Falcon to Wireless Internet! (using serial null modem and PC with USB - includes file transfer)

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How to connect an Atari Falcon wirelessly to the Internet (sort of!)

This document describes how to get your Atari Falcon (or even ST) on the internet using the serial port, a null modem cable, a serial to USB converter and a Windows PC connected to the Internet via a wireless router. This set up would also work with a non-wireless router and has even been tested on a Mac running Windows under the program Parallels. The procedure essentially adds the Atari to a LAN on which the PC sits. This means protocols such as FTP can also be used across this connection to locally transfer files between the machines.

Apologies in advance for any grammatical or other silly errors. I wrote this in one go and it nearly killed me... as such I really couldn't be arsed to check it through! I'm hoping someone else will be able to do that and provide some feedback and/or corrections!

Setting up the Atari

On the Atari you will need to have Sting installed and running - I used v1.26. I wont explain how to install Sting as this is already well documented elsewhere, although once you think you have Sting running OK, I suggest using the Sting dialer to ping 127.0.0.1 (under Tools button/Ping Host) to check you get a response and therefore that Sting is working.

I generally found this LAN set-up only worked properly when using static (i.e. user defined) IP addresses for both machines. When describing the settings I will use the IP addresses that worked for me, but feel free to adjust them if you know what you are doing. If not, I recommend just copying mine! Although you need to make sure the first two parts of the address are the same as your router. My router's address is 192.168.1.1, so I had to use IP addresses that started with 192.168 - there seemed to be some problems if the Atari was on the same class C address as the existing PC/router network hence the settings I have used.

Plug in one end of the null modem cable to the serial port on the Atari, and the other end to the USB/serial converter which obviously needs to be plugged into a free USB port on your PC.

So, on to the first control panel...

Serial.cpx

Remember this is on a Falcon. The serial port on the Falcon is “Modem 2” so you need to select this under the drop down menu. If you are using an ST it is probably “Modem 1”. (Make sure you also get this correct in the route.tab file when you are setting up Sting). Next make sure the 2nd drop down shows “Parameters”. The settings here should be as follows:

115200bps (on a plain ST the maximum you can use is 19k) 8 bits No Parity 1 stop bits FlowCTRL: RTS/CTS

Now go to the Parameters drop-down and select “Drivers”. Here set the send and receive buffers to something sensible (I used 256) and also select DTR. This is important so that the PC can connect. NOTE: Even after saving, this DTR setting seems to always reset itself to off - meaning every time you restart your Atari you will have to check to make sure it is on, otherwise you won't be able to connect again.

Now save and OK and lets move on to Sting Port Setup.cpx

Sting Port Setup.cpx

Again select “Modem 2” from the 2nd drop-down menu (or equivalent on an ST). Under the Addressing section enter the IP address you want to use for the Atari (I used 192.168.2.10).

MTU = 1500 (This is standard for LAN on WinXP, but may have to be changed on older Windows set-ups)

Now select General from the first drop-down, ensuring you are still on Modem 2 settings. Here tick the box for PPP, but do not use Van Jacobson Compression.

Sting Protocols.cpx

Select the Resolver section from the drop-down. Under Name Server, enter the IP address of your router (mine is 192.168.1.1, but yours will almost definitely be different). If you are not using a router then you will need to find the address of your DNS as used by your Windows machine. Only in this case might you need to enter a domain. (Otherwise remove any existing domain).

Sting Internals.cpx

The only thing to do here is tick the Active box!

Make sure all the settings are saved in all CPX's and go back the Sting Port Setup.cpx and select “Active” and click OK. Clicking Active here makes Sting listen to the serial port in order to answer the call that will be coming in from your PC later...

Setting up your PC

Create a null modem

Go to control panels and select “Phone and Modem Options”. Then select the “Modems” tab. Click “Add...”.

When the Add Hardware wizard appears click the “Don't detect my modem, I will select it from a list” and click Next. Select Standard Modem Types in the left window, and “Communications cable between two computers” in the right hand window. (If this is missing download these drivers from the internet). Click Next. Select which port it is on (whichever you have assigned the USB to serial converter to when you installed the drivers) and click Next. Set the same settings here as you did for the Atari serial port. NOTE: the RTS/CTS flow control is called “Hardware” in Windows!

Create a connection

Now go to the Network Connections control panel. Create a new connection. Select “Set Up An Advanced Connection” then “Connect Directly To Another Computer”. Then make sure you select “Guest” and continue. Name your connection as you wish (Falcon Net maybe!) and then select the Communications cable between two computers as the device (i.e. the COM port that corresponds to your USB converter and serial cable).

A new connection should appear in the Network connections list under “Direct” with your chosen name.

Select this connection, right-click and select Properties.

Select the Options tab and make sure only “Display Progress While Connecting” and “Prompt for name and password etc.” are ticked.

Next on the security tab click “Advanced (custom settings)” and click the settings button. Make sure “Allow these protocols” is selected with all the options ticked. The last option “for MS-CHAPS based....” can be left unselected. Data encryption should be set as “Optional encryption”

Now under the Networking tab make sure the dial-up server is PPP. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP in the window below and ensure it is ticked. Keeping it highlighted click on properties. Here set “Use the following IP address and enter the IP address you would like to use (I used 192.168.2.11). I actually ended up leaving the “Use the following DNS server” blank. Click advanced and on the general tab make sure “Use default gateway on remote computer” is NOT ticked. This is very important as the internet on your Atari will never work when this is ticked! No IP header compression either. On the WINS tab, disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

Adjust firewall settings

For this I assume you only have the standard windows firewall running. If not you are on your own to figure out the equivalent settings adjustments!

Open up the Windows Firewall in Control Panel and click on the “Advanced” tab. Here make sure that you untick your new Falcon Net (or whatever you called it!) from the list otherwise Windows will block packets heading to the Atari.

Share your Internet connection

Now select your wireless network, or whichever network allows you internet access. Right-click on it and select properties. Select advanced tab and check the tick box next to “Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection”.

Click OK and you are ready to test your network!!


Connecting Atari and PC. Finally!

Right, now all you have to do is right-click on your new Falcon Net and select “Connect”. (Make sure you definitely made the Sting Port active on the Atari!). When it prompts you for a username and a password make sure they are blank and click Connect. Very shortly you should get a status bubble saying you are connected.

At this point you can use FTP etc. (make sure you connect using the IP addresses you specified) or even connect to the internet. I found the only browser that would correctly pick up the Sting connection was Highwire 0.3.2 so get yourself a copy of that... If you get a 'header timeout error' when entering an URL, try restarting the PC and doing nothing other than connecting to the Atari. That worked for me for some reason! And if you can get CAB to work without timing out please let me know how. It should work but I cant get it to!

And remember, when you turn off your Atari, it might reset some of the Sting settings so check those! Especially the serial.cpx one!!

Good luck and PM me on Atari-Forum[1] with any feedback/problems and I will do my best to help!

Mr.JT (2008)



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