Navtel 9460 Protocol Analyzer info?

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 22:28:05 CDT 2005


On Apr 11, 2005 10:37 PM, Jay West <jwest at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> Joe wrote...
> >   I found this today. Does anyone have a manual or any information on it?
> > It looks very similar to this 9440 on E-bay
> > <http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=97190&item=750632019
> > 5&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW>
> 
> Someday I'll pick up a "datascope" (aka serial protocol analyzer) cheap. I
> did a lot of serial communications programming in a prior life, and
> absolutely lived with a datascope. 

That reminds me of the HP line of protocol analyzers (HP 4951A/B
4952C...)  I used to live with one of those, too, when I was doing SNA
and Bisync for a living (prior to 1984).  I don't know anything about
this brand or what it would take to hook this one up to anything but a
V.35 connecton (useful in itself), but if anyone is going to do any
serious serial hacking, I cannot recommend these sorts of tools
strongly enough.

They would be perfect for, say, reverse-engineering a poorly
documented serial protocol between two devices, or, as we used ours,
for verifying that one end or the other is really adhering to the
published protocol.  The HP line also has a menu-driven programming
language that is barely sophisticated to emulate an IBM Mainframe and
communications controller (CPU + 37x5) initiating an SNA session
through the bind and up to idle RR chatter (1Hz ACKs with sequence
counts that fill a channel that isn't actively pumping data).  _That_
was incredibly useful for debugging some SNA product issues we had, as
we could tweak individual bits of our binds to see empirically what
the effects were on our products (we purchased the core code rather
than writing it all in-house, so we were often forced to poke it from
strange angles to see how it wobbled).

These could also be useful for debugging a low-speed connection (well
under T1-speeds) between a router and an ISP.

They also make good password sniffers ;-) presuming one can wedge in
between the VT100 and the host (no, we never really did that at work,
but we did show folks how easy it is to do).

Lots of fun, but I suppose a modern PC could do just as well,
presuming there's an app that's designed to capture and display
whatever goes by the serial port.

-ethan



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