Computer networks need specialized tools for developing, monitoring, and testing. The network primitives described here will connect a network to a microcomputer system, allowing the development of a network debugger/monitor. a network monitor connects to the network and gathers statistical data about network traffic. A network debugger is similar to a program debugger, except that the programs being debugged are distributed on a network. Together the network monitor/debugger will allow protocol designing and testing, as well as distributed software debugging. In order to determine and control the state of the network, and that of its components, the network monitor/debugger must rely on a set of primitive network operations.
I designed a set of network primitives so that a network monitor/debugger can be developed using the software and hardware provided by this project. The network primitives present the user with a standard UNIX interface to the network through the use of UNIX device file read, write and i/o control operations. The network interface hardware (an EXOS/101) is connected to the host computer (a Z8000-based microcomputer) via network primitives patched to the host operating system (XENIX). The network hardware is connected to a 10 Mbit Ethernet.