OS/2 eZine

16 June 2000

Ben Dragon is a self-described "Part-time Networking Translator." When he's not explaining to the world how networking works, he's busy configuring his computers to do common household chores...

If you have a comment about the content of this article, please feel free to vent in the OS/2 eZine discussion forums.

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OS/2 and Home Networking, Part 2

Welcome, good readers, to Part 2 of "OS/2 and Home Networking." Joining us today will be the well known home celebrity Martha Stewart... * blinks * Ahem... no, no that was yesterdays article in the Home Gardener! In this; Part 2, we are going to cover the installation of networking software under OS/2. This is complicated and technical and can be quite a task to the uninitiated computer-ite. It uses terminology that is designed to confuse and disorient the reader and can cause psychological trauma. However, I, (via this article), am here to decipher, lead, and entertain you en route so that mental clouding and emotional trickery will be minimized. Please take all medications as prescribed. Now, onto the installation!

The networking software that IBM includes with OS/2 is essentially old software and not made specifically for inclusion with OS/2 Warp; it was once sold as a separate product. In other words, while it works quite well it does have a few rough spots in its installation routines. As a result it is much better if you elect to install the networking software when you initially install OS/2. I've tried installing it afterwards and for some reason I could never get it to install completely or cleanly. If you install later you will see the older installation interfaces that came with the software initially, (which betrays its auspicious origins), as opposed to the shiny, eye-pleasing screens you get when installing it straight off. But the choices are still the same and the choices are many.

What parts do you need? That depends entirely on what it is you're trying to achieve, but here we are only going to cover TCP/IP and File and Print Services, (Peer-to-Peer), which should be enough for the home user.


For the purposes of this multi-part article I will try to limit the details and technological explanations to those necessary for the installation and configuration of the home network as described in Part I. Essentially, if a complete definition isn't required for the layman to achieve this end then that will be reflected in the amount of attention I give to it. Otherwise it would take far too long and consist of far too many parts, to achieve the desired end-result and the reader would've long since found out the necessary information on his own or just simply shot himself out of frustration. Where practical and available, I have included graphics.

Also, it is necessary to point out that I have, (since Part 1), made a change to my setup. Passed away violently in it's sleep, Wind '98 SE, (Suffocating Edition), strangled itself in a fit of continual, self-inflicted reboots! * shudders * I know a guy who knows a guy, (no names), I gave him a call discreetly and had the remains clandestinely removed, (I have an image to uphold!) I've since replaced it with NT 5 now known by the very snappy, user friendly and easily recognizable name of Windows 2000! This resides on my Celeron 466. Fortunately it doesn't crash as often as '98 SE, (Suicidal Edition), but when it decides to it lock up it does so very solidly, very quickly and very smartly! Unlike '98 SE, (Stubborn Edition), with it's namby-pamby, wishy-washy use of blue-screens and C-A-D which always make you think you can recover... (HA!), W2K gets right to the heart of the matter and locks up so solid you have no choice but to push the reset button straight away! No wasting time fooling around with C-A-D and those silly Windows Logo keys for five or ten minutes, no-siree! W2K is much more efficient!


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The initial installation screen gives you a simple choice that essentially amounts to Easy, (default), or Advanced, (Custom), install. Choose the latter. Before I move on I'll quickly cover the options available to you during installation. This is for the Advanced Install which I recommend.

The Easy Install will not be covered here. Take note that not all components can be installed and configured using the Easy Install path. While in some ways the Easy Install is easier, I do not recommend it.

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File and Print Client

Installing this will allow you to log onto a peer network or server domain and make use of their resources. These can be files, printers, modems, and/or serial ports, (assuming you have permissions of course).

TCP/IP Services

This you will need for sure and IBM provides lots of tools to do the job right! It is also the protocol that the Internet uses. If you want Internet access install this!

Remote Access Client

This will allow you to dial into a LAN using a phone modem. Not covered here.

System Management Client

This will give you the administrator tools to manage the workstation. Not gone through here.

NetWare Client

This allows you to connect to Novell Network setups. This is beyond the scope of the article.

Mobile Office Services

Essentially this allows you to disconnect from the network and still have access to server files. You can make changes etc., and the next time you connect the server will automatically update things based on the changes you've made. This will be left here.

Select the components that you want and hit "Next."

This will bring you to the "Welcome to Configuration" screen.

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Highlighting a selection in the left window will present you with configurable options in the right window. This window will then show you the different configuration choices for your selection. Basically this is where you provide a lot of the necessary information that is specific to your network. Do not get overly worried if you're not sure what to put in here, (though the more you put in and get right, now the less you'll have to do later), as you can always adjust it after the install is complete. (I will go into greater detail in a later part once the basic installation is complete.) Most likely you'll need to do adjusting afterwards anyway.


If at anytime you feel you have no idea what to do with a certain setting, leave it as is for now.


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This is where you'll select what NICs, (Network Interface Cards), you are installing and the protocols and services that you want to bind to that NIC.

Choice of hardware is always of major concern for the potential potentate who chooses to wield the power of OS/2 in his quest for world domination. In my wanderings and perusing on all things network I have found that while there is a great diversity of NICs, to be had, (from the great to the not so good), most of them do have OS/2 drivers... but not all. A complete list and critique of all available NICs I cannot do, however, I can list the ones I use which I would unconditionally recommend to you, the wise and discerning reader!

I made my choices based on a fair bit of research. They have all performed faithfully without failure once setup, installation and configuration were completed. A commonly available and widely used chipset is the Digital "Tulip," (or Digital Equipment Corporations DEC - 21041 if you want to get technical, * yawns *), which is used by a myriad of manufacturers under many a wide, varied, marketing-approved names.

I use the Tulip chipset under the guises of: Acer ALN-211 TB, Kingston KNE40BT, and AOpen ALN-201. OS/2 recognized the chipset in all the different cards right off! Kingston, however, offered their own drivers for OS/2 and I used them instead of IBMs. It made it easier to discern just which NIC was in this machine without having to take it apart. The manufacturers driver installation went well once the floppy disk was inserted and the installation program redirected. All the above NICs are used only for the local network. For the Internet I moved a step up!

My cable modem has a 3COM 3C905-TX. This does not use BNC cabling like the others, rather 10Base-T, (that looks like a phone connector but is much larger.) It came with drivers for OS/2 and IBM has updated versions for it on their device driver web site. Once I determined for certain which driver was the one I needed, (it wasn't immediately clear), installation went as smooth as an expensive pair of silky stocking... black of course. No, not fishnet, the other kind that shine from a distance... and besides this is a networking article so stop asking!

Select your NIC then select TCP/IP, Netbios, (often known as Netbeui), and Netbios over TCP/IP. There are others that you may find useful depending on your setup and needs, however, this will satisfy most setups.

Take note that if you have more than one NIC in any one machine you will have to install protocols for each one. For example; let's assume you have NIC 0 and NIC 1, you will have to select NIC 0 then all the protocols you want to interact with it. Then you must do that same for NIC 1. Take note that installing TCP/IP on NIC 0 will not allow TCP/IP access on NIC 1! Choose wisely but do not despair. Keep in mind that if you don't know that you need it don't install it. It's easier to troubleshoot if you keep it simple. This leads us to the next topic:


Installation Drive


Workstation Name

This is/will be the name of your computer. Other workstations that are part of your workgroup, will see this name in the workgroup folder and relate it to your machine.

Workstation Description

This will be additional information that anyone in your workgroup will get about your computer when they click on your Workstation Name. (Sort of like the inner flap on a book on black stockings.) Put here what you want.

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Domain Name

If you already have a peer workgroup setup on your network then put its name here. Essentially all networks must have a common group name in order for another computer to join that group and share in its resources. IBMPEERS is the default, for sure you'll want to change that as many, many others will and do use it. Of course all computers in your network must share this name as the group they are associated with in order to keep them clear and separate from any other network it may or may not want to connect to.

Install LAN Server Administration

If you select this it will install the GUI for IBM LAN Server or IBM Warp Server administration utilities. Not needed here. Leave unchecked though checking it won't cause any problems or added work.

Install Sharing

Installing this allows you to share your resources with other computers in your peer group, (workgroup), and will allow you to access their resources. Please install.

Delete User Database

This only applies if you are installing over a previously installed version and wish to destroy the user database.

User ID and Password

Self explanatory.


TCP/IP Address

This is the numerical IP address that TCP/IP will use to locate and access this particular NIC on this particular machine. The way this number is defined and the ranges that you can use, are defined in the RFC, (Request for Comments and can be found at HTTP://www.rfc-editor.org/rfcfaq.html), for home machines. For example the 192.168.*.* series of numbers, (and others), is reserved for local networks and are not allowed to be used on the Internet. In other words they are for internal use only.

Subnet Mask;

This has to be the same for all machines on your network. Generally it's or very close to this. If you're installing this card for a cable modem or *DSL modem then this number is provided to you by your ISP. Note that the external subnet mask and the internal one do not have to be the same, in fact, they shouldn't be for security reasons.


A router is often called a Gateway. If this NIC that your are now installing for is for your Internet computer then this IP address will be provided by your ISP. If it's for a computer not directly connected to the Internet then it will be the IP address of the internal NIC that connects your Internet machine to the local network and will not be the Gateway IP address that your ISP provides. Of course the Internet machine will have two NICs; one for outside and one for inside. If you're sticking to RFC standards and your Internet machine is your primary machine then most likely it will be

Host Name

The name of your computer. It will most likely be the same as your Workstation name, however, it doesn't have to be. Workstation name is for File and Print services whereas Host name is for TCP/IP services. However, you will find it advantageous if they are the same.

TCP/IP Domain Name

If you have a dedicated IP address, (without restrictions), to the Internet then this is where the name of your site will go. Of course this name will have to be registered with the INTERNIC and tied to your dedicated IP address. You pay an annual fee for that, (or biannual). People wishing to access your site via the Internet will enter this name into their web browser to get to your location. (I.E.: www.cdrom.com.) If you are operating via a dial-up connection with a dynamically allocated IP address, (I.E.: your IP address changes every time you connect to the Internet), then this is of lesser importance and only of use to your local network. If so, put here what you want.

Name Server

Or Domain Name Server. This is a server belonging to your ISP, (or your own local Internet server), which will lookup and translate the web sites that your local network computer(s), will want to connect to on the Internet. Your ISP will provide this for you.

Having achieved all this you have completed this part of the networking installation and so concludes Part 2 of this article. In Part 3 I will move on to configuration-after-reboot and deal with common problems that can arise then and during reboot. Until then remember to always hang up your motherboards to dry after taking them out of the washer; wet motherboards are not a good thing! Good-day from Ben Dragon!