices and want to make use of it, or perhaps you areplanning an ISP based on a low-cost business model that basically means the use of cast-off equipment fromothers. In that case, the information in this document should be useful for you. But again, I repeat: The personwho buys a new BocaBoard at this point probably needs a few more clues before starting his ISP or otherventure.2. Warning2

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4. The Basic Procedure4.1. Recompiling the KernelThe first step is to change your kernel so that it knows you have a BocaBoard. Unfortunately, this is not a partof the configure script; you must go in and modify the source by hand. In the older versions of the kernel, thisconsists of putting the following line at the beginning of linux/drivers/char/serial.c: #define CONFIG_BOCA 1As of some kernel version or another, this has changed. To make it work with newer kernels, search for the”BOCA_FLAGS” #definein serial.c, and change the value to#define BOCA_FLAGS ASYNC_BOOT_AUTOCONFYou can then recompile your kernel using the instructions included with the source tree. I recommendrunning the new kernel from a floppy until you’re very sure it works; otherwise, the procedure for gettingback your system is mind-numbing at best.At least to me, digging into my kernel and re-compiling it was quite a stressful venture! Relax; as long asyou copy it to a floppy, your new kernel is completely harmless. It won’t bite! Honest! :-)4.2. Installing the CardThe default address on both the card and the Linux software for the configuration is 0x100; leave that alone.Set the IRQ on the card to Linux default of 12. If you want to change the IRQ, you will have to search for”BOCA_FLAGS” in the file. You will find lines like this: { BASE_BAUD, 0x100, 12, BOCA_FLAGS }, /* ttyS16 */ { BASE_BAUD, 0x108, 12, BOCA_FLAGS }, /* ttyS17 */You can change the IRQ from 12 by changing the 12 to any valid IRQ. I have not tried this, however.4.3. Telling Linux about Your CardOnce you have compiled your new kernel, switch off the machine and install the card. Then, turn yourmachine on with the new kernel floppy in the drive. If the installation succeeded, you should see all sorts ofstrange stuff about 16550 UARTS being connected to ttyS16-ttyS32. The system will then come up normally.The odds are pretty good that you don’t actually have entries in /dev for those lines. Remember that theystart at 16 and go on to 32. If you look at the source code, you’ll see why; support for other cards is included4. The Basic Procedure4

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5. Possible ProblemsIf you have problems, you may find that this is due to conflicts between your BocaBoard and systems withdual IDE controllers. According to Kevin Traas:Is the kernel recognising the board? (i.e. Right at the start of the boot process, all sixteenports should be listed on screen with ttySxx, I/O Port, and IRQ identified.) Also, setserial-bg ttyS* should list *every* port in your system.By default, the BB2016 is configured to use IO Ports between 0100 and 017f. This createsproblems on systems with two IDE controllers. The second controller, ide1, uses 0170-0177which falls into this range. Big problems!!!So, the solution, in my cases, is to go with an IO base of 0200 through 027f. I haven’t hadany conflicts in this region; however, you may want to check you system to be sure. (run cat/proc/ioports – better run cat /proc/interrupts to make sure IRQ 12 isn’t used either.)Once you’ve found an IO range and IRQ that isn’t used, you’ll have to change the jumpers onthe BB2016 and edit /usr/src/linux/drivers/char/serial.c to reflect the newsettings. Then, compile the kernel and install as per normal.5.1. Additional Information and Service CommentsIf you want to use your new Boca card with any standard DB-25 RS232 connector, you will have to get aspecial breakout box, which costs about $80. The card itself comes with a breakout box that plugs into thecard through a truly formidable cable. It then supplies phone-like cables for the ports. The special $80 boxhas phone-like cables that plug into the breakout box included with the Boca card; you can then plug yourmodems or terminals into standard RS-232 connectors on the box. Unless you actually have a system thataccepts the phone-like connectors, you should add the price of the box to the cost of the card whencomparing it to other alternatives.I got my Boca 2016 card through a special wholesale deal that I don’t think many people will be able toreproduce. It was available quickly. However, the breakout box for RS-232 took about two weeks to ship.You should be aware of your need for this box before you acquire the card. The 2016 board was $235 and theadditional box was $79.95.I’ve heard that this breakout box is no longer available, and that now people just have special cables made.I’m not sure how you would go about doing this, though.Only one port of my first Boca 2016 worked. I called Boca, expecting to hear a long string of questions andadvice. When they said, “Linux? What’s that?” I feared the worst. However, upon hearing my actual problem,they cheerfully told me that the card was defective and I should send it back; full 5-year factory warranty,30-days exchange. I was struck by how cheery the lady was. It was as though they were expecting the worst,and very kindly making the most of it!I had my hardware guy exchange the card. Unfortunately, the cards were back-ordered and they took abouttwo more weeks to give me my new card. I have to say that I was quite annoyed at this, since I was anxiously5. Possible Problems6

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chomping at the bit to get this thing up and running.Some people have problems with ports past the first eight. I have tested my card up to port 11 and all theports appear to be working. Boca Research quality control may be lacking; I would recommend that peoplewith troubles with the card call Boca and deal with them directly. I suspect that if I’d exchanged the carddirectly through the factory I would have had better service than through my dealer. The factory people wereall quite nice and eager to please.Right now, I have only four phone lines. I bought the 16-port card for two reasons: because it has modemcontrol (unlike the smaller ones), and in anticipation of future expansion.Some additional information on this subject from Kevin Traas of Baan Business Systems”:BTW, I’ve used the BB2016 several times and found them to work really well under Linux.I’m extremely happy with them. They perform very well, are very inexpensive, and arereliable. They claim 115200 bps per port. I’ve got a unique situation whereby I’ve got twosystems with a PPP serial link between them. I’m running this link at 115200 and Iexperience almost 0% error rate (with hundreds of thousands of packets transmitted). Mynext step is to implement EQL and additional PPP links between the boxes to increase thebandwidth. We’ll see how it goes.One final note. Contrary to the suggestion in the HOWTO, I build my own cables for theBB2016 (they’ve got RJ ports on them). At first, I “dabbled” with RJ45-8 conductor plugs,but the BB2016 has RJ48-10 conductor jacks, so to get full modem support, I ended upgoing that route.I now run all 10 wires between the BB2016 and my modems. It works great! No problems,no regrets! The only initial problem I had was finding a source for RJ48 plugs, 10 conductorwire, and RJ48 to DB25 adapters. None of these are very cheap due to the low demand. Oh,yeah, and you need an RJ48 crimper as well.If you want, I can build these cables for you and send them to you. If you’re interested,e-mail me and I’ll let you know pricing, etc. I found building my own was cheaper than theadapter that is mentioned in the HOWTO – which I couldn’t find a source for anyway.I believe the adapter mentioned in this document is no longer being manufacturered, leaving cables such asyour own the only remaining way of connecting the device.Installing Boca Card Mini-HOWTO5. Possible Problems7

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6. AcknowledgementsKevin Traas has issued a helpful update to this FAQ that contains a major correction to the information onmknod. He is also standing in as a new source for cables for the device.The information here was obtained by begging many people for help. Unfortunately, I have forgotten theirnames due to a pressing need for disk space on my Netcom account. 🙁 Nonetheless, I thank them very muchfor their assistance when things looked blackest. This is my way of paying some of that back.6. Acknowledgements8

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