Hubs on a NIC (was:Re: what about 48 bits?)

Joe Greco jgreco at
Wed Apr 7 10:03:16 CDT 2010

> On Wednesday 07 April 2010 07:18:57 am Joe Greco wrote:
> > To me, this is a Dilbert-class engineering failure.  I would imagine that
> > if you could implement a hub on the network card, the same chip(s) would
> > work in an external tin can with a separate power supply.  Designing a
> > product that actually exhibits a worse failure mode than 10base2 is ...
> > strange to me.
> I have in my gear museum a fairly large box with a couple of this type of 'hub 
> on a card' installed.  And in this particular case, it made perfect sense, as 
> the box is an Evergreen Systems CAPserver, and has 16 486 single-board 
> computers tied to two 8-port hub cards (two ports on each modular plug, too), 
> with....wait for it... a 10Base-2 uplink.  These were used mostly for remote 
> network access and remote desktop access.
> If you want more data on this old and odd box, see 
> I can see a hub card being useful in an old NetWare server setting, though, 
> since if the server went down you might as well not have a network in the first 
> place, in that use case.

Certainly.  I can come up with a bunch of reasonable-use scenarios too,
but most of the people here will have run into that awful situation where
a product is used in a manner that isn't "Recommended".

In this case, I know that some of these cards were marketed in the same
manner that workgroup hubs/switches are marketed; you would daisy-chain
these stupid things so that your PC would feed the cubes right around you
and then have an uplink and downlink a few cubes to the next "hub".

Remember, it was this strange time when people were uncertain about how 
networks were going to evolve, and what the next thing would be, and
even then, 10baseT was being deployed over Cat3 (sometimes recycled/
repurposed), so any sort of "enabling" gadget such as these cards had a
tendency to be abused in various ways.

Two ports on each modular plug, though.... (shudder)  ;-)

... JG
Joe Greco - Network Services - Milwaukee, WI -
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.

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