|-- What's a Host?
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What I describe as a host is a main desktop machine
that contains the extra PCMCIA wireless nic. Most desktops do
not have a PCMCIA slot, so an adapter was provided within this kit
to accommodate. To hook this kit up, there are just a few
steps you need to take and you should be ready to roll.
The above shots are from the installation
of the PCI PCMCIA wireless adapter. The card plugs into any PCI
slot and is plug and play. The drivers I installed was for
Windows 98SE, which went through very smoothly. One of the
things that may still confuse some people is that the host PC must
have a wired connection. Wireless needs to be wired? WTH?
Before you go bezerk, the host PC only hosts the wireless PCI adapter
so the other wireless NICs can get a connection. Therefore, this
host PC must have a wired connection (PCI/ISA NIC) that brings in the
main connection. Essentially, this is very similar to a 'router'
of sorts that routes wireless connections to the correct place.
This is the other wireless NIC, which I
installed on my laptop. This laptop had Windows ME installed,
and the drivers worked fine for that also. Again, very straight
forward installation so there shouldn't be any surprises.
The manual that is included with the kit
is very in depth and precise. There are basically two steps to
get everything up and running. I won't go into too much detail
because it does get confusing after a while. The manual is a
good guide, so keep that near by when setting everything up.
First off, make sure the drivers of the equipment are installed
correctly. The host PC will have a different set of software
installed, called Soft Bridge. This software provides the
'bridge' between the wired NIC and the PCI PCMCIA Adapter.
TCP/IP is definitely needed, so make sure that is installed. The
software will automatically take care of binding issues so you
wouldn't have to worry about that.
Both host and portable computer will have
a configuration software utility that must be configured before
anything can work. Encryption and other options can be
set. There is also an option in there that is rather important
that you probably don't want to overlook. In the
configuration utility, Infrastructure and 802.11 AdHoc are available
for use. From what the manual describes, Infrastructure is only
use when there is a wireless base present. What we are doing is
not using a wireless base, so make sure you want the other option.
One issue that I did end up having was
due to the use of my Linksys Router. I asked Jimmy over at Compex
if there was a solution to it and he mentioned that it may help if I
hard coded my DNS entries. What had happened from what I gather
was that the laptop was able to get a single across to the host
machine which is connected to the router. It received a valid
internal IP through the host, but it did not receive any type of DNS
information. So it pinged IPs fine, but domain names went no
where. So hard coding the exact DNS numbers did help out.
Might want to try that if you're having issues with this kit and any
router in general.