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100BaseT NIC CardN

On Ebay you may run across a good deal on a 100BaseT Nic card for a Sparc 20 (S bus). This will not help your Internet access, but might be useful within your home network. This article talkes about setting the card up.


There are two types of cards you may run across. The more common is the single high speed NIC card. The other is the quad card which has 4 RJ45 connectors. This one is a bit overkill for a home network unless you are using the Sun as your router. Before you shut down the machine to load the card, you will want to make two updates:

  1. In the /etc directory create a file named hostname.hme0 if you have the single high speed NIC card and hostname.qfe0 for the quad card. In this file put the name you want the machine to be known as on that interface. In my personal case, my machine was named styma5. This was the name in the hostname.le0 which is the file related to the ethernet connector in the mainboard. I edited hostname.le0 and changed the name from styma5 to styma5b. I then created hostname.hme0 and put the one word styma5 in the file.
  2. Edit /etc/hosts and add a line for the new interface with a new IP address on the same subnet. I added a line for styma5b and gave it a new IP address even though the new address will end up going with the old NIC.


Shut down the machine and take the cover off using the two screws in the back. There are a bunch of blank covers on the back of the Sun. They use a really small Phillips head screwdriver. Take off one of these. Then insert the new card and attach it using the screws from the blank cover. Connect a CAT5 cable from the RJ45 connection to your router.

Close the machine up and power it on. While the memory check is going on, press Stop-a (The stop key and letter A key at the same time) to interupt the boot process. Then enter the command:
boot -r
The machine will find the new interface. Watch the messages go by and you will see it detect and configure the new hme0 interface. When the system boots, you can use the ifconfig command to see the two interfaces. Verify that you can ping the new interface and get out on it. You can tell which interface is being used by watching the lights blink on the router.

Post Installation

To deactivate the le0 interface, rename the /etc/hostname.le0 file and reboot with the -r option. I renamed it to /etc/hostnameOFF.le0 to make it easy to find if I should want to reactivate it.

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Last Maintained, 03/27/2003 by R. E. Styma (x7323)