The Warped SOHO- by Collin Summers

Welcome to the third installment of "the Warped SOHO". I have appreciated receiving so many e-mails about my column. The most requested subject that people seem to want to learn more about is connecting computers together. This is a perfect situation for OS/2 Warp Connect; it contains almost everything that the SOHO needs to easily connect computers either in one site or from remote sites. So this installment of the Warped SOHO will dig into the creation of the "Warped TAN" (Tiny Area Network).

Let's begin with the requirements. Hardware-wise you'll need two computers at the minimum (if that isn't already obvious). If you are planning on connecting two computers at the same site you'll also need two network interface cards. (The latest version of "Warp Start" has a new file called NICWC30.TXT which lists some Network Interface Cards (NIC) cards tested for Warp Connect.) You can also check out the hardware compatibility chart to see what adapter should work. In most cases an NE2000 compatible card will work. If you choose to use one of these cards check out WARPNET.ZIP since there are known problems with the NE2000 drivers included with Warp Connect.

You can also choose to use a parallel port connection in your TAN but I don't recommend this for three reasons. One, it's harder to set up; two, it's not very fast; and three, most computers only have one parallel port which makes it hard to use a printer with this type of connection. If you plan to connect to remote sites then you'll need a modem at each, preferably high speed modems such as 28.8 bps models.

As for the computers' resources, I would suggest that they have a minimum of 12 Megs of RAM, otherwise performance with Warp Connect won't be very good. Remember that more memory is often more beneficial than a faster processor. As for drive space I would recommend at least 150 meg of hard-drive space to install Warp Connect and its network features. If possible, a separate partition for Warp Connect is desirable to keep things more organized, although not necessary.

As an example, I am going to use two computers, as this is a very common situation in a small home office. However this approach easily works with more than two computers, in fact I have helped to implement this in small offices with up to 15 computers. And I am sure you could have more than that; however, if you plan to have many more users than 15, a full network environment such as Lan Server or Warp Server might be more desirable. Before we install Warp Connect make sure you have the network cards installed and wired together. Also make sure you have the OS/2 drivers for your NICs on disk if they are not already a part of Warp Connect.

The Install

OK now lets go through an install. If you are not using the C: drive to install Warp Connect then you need to select ADVANCED INSTALL, otherwise EASY INSTALL should be just fine. I highly suggest that you decide how to set up your system before doing anything.

If you use the EASY INSTALL, a panel will pop up asking if you want to install OS/2 PEER. Answer yes. Now you will need to enter a workstation name and description; I suggest using descriptive names. I used POWER TOWER for my main Pentium based computer and entered "My Main Warped Computer" as the description. I entered VIRTUALOFC as my domain name. However you can use any names that you want, and of course, the defaults work just fine as well. You will then be asked if you want NetWare and then TCP/IP. Answer "No" to these options for "The Warped TAN" we are creating. If you need these options feel free to install them now, but you can go back later and install then as well.

Warp connect will churn for a while to see if it recognizes your NIC card. Select the proper NIC card if Warp Connect didn't find the correct one. If your adapter card is not listed you need to select "other" and insert the diskette with the right driver into the A: drive. Make sure that the path displayed points to a file with the ending ".NIF". Also make sure that the OS/2 NIC driver is in that path. If that still doesn't work, check with your network card vendor to see if they can help. Also check the Device Driver Home Page to see if a driver for your card is there.

Once you've got the right card in your list, highlight it and select OK. Now click on "Change" and check that the IRQs and address for the NIC card are correct. You also need to make sure that the IRQ and IO address are not in use by another part of your system. To do this type "RMVIEW" from an OS/2 command prompt with "/IRQ" for IRQs and "/IO" for hardware addresses.

Initial Setup

Once the install is done, it will have to reboot a few times and can take a hour or so depending on the speed of the computer. You'll be prompted to enter a default user-id and password so you can log on and manage the peer resources on that machine. If the office is small enough just a first name should work great for the user names. If the office is little bigger, a good practice is first initial and last name. Make sure that you remember these, otherwise you'll need to start over to set up the LAN or logon and use its resources.

OK now that this is done you can install the other computers which are going to be on your peer TAN. Make sure they're attached to one another! To install Warp Connect on the remote machines the easy way, you just need to go into the "OS/2 Warp Connect Install/Remove" folder and select "Warp Connect Remote Install". Create the two disks needed for each NIC type you are using (most likely they will all have the same NIC, otherwise you'll need to make multiple sets). Once the disks are made, you can boot the remote computers with them, making sure that you have the OS/2 Warp Connect CD-ROM in the CD-ROM of the first machine, and install each machine following the same steps as above until you are done with all of your computers on your Warped TAN. Just make sure to use the same domain name for each machine so that they can easily share resources.

If you have problems installing Warp Connect check out "Warp Start" and the usenet groups for more help.

User Administration and Setup

Now that the machines are up and running and "the WARPED TAN" is installed we need to configure the users. If you defined yourself with the same password for all the workstations you can easily manage the users from any workstation. What you need to do now is make a few decisions. The first one is who needs to have access to each machine. By this I mean do some people need to log on from different machines and get to their resources, or do you only need to worry about them on one machine?

Make sure that all the machines are up and running and open the UPM Services folder. Here you can select either LOCAL or REMOTE workstation management. First select local and define any users who need to use the machine you are on from the "Manage Users" pull-down menu. Most likely you'll define them as Users only, so that they have no control over access control or creation and deletion of resources. However, you can give some people more control if you want to. If you check the "Accounts Operator" box, they will be able to control access to that PC's resources. Now define any other machines the users will need to access. To do this, in UPM select the "Actions" pull-down menu and then click "Select destination" and enter the computer's PEER name.

Resource Administration and Setup

Now that we have some users we need to setup the resources on each computer for them to use. Unlike user administration you must go to each computer that is going to share resources to set them up. Open the "Peer Sharing and Connecting" in the PEER SERVICES folder. On the SHARES page we'll set up the resources which will be shared by that computer. Click on the "Share" pull down and select CREATE. In the case of a CD-ROM drive, select the drive radio button and then select the CD-ROM drive to share. Give it a description which explains what it is, such as Collin's CD-ROM Drive, and then select "Grant access". In here we need to define who has access to the resource.

You could also use groups here to define access to a resource instead of on a person by person basis. Another option is "Basic" (which I use for printers) which assigns everyone access to a resource. The "Audit this resource" option will keep a text log of all activity for a device. For a CD-ROM drive select "Read Only", for a hard-drive you can select from either "Read Only" or "Read/Write" depending on what kind of information it is and how you want it used.

Also, if you have a modem that you want shared, you can grant everyone access to it but limit the number of concurrent users to one to protect from any application resetting the modem on someone. The option to limit the number of people accessing a resource can also help reduce system load. However, this is not much of a concern for resources other than the communication ports except when you have a larger number of users or lower end hardware.

Once you are done assigning resources your users should be able to use modems, printers and drives on other peer machines that they have access to when they log on. If something doesn't work, make sure it works on the machine on which it's physically located then make sure you have assigned access to that machine. Otherwise check out the news groups or "Warp Start" for some more help. Remember you can always go back and change the settings around until they work best in your environment.

It's also easy to share resources on the fly. Simply right-click on the object for that resource and select "Share". From there you can start sharing, stop sharing, configure sharing, control access, or apply access permissions. So if you decided to share something across your peer but only for a short time, you can use the desktop menus to control it. This also allows you to stop sharing a resource if, for example, you need to use a different CD-ROM and don't want anyone getting access to it.

Hopefully this helps you set up a Warped TAN. If you have any other topics related to this, or for that matter, any topic, drop me a note.

Until next time, remember that if the US NAVY can run OS/2 Warp it should have no problem keeping your business afloat. Definitions

DOMAIN
A collection of computers and their resources.
TAN
Tiny Area Network
PEER
A computer on that can share its resources as well as share resources on other computers.
NIC
Network Interface Card
UPM
User Profile Management

Collin W. Summers is president of CSSolutions Inc., a small computer consulting firm in central Illinois, specializing in OS/2 and related products. Currently he spends much of his time doing technical support/marketing for IBM. He also contributes to OS/2 Warp Monthly.

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