Improving network speed

This tip provides a recommendation for improving the speed of Comet running in a local area network. The recommendation is simple: stop using NETMAN.

If you go back and look at the original reasons for having the NETMAN program, you'll find that the main reason is now accomplished through another program. NETMAN was the original way to configure unique terminal and partition names across multiple nodes in a network. Today, the SYSGEN configuration program does the same thing without the need for NETMAN.

We realize that NETMAN provides cross-node status information (Comet Utility option #12 comes to mind), but this feature comes with a performance price tag. NETMAN extracts a control record on the server once per second for each node running NETMAN. In a small network, this may not be noticeable, but as you add more nodes to a network, this can slow things down.

We're working to replace the cross-node PSTAT feature with something that doesn't degrade network performance. In the meanwhile, we still recommend that you consider getting along without the feature in order to improve the performance of your installed Comet networks.

NETMAN also provides a way to print on a printer connected to another node (by activating a spooler across nodes). However, if you're concerned about network performance, we suggest that you accomplish this without NETMAN. You'll need to configure a spooler for each printer on each node. You'll also need to start these printers in "forever mode" via the QSTARTX program. If you want to print to another node, you can send a job to a spooler on your node, then use QSPOOL to "print" the job to the spooler on the other node, where it will be printed. Obviously, this involves more steps for the user, but the gain comes by having a faster network.

Here are the Details

When Comet is loaded, during the initialization process, the CMTPATH environment variable is used to check if the NETCFIG files are available (QNETCFIG, ZZPARTF and NNPARTF). If so, these files are used to rename/renumber the partitions and terminal names of the local system based on the CMTNAME setting. In addition, a background partition is added to the system as partition 999, and the NETMAN Watchdog MTB program is activated there.

Since the SYSGEN configuration utility provides a means to rename/renumber partitions and terminal names for a given system, the use of NETMAN is only needed for partition status on other nodes.

It is the NETMAN Watchdog that provides local partition status to other Comet nodes on the network. Once Comet is started, one can kill NETMAN by killing partition 999.

To prevent NETMAN from loading in the first place, all one has to do is to omit CMTPATH variable. Presently, there are two methods of specifying the CMTPATH.

  1. In the AUTOEXEC.BAT or other BAT file. Comment out or remove the SET CMTPATH = C:\YourPath statement.

  2. In the SYSGEN INI file, comment out or remove the NETDIR = C:\YourPath; statement. Be sure to recompile the SYSGEN configuration when making changes.

Note: Some systems may inadvertently be using both methods, so both must be disabled.

If one chooses to discontinue use of NETMAN, then Comet must be configured using the SYSGEN configuration utility if each system on the network is to have unique partition and/or terminal names. Note: This applies to Comet version 504 and later (including Comet98).

The use of the CMTNAME environment variable to set the Comet NodeName is discouraged because of the difficulty in identifying and changing this setting in Windows 95, 98 and NT systems. This has been replaced with the /PN= command line parameter (PN stands for Profile Name) Again, this applies to 504 and Comet98. For example, where one would have used:

this would now be specified on the command line as:

F e e d b a c k

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