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+PLIP: The Parallel Line Internet Protocol Device
+
+Donald Becker (becker@super.org)
+I.D.A. Supercomputing Research Center, Bowie MD 20715
+
+At some point T. Thorn will probably contribute text,
+Tommy Thorn (tthorn@daimi.aau.dk)
+
+PLIP Introduction
+-----------------
+
+This document describes the parallel port packet pusher for Net/LGX.
+This device interface allows a point-to-point connection between two
+parallel ports to appear as a IP network interface.
+
+What is PLIP?
+=============
+
+PLIP is Parallel Line IP, that is, the transportation of IP packages
+over a parallel port. In the case of a PC, the obvious choice is the
+printer port. PLIP is a non-standard, but [can use] uses the standard
+LapLink null-printer cable [can also work in turbo mode, with a PLIP
+cable]. [The protocol used to pack IP packages, is a simple one
+initiated by Crynwr.]
+
+Advantages of PLIP
+==================
+
+It's cheap, it's available everywhere, and it's easy.
+
+The PLIP cable is all that's needed to connect two Linux boxes, and it
+can be built for very few bucks.
+
+Connecting two Linux boxes takes only a second's decision and a few
+minutes' work, no need to search for a [supported] netcard. This might
+even be especially important in the case of notebooks, where netcards
+are not easily available.
+
+Not requiring a netcard also means that apart from connecting the
+cables, everything else is software configuration [which in principle
+could be made very easy.]
+
+Disadvantages of PLIP
+=====================
+
+Doesn't work over a modem, like SLIP and PPP. Limited range, 15 m.
+Can only be used to connect three (?) Linux boxes. Doesn't connect to
+an existing Ethernet. Isn't standard (not even de facto standard, like
+SLIP).
+
+Performance
+===========
+
+PLIP easily outperforms Ethernet cards....(ups, I was dreaming, but
+it *is* getting late. EOB)
+
+PLIP driver details
+-------------------
+
+The Linux PLIP driver is an implementation of the original Crynwr protocol,
+that uses the parallel port subsystem of the kernel in order to properly
+share parallel ports between PLIP and other services.
+
+IRQs and trigger timeouts
+=========================
+
+When a parallel port used for a PLIP driver has an IRQ configured to it, the
+PLIP driver is signaled whenever data is sent to it via the cable, such that
+when no data is available, the driver isn't being used.
+
+However, on some machines it is hard, if not impossible, to configure an IRQ
+to a certain parallel port, mainly because it is used by some other device.
+On these machines, the PLIP driver can be used in IRQ-less mode, where
+the PLIP driver would constantly poll the parallel port for data waiting,
+and if such data is available, process it. This mode is less efficient than
+the IRQ mode, because the driver has to check the parallel port many times
+per second, even when no data at all is sent. Some rough measurements
+indicate that there isn't a noticeable performance drop when using IRQ-less
+mode as compared to IRQ mode as far as the data transfer speed is involved.
+There is a performance drop on the machine hosting the driver.
+
+When the PLIP driver is used in IRQ mode, the timeout used for triggering a
+data transfer (the maximal time the PLIP driver would allow the other side
+before announcing a timeout, when trying to handshake a transfer of some
+data) is, by default, 500usec. As IRQ delivery is more or less immediate,
+this timeout is quite sufficient.
+
+When in IRQ-less mode, the PLIP driver polls the parallel port HZ times
+per second (where HZ is typically 100 on most platforms, and 1024 on an
+Alpha, as of this writing). Between two such polls, there are 10^6/HZ usecs.
+On an i386, for example, 10^6/100 = 10000usec. It is easy to see that it is
+quite possible for the trigger timeout to expire between two such polls, as
+the timeout is only 500usec long. As a result, it is required to change the
+trigger timeout on the *other* side of a PLIP connection, to about
+10^6/HZ usecs. If both sides of a PLIP connection are used in IRQ-less mode,
+this timeout is required on both sides.
+
+It appears that in practice, the trigger timeout can be shorter than in the
+above calculation. It isn't an important issue, unless the wire is faulty,
+in which case a long timeout would stall the machine when, for whatever
+reason, bits are dropped.
+
+A utility that can perform this change in Linux is plipconfig, which is part
+of the net-tools package (its location can be found in the
+Documentation/Changes file). An example command would be
+'plipconfig plipX trigger 10000', where plipX is the appropriate
+PLIP device.
+
+PLIP hardware interconnection
+-----------------------------
+
+PLIP uses several different data transfer methods. The first (and the
+only one implemented in the early version of the code) uses a standard
+printer "null" cable to transfer data four bits at a time using
+data bit outputs connected to status bit inputs.
+
+The second data transfer method relies on both machines having
+bi-directional parallel ports, rather than output-only ``printer''
+ports. This allows byte-wide transfers and avoids reconstructing
+nibbles into bytes, leading to much faster transfers.
+
+Parallel Transfer Mode 0 Cable
+==============================
+
+The cable for the first transfer mode is a standard
+printer "null" cable which transfers data four bits at a time using
+data bit outputs of the first port (machine T) connected to the
+status bit inputs of the second port (machine R). There are five
+status inputs, and they are used as four data inputs and a clock (data
+strobe) input, arranged so that the data input bits appear as contiguous
+bits with standard status register implementation.
+
+A cable that implements this protocol is available commercially as a
+"Null Printer" or "Turbo Laplink" cable. It can be constructed with
+two DB-25 male connectors symmetrically connected as follows:
+
+ STROBE output 1*
+ D0->ERROR 2 - 15 15 - 2
+ D1->SLCT 3 - 13 13 - 3
+ D2->PAPOUT 4 - 12 12 - 4
+ D3->ACK 5 - 10 10 - 5
+ D4->BUSY 6 - 11 11 - 6
+ D5,D6,D7 are 7*, 8*, 9*
+ AUTOFD output 14*
+ INIT output 16*
+ SLCTIN 17 - 17
+ extra grounds are 18*,19*,20*,21*,22*,23*,24*
+ GROUND 25 - 25
+* Do not connect these pins on either end
+
+If the cable you are using has a metallic shield it should be
+connected to the metallic DB-25 shell at one end only.
+
+Parallel Transfer Mode 1
+========================
+
+The second data transfer method relies on both machines having
+bi-directional parallel ports, rather than output-only ``printer''
+ports. This allows byte-wide transfers, and avoids reconstructing
+nibbles into bytes. This cable should not be used on unidirectional
+``printer'' (as opposed to ``parallel'') ports or when the machine
+isn't configured for PLIP, as it will result in output driver
+conflicts and the (unlikely) possibility of damage.
+
+The cable for this transfer mode should be constructed as follows:
+
+ STROBE->BUSY 1 - 11
+ D0->D0 2 - 2
+ D1->D1 3 - 3
+ D2->D2 4 - 4
+ D3->D3 5 - 5
+ D4->D4 6 - 6
+ D5->D5 7 - 7
+ D6->D6 8 - 8
+ D7->D7 9 - 9
+ INIT -> ACK 16 - 10
+ AUTOFD->PAPOUT 14 - 12
+ SLCT->SLCTIN 13 - 17
+ GND->ERROR 18 - 15
+ extra grounds are 19*,20*,21*,22*,23*,24*
+ GROUND 25 - 25
+* Do not connect these pins on either end
+
+Once again, if the cable you are using has a metallic shield it should
+be connected to the metallic DB-25 shell at one end only.
+
+PLIP Mode 0 transfer protocol
+=============================
+
+The PLIP driver is compatible with the "Crynwr" parallel port transfer
+standard in Mode 0. That standard specifies the following protocol:
+
+ send header nibble '0x8'
+ count-low octet
+ count-high octet
+ ... data octets
+ checksum octet
+
+Each octet is sent as
+ <wait for rx. '0x1?'> <send 0x10+(octet&0x0F)>
+ <wait for rx. '0x0?'> <send 0x00+((octet>>4)&0x0F)>
+
+To start a transfer the transmitting machine outputs a nibble 0x08.
+That raises the ACK line, triggering an interrupt in the receiving
+machine. The receiving machine disables interrupts and raises its own ACK
+line.
+
+Restated:
+
+(OUT is bit 0-4, OUT.j is bit j from OUT. IN likewise)
+Send_Byte:
+ OUT := low nibble, OUT.4 := 1
+ WAIT FOR IN.4 = 1
+ OUT := high nibble, OUT.4 := 0
+ WAIT FOR IN.4 = 0