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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Making the Ethernet Connection with
Your Handheld PC

Comm Link

By Chris De Herrera
January 26, 1998
 

Shop unique and cheap iPhone cases on DHgate.com

One of the cool new things that you can do with a Microsoft® Windows® CE 2.0-powered Handheld PC is use Ethernet for connectivity. Ethernet, the network hardware that is used extensively throughout the Internet, is a very fast way (at 10 megabits per second) for two gr more computers to communicate.

Well, now you can use Ethernet to quickly surf the 'Net and put e-mail in the palm of your hand. The Handheld PC supports Microsoft ActiveSync™ technology as well as backups, installs, and almost anything you can do with a serial connection–but at a faster speed with Ethernet. For example, a full backup of a 4MB system takes less than five minutes. With Ethernet, there are no more excuses for not making regular backups since it's so fast!

In the future, you should be able to access your PC with the Windows 95 or Windows NT® operating system via Ethernet just like Microsoft's peer-to-peer networking. These instructions are for people without a corporate network who are interested in setting up Ethernet support for a Handheld PC and a single PC with Windows 95. (With corporate networks that use DHCP to assign settings automatically, users should be able to more easily connect their Handheld PCs via Ethernet.)

At this time, Microsoft has not documented this method of using Ethernet and does not support this configuration. Please read this document carefully before proceeding as Microsoft is not responsible for providing assistance with errors or problems. My personal Web site has additional details on how to configure Windows NT and other configurations as well as troubleshooting tips.

Required Hardware and Software

You'll need the following before getting started:

  • A PC with Windows 95
  • Windows CE Services
  • Desktop or laptop Ethernet card installed, including Microsoft networking client and TCP/IP (you can check this from the Network Control Panel)
  • An LP-E NE2000 Ethernet PC Card from Socket Communications for your Handheld PC. Note: Other NE2000 compatible cards may work with the Handheld PC but are not yet certified at this writing. Also, 3Com and Xircom are working on drivers for their Ethernet PC Cards as well.
  • Ethernet hub or crossover cable to plug both units into.

Optionally, if you add Wingate, you can access the Web from your Handheld PC through your desktop.

Configuration

PC Configuration

You must configure your PC for Ethernet and install the Microsoft Network Client and the TCP/IP protocol. Don't forget to fill in the identification section. This is done from Start, Settings, Control Panel, Network. I recommend using 192.168.1.1, subnet mask 255.255.255.0.


Figure A:
TCP/IP Properties

Configure the TCP/IP properties on your desktop or laptop PC.

Before you begin using Ethernet, you must have Windows CE Services 2.0 installed. Also, you must use your serial cable to establish a connection to your PC for Ethernet to work. This is the only way that your Handheld PC knows the name of your desktop.

Install Wingate to provide proxy support for the Internet to your Handheld PC. The default configuration of Wingate 1.3 or 2.0 should be all that is required.


Handheld PC Configuration

Establish a serial connection to the PC with which you are going to use ActiveSync. This is required to put the PC's computer name in your Handheld PC for use with Ethernet. Install the Ethernet drivers from the Windows CE Services CD-ROM. They are located with the optional software. You need to copy the drivers to your Handheld PC's /Windows directory, which will add a Network Control Panel as well as other relevant files. They require less than 200K of free RAM allocated for storage. You then need to reset the device to load the new components.

Next, configure the Network Control Panel for Ethernet on your Handheld PC (find it under Start, Settings, Control Panel). You must plug in the IP address for the Handheld PC (I suggest 192.168.1.2 with subnet mask 255.255.255.0) and the WINS server address, which is the PC's IP address (192.168.1.1 using my recommended setting). Leave the other fields blank.


Figure B:
IP Settings for Adapter

Properly configured Network Control Panel settings on the Handheld PC.

Connecting

Plug both the Handheld PC and the PC into the hub. (If you are using a crossover cable, you can connect the Handheld PC and PC directly without a hub.) Turn on the PC and the Handheld PC and plug in the Ethernet PC Card into your Handheld PC. Check for a link light on the PC Card. If it is not lit, you are having a cable or hub problem.

To start the connection, select ActiveSync on your Handheld PC (under Start, Programs, Communications). Make sure the connection is set to networking and the host matches the PC computer name. Then click connect to start communications. ActiveSync must be running at all times when you are using Windows CE Services with your Handheld PC. If you enable continuous synchronization, your Handheld PC will stay up-to-date, downloading new e-mail, tasks, contacts, and other files and data while it's connected to your desktop PC.

If you have installed Wingate, you need to configure Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer to use a proxy. This is done from the View, Options, Proxy Server dialog box. If you followed my suggestion, use proxy server IP address 192.168.1.1 port 80. Then, once you are connected to the Internet on your PC, you can surf the 'Net with your Handheld PC as well. If you need other programs that are compatible with the Internet, check out Ruksun Software Technologies and BSQUARE.

Tip of the Month

If you are looking for a terminal program with file transfer capabilities, try Ruksun's Term Force, which supports XMODEM. Term Force will allow you to transfer your Microsoft Pocket Word documents in rich text format (RTF) to a variety of remote host machines, including those running Windows 3.1, Macintosh, or Unix operating systems.


If you find an error or can add to in the information provided above, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] PC FAQ.

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