The Alpha Multia is a small little box produced years ago by DEC. It's typically got a 166Mhz Alpha 21066 in it, with between 16 and 128MB of RAM (though 64 is the minimum if you want to do any work). It's got all the stuff of a normal PC, including floppy and (laptop) IDE, as well as SCSI and dual side-by-side PCMCIA slots. It's this last feature that makes it very useful, because you actually can put two 802.11b cards in it, without them physically colliding.

The main problem with the machine is that it's slow. It takes a whole day to compile a modern kernel... But it should be fine for normal packet routing. Next PlayDay I'll see if I can arrange to get a number of people doing throughput testing on the machine and see if it breathes hard or not. Another problem is that it seems to require a SCSI disk in order to boot from anything but the floppy drive. New firmware doesn't seem to help.

A software issue is that we can't seem to set the wireless channel (frequency) on the Lucent-based cards, iwconfig just sits in a loop doing something or nothing (I haven't determined which yet). This is going to have to be solved if we're going to use this thing as any kind of base station.

The other point with the base station idea is that we really should try to get a PRISM card set up in access-point mode, on the Multia. This is not working so far with my relatively limited experiementation with a poor card (Linksys WPC-11), so I'll have to get myself a good PRISM II card with antenna connector (and then get a pigtail, etc. from MichaelCodanti).


AlphaMultia (last edited 2007-11-23 18:01:29 by localhost)