• Hello, Guest! Welcome back, and be sure to check out this post for more info about the recent service interruption and migration.

Mac IIci & Etherlink/NB - trouble getting Ethernet to work

Hi everyone,

lucky me - I got a 3com Etherlink/NB card for my Mac IIci from a kind soul! Finally being able to connecting it to the world! Unfortunately, the latter doesn't seem to work so easily. Here's the trouble:

  • I installed the card. Connected a AUI <-> RJ-45 adapter at the back. Plugged the RJ-45 ethernet cable of my home network. (tested and it works)
  • Booted into System 7.5.3 on the IIci.
  • Opening the TCP control panel. Setting connection to "Alternate Ethernet" & "using DHCP server".
  • Next opening "Apple Talk". Switching from "Printer Port" to "Alternate Ethernet". And getting this error:



alternate-ethernet-error.jpg.05e8ec7076c3fb3fd47302703cce85a3.jpg


My TCP/IP settings look like this:

tcp-ip.jpg.965c3659b3ab7c422f96b325d64a7068.jpg


I've tried thus far:

- reseating the card in another Nubus slot

- updating Open Transport from 1.1 -> 1.1.2

- exchanging the AUI to RJ-45 adapter for another one

- installing drivers for the 3com card from here (though the card is supposed to be plug & play with system 7)

The card looks fine from the outside, no visible damage / corrosion.

I'm clueless as to what I could try next. Neither Google nor forums search turned up anything helpful on that generic error message.

Any way I could get a more detailed error reporting?

Anyone else here ran into this trouble or has an idea as to what I might try?

 

Iamanamma

Well-known member
FWIW, I know you said you checked your ethernet cable and are sure it works, BUT IIRC, very old ethernet was fussy...really fussy...and sometimes would only work with a "crossover" cable.  Auto-switching wasn't a thing at the very beginning, and we had to buy specific crossover cables for the few Macs we weren't plugging into outlets wired to the hub or plugging directly into our patch panel.  If you are plugging directly from your Mac into your ethernet device, this could be the issue. 

 

CuriosTiger

Member
Who makes your network card? Do you have the right drivers? Apple bundled drivers in System 7.5 for some, but not all.

 

slipperygrey

Well-known member
Since there aren't many traces online about using these 3Com Nubus cards, I wanted to share my own success story. I picked up one of these in untested condition from Apple Rescue of Denver. To make a long story short: I works perfectly with stock Apple software on an original Macintosh II.

Hardware:
  • Macintosh II with 4MB RAM
  • 3Com EtherLink/NB Rev B
  • AUI to 10BaseT transceiver by Transition Engineering
  • 10BaseT hub by Netgear (EN104TP) set to uplink mode to bridge with my gigabit router
Software:
  • System 7.1 Pro
  • Apple Network Software 1.5.1
  • MacTCP 2.1 (unofficial patch)
With all this set up, switching to EtherTalk in the Network control panel brings AppleTalk over Ethernet online. In MacTCP, configuring Ethernet with manual IP assignment lets it speak to the broader internet (DHCP doesn't work).

As this is a stock original Mac II, it's not capable to run later Mac OS versions or Open Transport, so I cannot comment on compatibility with those. But I think this is a very good indicator that these cards, if functional, work out of the box with the "traditional" Mac network stack, at the very least!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4281.jpg
    IMG_4281.jpg
    1.3 MB · Views: 6
Last edited:

gcp

Active member
Hi everyone,

lucky me - I got a 3com Etherlink/NB card for my Mac IIci from a kind soul! Finally being able to connecting it to the world! Unfortunately, the latter doesn't seem to work so easily. Here's the trouble:

I don't have any answers, but a few things you can try. And for what it's worth, I had a NuBus ethernet card that I could absolutely not get working on a IIci, with 7.1, or 7.5.x. Problems went away when I switched to a different card. (I'll double check in the morning; I think the one I had trouble with was an Asanté, not 3com).

I couldn't see your image attachments, so not sure what errors you are seeing, but here are a few things to try.

1) Try setting a manual configuration rather than DHCP. That will rule out a whole bunch of possible problems.

2) Are you getting a link light between the card (or transceiver rather), and whatever you are plugging it into? If not, do you have other, older device to plug into (inserting another switch into the topology if necessary)? Try to find something that will play nice at 10baseT speeds. You can also try to force the link to 10baseT at the other end - auto negotiation with some of the very old 10baseT only devices doesn't always work.

3) Along the lines of the above - you could use something like this [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I92T754/] to handle the 10 megabit negotiation *and* bridge to your wifi.. I have one of those guys configured as a bridge and it's super handy to be able to get my old machines online without running a wire.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
In my experience, the prevalence of old Macs that have trouble negotiating a link on >10MbE is really low. Like, vanishingly uncommon and almost all of the problems are in NuBus (and maybe SE?) ethernet cards that.... can be replaced. I'm not aware of any onboard mac ethernet with these problem.

If anyone has any info on the cards that are known for sure to have this problem we could start putting together a wiki article.

you could use something like this [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I92T754/] to handle the 10 megabit negotiation *and* bridge to your wifi

How are you handling the 10 megabit negotiation on it? Are the ports configurable like it was a managed switch or does it "Just work :)" which would imply that your machine/cards don't actually have the problem.
 

gcp

Active member
How are you handling the 10 megabit negotiation on it? Are the ports configurable like it was a managed switch or does it "Just work :)" which would imply that your machine/cards don't actually have the problem.

You can indeed configure the ports to 10 megabit.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Very nice -- great to hear. I've seen those types of travel routers (maybe even those specific ones) suggested a handful of times before, seems like a really useful category of device.
 

gcp

Active member
I had a NuBus ethernet card that I could absolutely not get working on a IIci, with 7.1, or 7.5.x.
Just went digging through my box of parts; looks like the card I was unable to get working with a IIci was an Asanté; part number 09-00061-00. I wouldn't say I did an exhaustive search for resolutions, but it gave me trouble.
 
Top