Totally not my photo, or article, but this is making the rounds ‘BUILDING A 10BASE5 “THICK ETHERNET” NETWORK‘, over on Matt’s Tech Pages.

I didn’t get into networking professionally until 1996. It was at a certain bank that is full of Americans in a hurry. Anyways, as part of the line of interrogation from some outside consultant he pulls out a vampire and does the old man rant of ‘I bet this kid doesn’t even know what this is!’ bit.

Except I did.

Although to be honest, I’d never seen one in person, but I’d read about them in some ancient book about Unix Networking that went over in great details how to put down the cable, how to pay attention to the black bands in the cable, as they are the only place you should be tapping, how to use the tapping kit, and how to secure the vampire to the cable, along with the appropriate AUI cable to the host (PC).

So yeah, I did get the job. The old guy was genuinely shocked.

But time marches on.

Now I’m the old man.


  1. Around 2010 there was still a 10BASE5 demonstration network at the Warsaw Technical University used for networking classes. It was the only time I’ve seen these vampire taps. But I don’t think building a 10BASE5 network is the most extreme local network retro-enthusiasts can build. I think SkyWriter on Nekochan had a full FDDI network set up 😉

  2. I knew these. I got in to networking around 1994 and I was lucky to regularly use 10BASE2 and on occastion BASE5. I was also lucky to see one of last “real” ethernet repeaters before it was replaced by a bridge. Oh and this was just before NAT and firewalls and I was able to map networks of the whole country with HP OpenView NNM and SNMP.

    • when we moved from 4Mbit TokenRing MAU’s (the one with the mechanical relays!) to 16Mbit switched TokenRing. It was amazing.

      We had Optivity … which . sucked. When we got ciscoworks it was AMAZING. In the bad way OMG it needed so much horsepower it was INSANE.

  3. Did one of these on a machine control system in 97. It was our corporate standard to use thicknet for PCs connected to the machine PLC. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t use thinnet. It was coax shielded to reduce noise and didn’t need vampire taps and that big thicknet cable. Nice memories.

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