Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wifi friends

I've got a call from a friend who was desperately trying to get Wi-fi working at home. The brand new PlayStation 3 was not able to use the home network as the broadband router was not configured as a DHCP server. The WiFi access point they had did not show up on any menu.

When I get there I realized the WiFi access point was either dead or the power supply was not fully operational, so the whole thing was actually dead. As I was trying to be of some help and because my friend did have two wireless cards I suggested he could use the so called ad-hoc mode to network wirelessly his two computers while the Playstation was connected using and Ethernet cable to the broadband router.

To get this working you need to connect one of the computers to an Ethernet port of the broadband router and then you share this connection so a second computer can use it too while it connects wirelessly to the first computer (no access point is involved here, so that is what this mode is called ad-hoc mode).

When I left my friend's home everything was up and running (we have to provide a suitable IP address to the Playstation) and the three systems. One traffic jam and several hours later, my friend told me the existing setup was barely operation as the computer using the wireless connection was getting intermittent Internet access.

I suggested him to get a new access point, then I told him to borrow my old one. After some fiddling with each computer configuration, everything now runs rock solid for him.

I have had not much experience with WiFi ad-hoc mode, but it seems you should not expect rock solid operation, at least not if you mix products from different vendors. I guess that Windows XP network sharing might not be as good as a regular broadband router NATP software.

Ah, yes, I got a nice bottle of wine :-)

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