On-Line FlexNET Manual
by Tadd, KA2DEW
Under Construction. Last Modified
Thursday, December 17, 1998 07:28:09 PM EST
This project is being started on November 6, 1998. I expect to be 90%
complete by June 1999. Please check back often and e-mail me screen shots.
This is an attempt to capture all of FlexNET in a user manual. This manual is
supposed to support sysop, user, builder, and designer. If there is anything missing
in this manual, please send me e-mail including supporting screen captures. I will
be keeping a list of contributors so please include whatever moniker you want included in
Some issues and features of FlexNET cannot be tested without having equipment that I am
not likely to be able to reproduce. Enthusiasts of this project are welcome to send
me me screen captures, photographs, and text as necessary. I can do clean-up on text
if needed. Thanks for your support.
What is FlexNET?
FlexNET is software for building Amateur Radio packet networks. It lets hams
communicate over long distances through multiple radio link sites (nodes) to tie their
stations together and to ham operated server systems.
FlexNET is a product of and Copyright 1995 of Gunter
Jost of Darmstadt, Germany. Gunter is DK7WJ.
FlexNET implements a digital network of nodes where each node represents a point in the
network map. The purpose of FlexNET is to allow computers to commuicate with other
computers over distance. The intended use of FlexNET is to have a series of nodes,
each having a set of radios and located at discreat locations. The radios are used
to allow the FlexNET nodes to communicate with each other. User stations access the
FlexNET nodes via radio and then use FlexNET to connect them to destinations which can be
servers of various types, and other user stations.
FlexNET runs in a computer and connects RF modems and other devices together with
intelligent routing. A digital message packet can be received on one device and
routed out another device. Each device that a FlexNET computer uses to talk is
called a port. A port signifies a single pathway which can end at one or more other
FlexNET in 1998 can run in two different classes of computer. One class is the
Intel Personal Computer using Microsoft DOS as an operating system. The other class
is called the Rhein-Main-Network-Controller, or RMNC. The RMNC is a custom hardware
platform based on cards that plug into a passive backplane. Each card hs it's own
microprocessor with a single card that acts as a master.
The FlexNET system uses a modular driver system. Each kind of hardware port has
it's own driver program to control it. New hardware can be connected to the system
if a new driver is written and installed to handle it.
There are three significant ways a user experiences FlexNET. Let's take a case
where the user is in PA with a callsign of N3EIC. The user's local node is KA3NRJ.
The user wants to connect to his friend VE2BMQ in Vermont through the node VE2RM.
Major Software Features
When a user connects to a FlexNET node they get a welcome message if enabled, and then
The user may then enter one of many commands, some of which have parameters. The
node answers the command or connects the user to another station. Disconnecting from
the other station may reconnect the user back to the FlexNET node.
Important Notes/Application Notes
Connecting to a TheNET node from FlexNET
The TheNET node must have digipeating into the node and out of it allowed. This
is Mode 17 on TheNET X1J. Also it may require having digipeating through allowed.
This is Parm 23 on the TheNET X1J -- Gunter says this isn't true.