Silent Q

Azog's little slice of the world. Whee.

Atari Falcon030 & NetUSBee Ethernet

Posted By on February 1, 2014

Lotharek, from whom I purchased his MiST computer, has started shipping his version of the NetUSBee and I finally got my hands on one. I’ve been waiting/wanting an Atari Ethernet adapter for some time, but finding one was not easy. There were several options but most of them have been out of production for several years. The designs for the NetUSBee were released for free, but getting those designs to finished project would have been cost-prohibitive for a single-shot run.

If you’re not familiar with the NetUSBee, it’s an Ethernet and USB adapter for the Atari ST class of computers. The Lotharek version was shipped with a nice enclosure:


The front jack is the Ethernet port and behind that are two USB ports. The USB is secondary to my goals, so I have not downloaded the drivers yet but the USB ports will will be useful for using a USB mouse, as the Atari brick mouse is hideous.


So first I’ll plug the cart into the Atari Falcon and attach an Ethernet cable to my router. Pay no attention to the flat ribbon cable that runs underneath; that is the cable to attach to the ScreenBlaster video enhancer. But you can see the Ethernet link light is active, which is always a good start.


For starters, I am going to play with the TOS version of things. Later I’ll try setting up the MiNT/MultiTOS version.

Software installation was marginally straight-forward. Download the STING archive from Lotharek’s site, which contains a number of files and folders (the screenshot is from 7ZIP on my PC but the files can be transferred directly to a PC formatted floppy and read on the Falcon):


For anyone familiar with TOS, the folder structure should be familiar:

  • The AUTO folder contains the TOS driver for the NetUSBee
  • CPX contains the X-Control panel applets used to configure the driver
  • STING contains the configuration files

There are other files but are not of immediate need. Once the files are copied to their proper location and the Falcon has been rebooted, the X-Control panel has several new applets.


Configuration is done with the STinG Port Setup. The others provide drivers for UDP, ICMP, etc, but should be OK as default. Opening STinG Port Setup let’s you choose the IP address and netmask. This screen shows a dropdown list of the other options STinG provides (Modem and LAN) which would be useful for using over a modem, such as SLIP (Serial Line IP) or PPP (Point to Point Protocol), which are the protocols we used back before Ethernet became ubiquitous. Behind the dropdown, but still visible, is the IP and netmask, It is important to make sure the Active box is enabled and the configuration is saved in the STING directory as STING.PRT.


In the same applet, select the General downdown for Ethernet, and it should show you the MAC address, which indicates everything is working. Again make sure the Active box is checked. If no MAC address appears, then something else is wrong. The NetUSBee does have the MAC on-board, so there’s no need to fudge a MAC address, but rather to stop and make sure the cart is inserted properly and the driver is loaded.


If your network IP scheme differs, you’ll probably have to edit the ROUTE.TAB file in the STING directory.

Once that is done, I rebooted the Falcon, but was not able to ping it. I don’t know why, but at this point, it was getting late, so I powered everything off and picked it up the next day. When I powered it back on, ping was working as expected. The ping times are not the best, especially considering I am on the same local Ethernet, but I guess that should be expected, all things considered.


Now that I know the basic IP transport is working, it’s time to try a web browser, in this case, the CAB browser. You need an overlay for CAB, which I found here. Even tho it says STiK, it’ll work for STinG. Going back 20 years in memory, I think STiK is the predecessor to STinG. Once I downloaded and extracted the CAB archive, and copied the OVL, I had to create a cache folder in the CAB directory. When you first start CAB, it asks for this, so create the cache dir first. Otherwise if you try to browse something, it won’t work.

So open a URL, here I chose the “retro” edition on Hack-A-Day. I don’t know if they’re still accepting submissions for this, but it was appropriate, and I’ll send it to them anyways.


There’s other software to be found, like mail or ftp clients which should be useful to download stuff directly to the Falcon, rather than using floppy disks.


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