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Home use: Networking a Win98 and a Win95 machine

Posted on 1999-01-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
We recently added a Win98 machine to our home stable.  We had a Win95 machine to start with.  Different resources on
each machine, which we'd like to share somehow.

Non-networked problem:
Both machines have modems which share a common phone line with our voice usage.  Both are set up to do PPP connections
and TCP/IP from there.  If one machine is using their modem,
the other machine cannot go online.

Network desire:  Both machines could share whatever modem is currently connected (probably the Win98 one, it's 56KBps) and, when connected, allow either machine to do TCP/IP stuff (SMTP/POP/IMAP mail, FTP, HTTP, etc.) independently.

Non-networked problem:
The Win95 machine has a color inkjet printer, the Win98
machine an ancient 9-pin dot matrix printer.

Network desire:
The Win98 machine could print to the color inkjet printer
(important), the Win95 machine to the dot matrix printer
(not important, but hey, why not?).

Non-networked problem:
Data files have to be moved by FTP and a commonly-accessed host, or by ZIP disk, between machines.

Network desire: normal SHARE operations between the Win95
and Win98 machines' disks.  NO WinNT server is available to
host the workgroup, but I'm told it is not needed (my only
SHARE experiences are at work where there's an NT server
to host the workgroup, and all the workstations involved
were Win95 and/or WinNT).

Now, the questions:

1) Exactly what do I need to do to set up sharing so I don't need a WinNT server someplace on the network?  Is is just
as simple as naming an arbitrary workgroup and unique computer names, and everything will just work?

2) What do I need to do to make the modems and the TCP/IP
connection that ONE OR THE OTHER MODEM will achieve accessible to the other machine?  One network hardware option I'm considering, Diamon Multimedia's HOMEFREE, claims
this is doable with their software/hardware.  Local retailers claim I can do this with any setup, provided I am
willing to "set up TCP/IP", which of course is already done
on both machines.

3) The HOMEFREE hardware solution is nice but expensive.  I'm also told by local retailers and colleages that I can do just as well with two 10baseT cards and a cheap hub, and
indeed that prices out at about half the price of HOMEFREE.  But if setting up that shared internet connection option is expensive in time/resources on either the Win95/Win98 platforms, maybe the extra cost of HOMEFREE is worth it.  Options?
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Question by:jlw011597
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heathprovost earned 200 total points
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I will answer your questions 1 by 1:

1) Exactly what do I need to do to set up sharing so I don't need a WinNT server someplace on the network?  Is is just
as simple as naming an arbitrary workgroup and unique computer names, and everything will just work?

A. Yep, thats it. Make the workgroup names the same and the machine names different.  Also need at least 1 common protocol (I suggest TCP/IP, you will see why in next answer) and must have microsoft file and printer sharing enabled.  If you are not familar with TCP/IP and setting it up, just post a comment to that effect.

2) What do I need to do to make the modems and the TCP/IP
connection that ONE OR THE OTHER MODEM will achieve accessible to the other machine?  One network hardware option I'm considering, Diamon Multimedia's HOMEFREE, claims
this is doable with their software/hardware.  Local retailers claim I can do this with any setup, provided I am
willing to "set up TCP/IP", which of course is already done
on both machines.

A. Find and download a program called Wingate (available at tuCows and Download.com).  This is a proxy server.  It will allow both machines to be on the internet at the same time using only one of the modems.  You cant go (or at least you shouldnt go) both ways, you need to pick one of the modems to use as your connection permently.  The machine with this modem on it will "Proxy" its connection to the internet to the other machine.  It is also free for limited use (meaning 2 machines max).  If you add more machines latter you can purchase licenses.

3) The HOMEFREE hardware solution is nice but expensive.  I'm also told by local retailers and colleages that I can do just as well with two 10baseT cards and a cheap hub, and
indeed that prices out at about half the price of HOMEFREE.  But if setting up that shared internet connection option is expensive in time/resources on either the Win95/Win98 platforms, maybe the extra cost of HOMEFREE is worth it.  Options?

A. I wouldnt go that route.  I dont know what the expense for HOMEFREE is, but for about $50 you can purchase 2 NICS and a bnc cable to connect them.  You dont need a hub if you use BNC.  You can also use 10BaseT without a hub but it limits you to 2 machines.  This might not be a problem for you though and it is a bit faster and simpler.  You just need a crossover cable to do it.

I have went over a lot of stuff and I am sure you have more questions.  Just post comments and I will answer what I can
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by:jlw011597
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As I noted, I already have TCP/IP installed on both boxes.  Sounds like I can get away with this
with just the WinGate download, although I'd really like to be able to have whichever box happens to do the dialing act as the proxy (the Win98/300MHz machine is in our home office,
and generally only my wife or I will access it; the Win95/100MHz machine is now the kids'
machine -- if the kids want to go online but the office is off limits to them, I'd rather not have
them need to get me or Mom to go and boot up the other machine and dial out for them if
I don't have to).  More comments?
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by:heathprovost
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That is easy to fix.  Just connect both machines to the phoneline and whenever the "Office" machine is off they can dial directly with their modem.  If it is on then they can use the proxy to connect. No problem
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by:jlw011597
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I'll reserve the right to ask more questions on this later.  Any chance I can get an Email address
for followups, Heath?
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by:heathprovost
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heath_provost@hotmail.com.
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by:jlw011597
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It appears that WinGate isn't so free anymore.  The possibly free version lists as a $60 shareware item, but only for Win95.  Win98, where part of this has to reside for me, requires
the latest WinGate software (3.0) and that's not free.  But for home use it's not expensive
either, $39.95.

Also of interest is the producer of WinGate offers that it is their software bundled with that
HomeFree package that allows the sharing of an internet connection between 2 or more
machines.
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by:deadbit
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Suggest you download AnologX's Proxy Server.....it's free!
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