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Even the slowest DOS machines dating back to the early 1980s can do the following once networked: Almost every old machine can use floppy disks or the serial port for data transfer and for a machine that is rarely used that is all you need.But if you enable networking you get the following advantages: Using a home network cuts down on your time "doing the floppy shuffle" and saves wear and tear on your system. Being realistic, you are not going to want to use DOS to surf the web.The good news is that networking adapters and equipment is as inexpensive as it will ever get, and most machines running DOS can easily make use of used equipment that people are just throwing away.

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Modern web sites are generally too complex to render on old machines and the extensive use of Javascript has made it difficult for old machines.

But for basic file transfer and running some useful utilities like SNTP (Simple Network Time Protocol) it can not be beat.

Protocol suites are interesting but most people do not interact with them; they use applications that hide the details of the protocol suite and underlying data transfer medium.

TCP/IP is the protocol suite that the Internet is built on and the term "Internet" refers to a global system of interconnected computer networks that use TCP/IP.

Transfers on the parallel port were inherently faster than those over serial ports because of the nature of the parallel port.

Parallel ports also evolved to operate at faster and faster speeds using improved handshaking on the wires and even DMA.

Later versions of DOS provided a similar function with INTERLNK and INTERSRV.

TCP/IP over the parallel port was also possible using a protocol called Parallel Line Internet Protocol (PLIP).

And it enables some fun uses too, like chatting on Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

There are lots of ways to connect computers together.

This page primarily discusses TCP/IP and packet drivers (to be introduced later).

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