SUMMARY: SS10 and thinnet?

From: John Benjamins (
Date: Wed Oct 21 1992 - 22:57:14 CDT

Thank you for the swift, informative and plain helpful answers.

On Oct 19, 12:23pm, I had written:
} Subject: SS10 and thinnet?
} Hello sun-managers,
} We've just received our first SPARCstation 10 and SURPRISE! No thicknet
} or thinnet, just TPE. Unfortunately, the net that it has to be
} installed on is thinnet only. There is a AUI port, but I need to
} order an "AUI Adapter Cable". I called up the Microcomputer Centre on
} campus here who handles our Sun orders, and was told the cable is
} $400(!) I cannot believe that the cable is $400, that's an outrageous
} price. Can anyone confirm the price for this cable?
} If it really is that expensive, what other options do I have?
} If I do go with the AUI adapter cable, I still need one of the little
} $90 thick to thin transceivers. I think it would be cheaper to get
} an Sbus enet card, and plug that in to get onto the thinnet with the
} least amount of money.
} Is there a box that I can get that will allow me to connect from the
} TPE port to thinnet?
} How have others dealt with this problem?
}-- End of excerpt of Oct 19, 12:23pm

First, just to clear things up, the AUI port on the SS10 is NOT a
standard thick ethernet port (e.g. on the SPARCstation 1). The AUI
port on the SS10 is a micro-D connector, and is provided for the
speakerbox. To use the SS10's AUI port for thick ethernet, you must
buy an adapter cable which plugs into the SS10 and gives you a port to
plug in the speakerbox and a port for thick ethernet. You still need
the little thick to thin transceiver on the end of the adapter cable
to get to thinnet.

On this note, Mark Holm, <>, wrote:
} I passed your request passed our local sales rep, and here was his reply.
} Forwarded message:
}> From: dennis.hartvickson@nosun.West.Sun.COM (Dennis Hartvickson - PDX Sales)
}> To:
}> Subject: Re: SS10 and thinnet? (fwd)
}> Boy do they have the wrong info. Sun decided to make 10BaseT the default
}> ethernet connection because that is what customers told us they wanted.
}> There is access to an AUI port which of course gives you thick or thin
}> ethernet with a transceiver. The adapter cable you need to do this is
}> part number X987A and it is 75.00 category B. You will still need a
}> transceiver for thin net use but this is all alot less than the 500.00
}> or so that the email you sent me mentions.
}> By the way, the second ethernet adapter for a SS10 is a combo card that
}> has SCSI and buffered ethernet on it for 1095.00. The SCSI I/F is the new
}> 10MB per second style and is part number X1053A. It is a category A item.
}> It requires Solaris 1.1 (SunOS 4.1.3) and it will work in SS2, IPC, and
}> IPX as well.
}> Hope this helps. Please feel free to post this to the net.
}> Dennis Hartvickson
}> Sun Portland

Also from Glenn Satchell, <ups!upstage!>:
} This is an email we got through the Sun sales-channels on this very
} subject. The price mentioned is in Australian dollars (currently
} $US0.72 = $AUS1.00). Your price will probably be about half I'd say.
} Hope this helps.
}> re: SparcStation 10 and Ethernet Connections.
}> Please read and be aware of the following:
}> 1) The Sparcstation 10 as supplied on part nos. S10xx-xx-xx-xx can be
}> connected directly to a twisted-pair ethernet ONLY. It cannot be
}> connected directly to a thick- or thin-ethernet.
}> 2) To connect to a thick- or thin-ethernet you must order as an additional
}> part the cable that breaks out both the audio *and* the ethernet AUI
}> from the motherboard connector. The part no. is X987A.
}> 3) An alternative to purchasing the breakout cable is to buy a twisted-pair
}> to thick- (or thin-) ethernet transceiver. These generally cost
}> substantially more than the $145 list for the breakout cable.

The consensus is that the person I spoke with is wrong when quoting a
figure like $400 for this cable, and that the part (part no. X987A)
lists for US$75.

Ian MacPhedran,, wrote:
} I don't have personal experience with the SS10, but another site on campus
} got the twisted pair to thick connector for $55. The thickwire to thinwire
} adaptor from Sun (which includes a long transceiver cable and coax chunk
} as well as the box which converts from thick to thin) is $390. It may be
} the latter product your store was thinking of.

This sounds like the best explanation for what I heard initially (they
have since recanted).

One popular solution was to buy one of the multiport TPE boxes (or
10Base-T hubs), and then all the subsequent SS10 (and NeXT's, etc.)
could use that. I will suggest that this be included in future plans
here. This is only our first SS10, and there will be more:-)

I was also told that Sun has a twisted pair to thinnet converter
product (part number SUNX-MIL-120A, cost $275). This is, I assume a
repeater (that someone else mentioned as well) and can be ordered from
SunExpress (800-873-7869).

Jonathan Corbet <corbet@stout.atd.ucar.EDU>, wrote:
} I too thought about putting in an sbus board just to get the damn machine
} on the net. Sun thought of that one too...the cheap board doesn't work in
} those machines. You need to buy the more expensive SCSI/ethernet board to
} go in the SS10. Ah yes, and it only does twisted pair.

And from Wyllys Ingersoll, (reagan!
} BTW, did you find it annoying that they changed the mounting brackets for
} SBus cards so that you have to modify the face plates on old style cards
} to make them fit in a SS10 ? It is fine for Sun manufactured boards because
} they have a removable piece attached to the face plate, but some 3rd party
} boards do not, this is a MAJOR inconvenience as you either have to remove the
} plate completely (and have it dangle in the slot) or get a new face plate
} from the vendor. Once again, I feel that Sun is rudely turning its back on
} long-time customers and forcing these annoying minor "enhancements" on us.

I actually tried this. I have an IPC with an Sbus e-net interface
that is not currently in use, so I took it out of the IPC and tried to
put into the SS10. I managed to remove part of the plate, and with a
little prodding got the card installed. I booted the machine up, but
the system won't use the card. The complaint is something like:
"le1: unsupported S-bus device" and you can't connect to the network,
although ifconfig says it's up, and configured correctly.

I got this from Tim Evans (
} Inmac's AUI <-> Twisted Pair convertors are $595; Twisted Pair <->
} Thinnet are $395; AUI <-> thinnet are $695.
} All these prices are from vendor catalogs, and are list prices.
} Discounts may be available, but my catalogs may or may not be up
} to date.

Other sources for cables, etc., from patti stirk (
} Try calling this place for the adaptor cable: NuData @ 908.842.5757
} Also try Sun Express: 800.872.4786

} TransCast (dunno their number) makes a TPE-to-ThinNet converter unit.
} Misco (800/333-5640, FAX 908/264-8324) sells it for $295.
} Misco Cat. #GT0454, "Twister UTP/Coax Converter".
} Black Box (412/746-5500, FAX 800/321-0746) also sells it for $295.
} Black Box Cat. #GD-LE610A, "Coax/Twisted-Pair Converter".
} [Steep prices, but perhaps a step in the right direction.]
} For a few dollars more, you can get a regular TPE multi-port repeater
} with BNC jack for connection to a ThinNet trunk, e.g., this one made by
} Intellicom (dunno their number, either) and sold by Misco for $375:
} Misco Cat. #GT0624, "6-Port 10-Base-T Hub" (6 RJ45 ports,
} 1 BNC port, per-port status lights, automatic partitioning...)
} These should be worst-case prices: you'll probably get a better deal
} direct from the manufacturer or from another vendor.

Many thanks to the following for their replies: (walt klingenberg)
        Stefan Mochnacki <>
        Tom Conroy <trc@NSD.3Com.COM>
        pln@egret1.Stanford.EDU (Patrick L. Nolan)
        Jim Lick <>
        Bobby Bodenheimer <> (Ian MacPhedran) (Bruce Cogan) (J. Matt Landrum)
        Jay Plett <> (Doug Neuhauser)
        Jonathan Corbet <corbet@stout.atd.ucar.EDU> (Mark Holm) (System Administrator)
        Tom Hutton <>
        Claus Assmann <>
        ups!upstage! (Glenn Satchell) (Peter Baumann)
        Larry Chin <>
        John R. Kilheffer <>
        reagan! (Wyllys Ingersoll) (Tim Evans) (patti stirk)
        Ron (Tom Poage) (Kevin Hobson) (Oran Davis)
        Matthew SAMS <>
        Bob Hoffman <> (Fabrice Guerini) (Harold Ravlin) (Randy garrett)
        Todd Pfaff <todd@flex1.Eng.McMaster.CA>

 //  E. John Benjamins -- <>
\\ "The Reform Party's reasons to vote NO are also good reasons to vote YES!"

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