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User Contributions > Networking Palm OS and Windows XP

How to set up your Palm to access your home network's internet connection (Windows XP)

Written by Oliver Payne

The following explains how to set up your pc and palm pilot (I run XP and have an NR70V) so that you can connect to your home network and run apps that would normally require you to dial up via your mobile under infra-red. You can obviously adapt this so that you use a serial cable (USB won't work) by just skipping the IrCOMM2k bit. Just remember what com port the cable is on and skip to the 'null modem' stage. An adapted method will also work for setting up your Bluetooth connection although I haven't tried this...

One thing to note is that you need networking set up on your PC. This is pretty straightforward and is part of the windows installation, so I won't go into it. It is however VITAL that you set up the NetBIOS protocol. Just using TCP/IP won't work, so under your network properties make sure you've got NetBIOS set up.

Setting up the PC

IR communication on the PC needs to be set up so that it is using a com port. This isn't normally possible on XP, so...

  1. Download the fantastic freeware program called IRCOMM2K from
  2. Read the very simple instructions and run the setup program.
  3. Set the virtual com port up on COM3 or COM4 (both worked for me). You now have infra-red communication assigned to a com port.
  4. Remember which com port IrCOMM2k says it has installed IR under.

The next stage is to set up a 'null modem' on your PC that uses this virtual com port to communicate ie. you make the pc think it is communicating by a direct cable connection whereas it is actually using an IR connection. Before you do this you have to be careful that nothing is using the IR connection or you won't see your virtual com port as being available when you get to step 8. Switch off your palm and make sure your mobile/anything else isn't connected via IR to your PC.

  1. Open up the phone and modem options from within the control panel.
  2. If you haven't set up a modem before (eg. you connect via a network) then Windows will ask you about your area code etc. Fill this in, although it's not important.
  3. Click on the modems tab and select "Add".
  4. Check "Do not detect my modem. I will select it from a list" and click "Next". Don't worry about the pc appearing to freeze, it just takes a minute or so, so wait...
  5. Select "Communications cable between two computers" and click "Next".
  6. It says "On which ports do you want to install it?" and here you SHOULD see the virtual IR com port (3 or 4) that you set up earlier. Select that port and click Next. Done! You should see a message saying that your modem has been set up successfully.
  7. Now in the box where you can see the modem, select it and click properties.
  8. On the 'Modem' tab, set the maximum port speed to 57,600 and click 'Ok'.
  9. Click 'ok' to close down the phone and modem options box.

The next stage is to prime your pc for accepting incoming connections (like that from the palm).

  1. In the control panel, go to network connections.
  2. Click 'create new connection'.
  3. Click 'next' on the following screen.
  4. Select 'set up an advanced connection' and 'next'.
  5. Select 'accept incoming connections' and 'next'. In the 'Connection devices' you'll see the 'null modem' we set up before AND 'InfraRed Port'!

You may wonder why we bothered to set up the null modem if you can just select IR here? Quite simply - selecting IR here without going through the above process just doesn't work. Don't ask me why, it just doesn't! So...

  1. Select 'Communications cable between two computers' and 'Next'.
  2. Select 'Do not allow virtual private connections' and 'Next'.
  3. Under the 'User permissions screen' I added a new user and named it with my hotsync name - I don't know if this is necessary, but it was kind of neat! That applies to "User name" and "Full name".
  4. Leave the password fields blank and click 'next'.
  5. On the next screen it shows the network protocols you have installed - if you haven't already done so then you should be able to add NetBIOS here (install, protocol...etc.). Make sure all the protocols are checked and click 'next'.
  6. One last thing, on the 'Network connections' box, right click on 'Incoming' and select 'Properties'. Under the 'Users' tab, there is a check box which says 'Always allow directly connected devices such as palmtop...'. You must check this box (and make sure that 'Require all users to secure their passwords and data' is unchecked).
  7. Click OK and then shut down the 'Network connections' box.

That's it - your PC is now set up!

Setting up the Palm Pilot

This is a much simpler process:

  1. Go into the Prefs application and select the Connection panel.
  2. Create a new connection. You can call it whatever you want.
  3. Set it to connect to Local Network... Via Infrared.
  4. Click on details and set speed to 57,600. I'm not sure if flow control is important - it seems to work on Automatic and Off.

Now open up the Network panel from within Prefs:

  1. Create a new service.
  2. Leave user name blank.
  3. Leave password as -Prompt-.
  4. Use the connection you set up previously.
  5. Click on details and set Connection type to ppp, Idle timeout to never. Check the query DNS box and set IP address to Automatic.
  6. Click on the script box and enter the following:
    Send: CLIENT
    Send: CLIENT

Now, put your palm in range and click on the connect button on the first network screen. Your palm should run through "Signing on" and then will say "Established". You are now connected to your home network via IR on your palm, and should be able to use email, web browsers and programs like the fantastic upIRC.


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