Connecting an Amiga to the world

Steve is connecting an Amiga to the wider world - in this first instalment, by serial connection to a Pi, allowing for file transfer and for this very post to be composed on the Amiga…

…with the idea of perhaps setting up PPP and connecting to the internet, and perhaps even fitting an ethernet card. (I wonder if there will be difficulties with modern websites and encrypted connections? I used to use lynx daily but it was all http then, and most sites would work fine with text alone.)

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Although there are quite a few articles of Conneting Amiga to the net, most of them are completely non-standard incarnations of what an Amiga was. I use the MagPlip Parallel adapter - OR - my trusty SLIP->Wifi doofah.

(Surfing the net at 19200 baud is really sloooooooooooooooooooow)

I started this excercise with a 0.5Mb A500 - but that runs out of RAM when you load a TCP/IPstack and the MAGPlip drivers. Next I added another 512K … total of 1MB of RAM… that too loads the IP stack but no RAM left for anything else.

I now have Amiga 600 with 1.5Mb of RAM and even then the IP stack is pain. I am contemplating porting uIP to Amiga - or even a offloaded TCP/IP stack on another device. (but that is lots of work!)

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I’ve seen videos of some Aussie dude who still uses Amigas and 64s and connects them to the net.

The last browser I remember for the Amiga was called Voyager? Maybe?

Connecting to the Internet shouldn’t be too hard. Connecting to the (modern) web is a different story. But an awful lot can be done without a web browser, or possibly even with a text-only browser. I saw a recent discussion about this very subject on a mailing list. It was mentioned that there are still quite a few gopher sites – who woulda thunk it?

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I used to have an A2000 with a 286 bridgeboard, on which I got TCP/IP networking running with an ISA ethernet card and the software to allow the Amiga side to use it, along with AmiTCP 4.3. It was a bit limited but allowed me to transfer ADF files over FTP, a lot faster than a serial link. I seem to recall that Aminet was available by FTP at the time too, which was useful.

More recently I’ve used my A1200 with a PCMCIA ethernet card, and with an Orinoco PCMCIA wifi card. I’ve still got all of this stuff (I can’t even imagine selling it), but I’ve not touched it in a long time. I even have a box full of Orinoco cards, as I thought they might have value to Amiga users so I could sell some of them. They’re Orinoco Silver cards though, so they only support 64-bit WEP encryption, although I suppose it’s not too much of a hassle to set up a separate wifi network just for the Amiga.

The most recent thing I tried was copying ADF files to an A500 Plus over serial using a Dell netbook and a USB-serial adapter, but I never got it to work right. I’ve got several laptops with hardware serial ports, so I really should use one of those.

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Nice thought to make use of that PCMCIA slot, @Alex_Taylor!