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Windows CE Ethernet Connectivity FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1997-2001

 Version 1.73  Revised 2/17/2001

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Sections: Introduction, Requirements, Setup Overview, TCP/IP Only, W/Windows NT Server, Full TCP/IP, Minimal TCP/IP, How to Activesync, Troubleshooting

Introduction

When you're ready for the ultimate in communications speed from Windows CE try Ethernet.  It allows you to connect to your LAN or the Internet at 10mb/s (Right now only the Linksys EtherFast and the Xircom CE3 are the only 100mb/s PC Card and the Abocol CFE-100 CompactFlash Card).  This is done via an NDIS driver that is provided on the Windows CE Services CD for Handheld PC 2.0 and Palm-size PC 2.0 and 2.1 devices.  The Handheld PC, Professional Edition, Handheld PC 2000 and Pocket PC have built-in NDIS NE 2000 drivers..  The features of Ethernet with Windows CE are ActiveSync, Backups (4 MB system takes less than 5 minutes!), copying software, software installation and other Internet Services such as Web browsing and E-Mail. FTP, Telnet, IRC, newsgroups etc are possible with additional software.  Microsoft does not ship standard TCP/IP diagnostic programs with PC Companions. Please see the Network Utilities FAQ for a list of TCP/IP diagnostic programs such as Ping, Trace Route, NSLookup, etc. Windows CE now supports the ability for an Handheld PC and the Handheld PC Pro to access a Windows 95/NT/NT Server network drive.  My Network Client FAQ describes how to do this after you have configured Ethernet. The Palm-size PC also supports Ethernet, however you are limited to synchronizing and using applications designed for it's smaller screen size. Also, if you want to use a Proxy server, I recommend that you review my Proxy FAQ as well.

I also have a Protocols FAQ that may be helpful for more technical users to understand how the TCP/IP and WINS are implemented in Windows CE.

Note:  The Handheld PC Pro is configured identical to the Handheld PC.  Please follow the directions for the Handheld PC Pro to use Ethernet. The drivers for Windows CE 2.0 are NOT compatible with 2.11 devices.  If you install the drivers, you must perform a backup and a complete reset to be able to install the right version.

In order to use Ethernet, you need to have the following:

An NE 2000 compatible PC Card. Not all NE 2000 cards will work so be careful.  Some appear to work but then stop sending or receiving packets after about a minute.   You can download the shareware SBM NE2000 driver - it only asks once for the driver name!

See Compatible PC Cards   or   Compatible CompactFlash Cards for a complete list of compatible Ethernet cards.

Don't forget to install the Ethernet drivers provided on the Windows CE Services CD if you have a Handheld PC 2.0 or Palm-size PC 2.0 or 2.1 from Microsoft or included with the Socket LP-E PC Card.  They are included in the Optional Software.  You must have approximately 200k of free storage space on your Handheld PC or Palm-size PC. The Handheld PC Pro, Handheld PC 2000 and Pocket PC already have the driver loaded.

An Ethernet card in your desktop, or laptop. This should already be configured with the Client for Microsoft Networks and TCP/IP. If this is not already done, please install it now. This is done from the Control Panel > Network icon.

An Ethernet hub to plug into. If you are working in an office, you may want two outlets to do this - one for your desktop PC and the other for your Handheld PC/Palm-size PC/Pocket PC. If you are working at home and have only one other PC that you connect to, a cross over cable will work.

Optional Components

Windows NT Server or Wingate. Wingate is a shareware proxy server and DNS. This is required if you do not have a Windows NT Server or an internal DNS. Windows CE does not support a Hosts file in lieu of a DNS server.  You can synchronize without this but you will not have complete TCP/IP support to access the Internet via your Handheld PC.   Don't forget to review my Proxy FAQ as well

If you are planning on connecting via Ethernet from various different locations you used to change the settings by hand each time.  There is another option now, Phatware has a program called HPC NetProfile that allows you to change the whole TCP/IP configuration by selecting a profile!  This is a great benefit to Network Administrators that have multiple offices or configurations.

If you want to access a network drive to a Windows 95/NT/NT Server then you need the Microsoft Network Client for Windows CE.  It is available from the Microsoft Developer Downloads, however it is for development purposes only.  Microsoft does not provide support for the network client at this time.  Please note that any file you retrieve or send is NOT converted to the appropriate format for the destination machine. I have a Network Client FAQ that describes how to configure and use it.

How to Set it up:

The following are descriptions of the configuration of the PC and Handheld PC/Palm-size PC to use Ethernet in a variety of situations.   This information assumes a moderate level of experience with networks and their configuration.  You may need to seek the assistance of your network administrator in the event you do not understand what to do.  Also, please refer to the troubleshooting section if you are having problems.

Before we get started, you must have installed and connected to Mobile Services on the PC via the serial port before attempting an Ethernet connection.  If you try without performing this, the Connect To name on the Handheld PC/Palm-size PC will not match and the connection will not work.

Note:  You can only store 2 ActiveSync connections in your Handheld PC/Palm-size PC.  If you attempt to connect to a new host, the Handheld PC will ask you to delete an existing ActiveSync connection.  Ethernet is only supported to one of the two current ActiveSync connections.  By default, you can only store one configuration in the Handheld PC/Palm-size PC for Ethernet. There is another option now, Phatware has a program called HPC NetProfile that allows you to change the whole TCP/IP configuration by selecting a profile!  This is a great benefit to Network Administrators that have multiple offices or configurations.

Developer Note:  Remote debugging is supported with the Embedded Toolkit (ETK) v2.1 or later.   Note there is an error in the readme for debugging - see this Knowledgebase article for details.  Prior versions do not support debugging over Ethernet.  All other developer services including the code transfer, database viewer, memory viewer, registry viewer, screen capture and spy work over Ethernet.

TCP/IP Only:

If all you want is access to the Internet, all you need is an IP address and a DNS address. Then the system is already to surf the web. Also, to make it easier for users to configure their systems, Windows CE supports DHCP - the protocol that automatically assigns the IP address, DNS or WINS.  ActiveSync and Mobile Services are supported if you have a DNS or WINS.  Contact your network administrator for details.  Without a DNS or WINS, Windows CE can only perform ActiveSync with another PC by entering the PC's IP address as the Handheld PCs/Palm-size PCs WINS server.

Windows 95/Windows NT Workstation with Windows NT Server:

Make sure that your Windows 95/NT system is able to login to the network. The TCP/IP protocol should already be installed. If it is not then you must install it and make sure that there are no conflicts with your network - please contact your network administrator for assistance.

Handheld PC

The Handheld PC must also have an IP address and a DNS or WINS entry. These are set in the Control > Panel Network > Properties. If your network provides DHCP, these settings may be automatically set - contact your network administrator for details. You also must enter the Identification information as well.   If you are using a DNS you must have your Handheld PC's identification name registered with your DNS network administrator.

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The username and password are the ones assigned by your NT Server administrator and the domain must be the same as the Windows 95/NT System.

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In order to surf the web, you must have a DNS configured or have the WINS on the NT server to provide DNS support. If you do and your company is connected to the web, you are ready to surf!  You can use a DNS and WINS at the same time.  The WINS is searched first, then the DNS.

Proceed to How to ActiveSync via Ethernet.

Palm-size PC

Although the Start -> Control Panel -> Network screen is not formatted for the Palm-size PCs screen, you can still configure it.  Click on the NE2000 Compatible Ethernet button to proceed.  If you want to exit, click and drag the title bar (the line with ation in the picture) to the left and click OK.

[Image]

The Palm-size PC must also have an IP address and a DNS or WINS entry.If your network provides DHCP, these settings may be automatically set - contact your network administrator for details. You also must enter the Identification information as well.   If you are using a DNS you must have your Palm-size PC's identification name registered with your DNS network administrator.

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Proceed to How to ActiveSync via Ethernet.

Windows 95/Windows NT Workstation without Windows NT Server (Full TCP/IP using DNS):

If you are interested in surfing the web and do not have an IP address or Windows NT network, I recommend using Wingate to do so. It is a proxy server that allows you to connect another PC or Handheld PC to the Internet via the same connection as the host PC. You will also need to use specific IP addresses as well. RFC 1918 defines private IP addresses that you can use without conflicting with previously assigned addresses. I recommend using 192.168.1.1 for the desktop and 192.168.1.2 for the Handheld PC. The subnet mask for both is 255.255.255.0.  On a multisubnet network, don't forget to set the gateway. I have a Proxy FAQ with more details on using it.

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Handheld PC

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Palm-size PC

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In order to ActiveSync to the Windows 95/NT system you need to install Wingate. Configure it to dial out to the network via your dialup networking connection for your ISP if you want to surf the net from your Handheld PC. You also need to assign an IP address to your desktop Ethernet adapter and use the Identification to designate the Workgroup/Domain Name and Computer Name.  I recommend using another Workgroup/Domain Name instead of the default name of Workgroup in order to avoid allowing users to access your data when you are dialed up to the internet.

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The desktop system must have a Hosts file with its Ethernet IP address and it's host name as listed in the Network Identification section of Windows 95. You must add the Handheld PC's name and IP address as well to the Hosts file . The hosts file does not have an extension and it must have an extra blank line at the end. Wingate uses these values when you switch on the DNS settings and allow the Handheld PC to find your system.

Install Wingate and configure it to provide DNS support. The DNS will use the Hosts file for the names of the hosts (PC and Handheld PC) and their IP addresses. If you are using the WWW proxy service of Wingate, don't forget to configure your Pocket IE with that address. If you do not, then the Handheld PC will not be able to surf the web.

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 Proceed to How to ActiveSync via Ethernet.

Windows 95/Windows NT Workstation without Windows NT Server (Minimal TCP/IP using WINS):

You will also need to use specific IP addresses as well. RFC 1918 defines private IP addresses that you can use without conflicting with previously assigned addresses. I recommend using 192.168.1.1 for the desktop and 192.168.1.2 for the Handheld PC. The subnet mask for both is 255.255.255.0.  You need to assign a WINS server on the Handheld PC as well - it is the same IP address as the Windows 95/NT PC (192.168.1.1 in my example).  You will not be able to use TCP/IP functions that require a DNS in this configuration.

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Handheld PC

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Palm-size PC

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You need to assign an IP address to your desktop Ethernet adapter and use the Identification to designate the Workgroup/Domain Name and Computer Name.   I recommend using another Workgroup/Domain Name instead of the default name of Workgroup in order to avoid allowing users to access your data when you are dialed up to the internet.

[Image]

Proceed to How to ActiveSync via Ethernet.

How to ActiveSync via Ethernet

You are all set! In order to ActiveSync on the Handheld PC, you will need to click on Start > Programs >Communications, ActiveSync. A dialog box for logging on to the Windows 95/NT Workstation/NT server will appear along with the appropriate Computer name (the desktop Windows 95/NT Computer Name as indicated in the Control Panel > Network > Identification). Once the connection is made the Mobile Devices icon comes up and you can access the Handheld PCs files as you normally would.

If the connection fails, ActiveSync will close without a dialog box indicating that the connection was not completed.  This is normal.


Troubleshooting:

See the Network Troubleshooting FAQ for assistance in resolving connectivity issues.


Related Links:

Ethernet PC Cards
Ethernet CompactFlash Cards
Network Utilities

Proxy FAQ

Socket Communications Low Power Ethernet FAQ

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