AE Systems 11/29/99

WIN98 and WIN98 second edition, WIN98SE, are very similar. WIN98SE, however, offers a few advantages. Among other features 'SE includes Internet Explorer V5.0, it is Y2K compliant, and it offers TCP/IP sharing. (As a side note -- WIN98SE is the first WIN9X product to be Y2K compliant right from the box. )

Anyone that has ever played with the network stack in WIN95 knows that it wasn't the smoothest piece of software written. Early versions required patches for proper operation and still died, especially on dialup connections. It also ran at half the speed of NT's TCP/IP connection. Without third party software, FTP Gate for example, there was no way to share a TCP/IP connection with other machines in the home or office. Still, it was a big win over WIN 3.1 which had no built in TCP/IP stack at all. 

With '98SE Microsoft offers a way to really share a TCP/IP connection with all of the machines in a local area network. This is really slick for the guy with a cable modem, for example. The only restrictions are: 

1)The host machine must be a WIN98SE machine running a TCP/IP connection.  If you plan on using a cable modem, DSL modem, or something else besides a dial-up modem for the connection to the outside world, you will need two Ethernet cards in the host PC. One card connects to the outside world. This is the host card or shared connection. The second connects to your local LAN. The second card is for your local network connection. Microsoft doesn't tell you this anywhere in the WIN98SE documentation. It really helps to use two different ethernet cards, so you can tell them appart during configuration.

2)Microsoft designed the clients to run any version of '98 or '95. For stability, any '95 client should be version 2.0 or later. You can have a MAC, God forbid, or even an NT client, too! Microsoft doesn't advertise this fact. You need to set your NT or any machine for that matter for DHCP detection of your TCP/IP stack. You must clear out all other entires in the TCP/IP configuration screens on any client. 

3)All machines must have network cards installed and the TCP/IP stack loaded.

Mother always told me that I had to learn how to share.

Keep in mind that the TCP/IP sharing is just that, sharing an internet connection. As each machine tries to access the internet, the other clients and host will slow down. Still, only having to pay for one internet pipe in a group of PCs can be a huge advantage. In the case of a satellite link, for example, the ISP may only provide a single IP. DSL lines and cable modems may offer additional IPs but  charge quite a bit extra each month for the privilege. Five people in a small office will not be able to download huge files in the same time as it took for the single PC with it dedicated connection. However, everyone will be able to get on the internet. Work can still be done on the host PC, too.   As long as the total internet load of all the machines is kept down, sharing does work. 

Configuring the WIN98SE Host

Microsoft made host configuration fairly straight forward. But before you begin, go to your TCP/IP setup screens on the WIN98SE host. Copy all of these numbers and settings because they might get changed! 

Under My Computer/Control Panel go to Add/Remove Programs ICON. Then click on the Windows Setup tab. Then double click on Internet Tools.

At this point you need a blank, formatted floppy. WIN98SE will make a disk with all of the files needed for the client machines. You will need to load this floppy on all client   machines. Now select Internet Connection Sharing and click on OK. 

The Internet Sharing wizard will pop up and guide you through the rest of the process.

ics1.gif (57660 bytes)

This motherboard, the Intel CA810AL, has a great NIC card on board. This port will connect to the outside world. An interesting note here: if you have a PC with a single ethernet card and modem, you will only see Dial-Up Adapter as a choice for internet connection.  Since internet sharing only works as a passthrough connection, you can't pass along the connection to a modem, only to an ethernet card. Therefore, to share an ethernet based connection, such as a cable modem, you will need two network interface cards,  or NICs. 

When you finish the wizard,  you should go to Internet Options under Control Panel and click on the Connections, Sharing. You will see:

ics2.gif (54132 bytes)

Or...

ics3.gif (53787 bytes)

Notice if you try and change the connection to the outside internet to the other adapter card, the original connection to the home network changes, too! In fact the only option for the home network connection is other ethernet card. If you select one card for the outside connection, the home connection will switch to the remaining NIC. You have no choice here. The software can't forward the IP information to itself, only to another NIC card.

Some cable and DSL connections show up as Dial-Up connections to the PC. These are usually internal cards. In those cases you can use a single ethernet card for the internet sharing. In most cases, however, you will be forced to use two ethernet cards for internet sharing at the WIN98SE host.

After you wizard finishes you will need to reboot the host for the TCP/IP sharing to be enabled. Under Network configuration the Internet sharing links to your NICs will show up. Two TCP/IP ports look like:

ics4.gif (22313 bytes)

The Shared TCP/IP stack connects to the cable or DSL modem. The Home TCP/IP stack connected to the local network. Again they are two, separate NICs.

ics5.gif (50633 bytes)

Notice that each shared client, including the HOME PC, connects to the 192.168.0.x net. If you have eight PCs, for example, the first is 192.168.0.1. The last one is 192.168.0.8.

 

Configuring the Client Stations

The hosts can be any version of WIN95 or WIN98. You will need to configure every PC that shared the WIN98SE host TCP/IP routing. The procedure is very fast, however.

The first thing you need to do is to clear the TCP/IP stack in the client. Remember that you will be sharing the internet connection of the 98SE host. Therefore, you can't tell your PC to use any other TCP/IP routings or settings except those on the client floppy. Your clients can't have a fixed IP address. ( Except the 192.168.0.X address that the WIN98SE host would give it anyway.)

1)Make sure the main TCP/IP screen (under Control Panel, Networking) on your machine looks exactly as this screen does. Client machines can still use the TCP/IP screens under Dialup Networking if needed, since they are independent of the main TCP/IP configuration screens shown here.

2)In the DHCP screen tab make sure that you check Use DHCP for WINS Resolution

3)Under Gateway, make sure that it is blank, so the client doesn't try to route to anything other than the host 98SE PC.

4)Now for the client floppy, run A:\ICSCLSET.EXE  follow the instructions, and reboot the client The WIN98SE host must be running before the client will talk to the host correctly.

For a '95 or '98 client, reboot and run WINIPCFG from the RUN prompt. Select the ethernet adapter ( not your dialup!) If all goes well your PC's IP will be something in the 192.168.0.X net. The host PC is always 192.168.0.1. The clients start at .2, .3 etc.

If your client runs NT or a MAC OS, for example, you can't run the ICSCLSET program, but you can still use internet sharing. Again, the WIN98SE host looks like a DHCP host to the rest of the network. Make sure you set the client's TCP/IP stack for full, automatic TCP/IP address detection.

Internet Connection Sharing works quite nicely with '95, '98, NT, and MAC clients. On a NT client, you can go to a DOs screen and launch IPCONFIG.EXE to see the new IP address. It will be 192.168.0.x if your connection works.

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