IMPORTANT: Using an improper driver can cause problems that are not immediately apparent! If you are not the application provider (OEM), you should consult with your application provider to find out which driver is appropriate for your use. Our drivers should only be used if specifically required for driver support — either as a tool for software engineers or if directed by an application provider. Using our drivers when unnecessary can lead to a driver conflict that could be difficult to resolve! Please read the information below.
Most of our downloadable drivers for ARCNET Network Interface Modules (NIMs) consist of several files compressed into one self-extracting ZIP file. Several types of drivers are available for download, each with specific characteristics. Various factors determine which type is needed in a particular situation.
Our Technical Notes provide detailed driver information beyond the following brief remarks that should be read before choosing an option.
This is essentially a packet driver – allowing communication by raw packets having no protocol encapsulation. Each null-stack driver ZIP file includes a programmer guide and sample Windows application written in C. In Windows 95/98/ME, the enabler must be installed before the null-stack driver is used. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Device Manager will not list the null-stack driver as a network adapter, but as a multipurpose adapter with a gray diamond icon.
NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification)
An NDIS driver allows a single network interface module (NIM) to support multiple network protocols and normally requires the use of a standard protocol such as TCP/IP or IPX/SPX. When the NDIS driver is properly installed, Windows Device Manager will list it as a network adapter with the standard icon.
Enabler (Only for use with Windows 95/98/ME)
An enabler is not truly a communications driver. It is a simple driver which allows Windows 95/98/ME to allocate resources to a NIM. After resources are assigned, further driver functionality must be provided by other software, typically supplied by the application provider. As with the Null-Stack driver, Device Manager will not list the enabler as a network adapter, but as a multipurpose adapter with the gray diamond icon.
Note: The enabler allows a DOS or 16-bit-mode driver to communicate with the COM20020/22 located on our cards — but for a PCI20 which is sharing an interrupt with another device, the application or driver could have problems when interrupts occur.
ODI (Open Data-Link Interface)
Although mostly for Novell systems, ODI drivers work with various versions of Windows and allow the protocol stack to be separate from the actual NIM driver. Most ODI drivers run in Real Mode whereas NDIS 3.0 and greater drivers run in Enhanced or Protected Mode. Thus, an ODI driver is usually limited to use with Win95/98/ME or DOS. As with the NDIS driver, Device Manager will list an ODI driver as a network adapter with the standard icon.