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.
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.
The Win95 machine has a color inkjet printer, the Win98
machine an ancient 9-pin dot matrix printer.
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?).
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?