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Basic linking methods

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2015 01:38PM MST
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   Peer-to-Peer WiFi Linking
   Local Linking (V6 and higher only)
   Local Linking with Peer-to-Peer Wifi Linking (V6 and higher only)
   Simple TCP/IP (BETA)
   Linking with serial cable
   Linking with an Ethernet cable
   The Internet and peer-to-peer WiFi linking
   More than one reader

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   Premium linking methods

When computers are linked in TypeWell, the text typed by the transcriber is sent immediately to the linked reader devices. Similarly, anything typed on the reader devices will be displayed to the transcriber. In some configurations, readers can see what the other readers type, as well as what the transcriber types; in other configurations the readers are not able to see one another's typing and can see only what the transcriber types.

TypeWell features a variety of methods to link a transcriber with one or more readers. The linking methods discussed below require only the Basic version of the TypeWell software. To use remote linking via the Internet, or to allow a reader to use his or her own mobile device (e.g. an iPad or smartphone), the Premium version of TypeWell is required. If you are unsure which TypeWell version you need, see Which version of the Transcriber software do I need?

The Master Linking Control

You must have two things turned ON for linking to work. First, you must enable the type(s) of linking you want to use for that session, so that a check mark appears next to the "By XXX" entry on the Link menu of the TypeWell Transcriber program. For instance, if you want to use Serial linking, you need "By Serial..." to be checked on the Link menu. To enable one or more types of linking, click the entry you want from the Link menu, which will open a dialog box. Then follow the onscreen instructions in the dialog box, as needed, to configure that linking feature.

This second step is easy to miss! You must turn on the master linking control, which is the first entry on the Link menu in the TypeWell Transcriber program. Make sure the top of the Link menu reads "Linking On." This control gives you a fast way to turn all linking on and off without having to adjust the individual configuration for each type of link.

Peer-to-peer WiFi Linking

The TypeWell Peer-to-Peer linking method (also known as "ad hoc" or "IP" linking) works with all earlier versions of TypeWell. This method has two parts: 1) using a computer-to-computer WiFi connection; and 2) entering special IP addresses when configuring the Wireless Network Connection Properties.

To use Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking, the computer's wireless connection must be set up exactly as described in the detailed wireless configuration instructions online: for Windows 8 and 10, for Windows XP, for Windows 7 and Vista or on an Apple Mac with Parallels. This wireless configuration is usually best done by a person with some technical expertise.

The Peer-to-Peer settings for wireless "take over" the computers' wireless cards (adapters). Once configured for Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking, you won't be able to use the wireless adapters to connect to other computers, and even if your site provides wireless access to the Internet, you won't be able to access the Internet from that TypeWell computer. But if you're using Windows 7/Vista or Windows 8/10, you can Use batch files to switch IP addresses automatically!

ATTENTION Windows 8  and 10 users:  

Windows 8 users must have administrative privileges in order to create an ad hoc (peer-to-peer) network, which is required for TypeWell's peer-to-peer linking. In the transition to Windows 8, Microsoft removed many graphical options for configuring/managing ad hoc networks, so there are a number of extra steps to take to get a Windows 8 PC connected. Those steps are explained in detail with helpful screenshots in this article: Peer-to-Peer WiFi configuration (Windows 8 and 10).

Local Linking (available in V6 and higher)

Local Linking is a TypeWell feature that allows you to link two or more TypeWell computers that are in proximity to one another, using whatever local network is available. "Local" simply means that both computers must be connected to the same local network or SSID. Examples of local networks include:

  • the campus network that you connect to for WiFi internet 
  • a "virtual" hosted network that you create on your computer

  • some Bluetooth networks
  • wired LAN connections

Local Linking is a good alternative for those using TypeWell with Windows 8, since Windows 8 does not support Peer-to-peer Linking. See the instructions for using Local Linking with Virtual Hosted Network (Windows 8). We also have instructions for Local Linking with Wireless Hosted Network (Windows 7) and to Determine whether your computer supports hosted networks.

To use Local linking in TypeWell, first get the computers connected to the same local network or SSID using Windows. (A WiFi network name is also known as the SSID.) Usually this means they must be in the same room as well.

Once the computers are connected to the same network, go to the Link menu in TypeWell and choose "By Local network/WiFi..." Follow the directions in the dialog to make up a "subnet" name. Remember to check the "Enabled" box next to that subnet name, to turn ON Local linking.

For each of the other computers to be linked, follow the same two steps above, entering the same subnet name in the dialog box. TypeWell will link all computers on the local network that share the same subnet name.

Peer-to-peer with Local Linking

This section is intended for those who are expert in the configuration of WiFi connections, or who are already familiar with the Peer-to-Peer linking configuration steps that were required in earlier versions of TypeWell.

While the easiest way to set up Local linking is to use the existing Internet connection, for long-term use the most versatile type of network for Local linking is to configure the computers for computer-to-computer WiFi, also known as Peer-to-Peer or ad-hoc WiFi. This allows the computers to communicate even without the presence of Internet base stations.

Peer-to-peer is the only type of network that will work in every environment, both in the classroom and on field trips. However, in some classroom environments, there may be so many other computers present that they overwhelm a Peer-to-Peer system. A symptom of this is a link that drops out intermittently, but only when many other people nearby are using the same network. In that case, the regular Internet (technically known as an infrastructure network) may be more reliable, because then you'll be "joining them" instead of "fighting them."

To configure a TypeWell computer for Peer-to-Peer linking, also known as computer-to-computer or ad-hoc mode, see steps 6 through 11 of the wireless instructions for your particular operating system, by following the appropriate link in the Peer-to-Peer WiFi section below.

NOTE: You never need step 12 for Local linking in TypeWell V6. That is, you can configure a Peer-to-Peer connection in V6 without setting those special IP addresses in the Wireless Network Connection Properties.

If you only infrequently need linking while away from the classroom Internet connection, you may not need to set up Peer-to-Peer, or you may only need steps 8 through 10. Some computers will automatically "fall back" to using a Peer-to-Peer connection if no Internet connection is available. When the computers are set to do this, they can take up to 60 seconds to give up on an Internet connection and fall back to the Peer-to-Peer link instead.

If you upgrade from an earlier version of TypeWell to a newer version on computers that were already configured for Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking, it is not necessary to "undo" that special configuration in the Wireless Network Connection Properties. After you upgrade, Local linking should work as long as all the linked computers have Local linking enabled. However, if some of the linked computers are still running an earlier version of TypeWell, the upgraded computers must use Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking instead of Local linking.

Simple TCP/IP Linking New! BETA

Simple TCP/IP Linking enables the TypeWell Transcriber program to link to a TCP/IP port. This is for use with software programs that receive text that way, or specialized devices such as closed captioning encoders.

screenshot of TypeWell linking menu with Simple TCP/IP option highlighted

When this linking option is enabled, the default TCP/IP address is 127.0.0.1 (i.e. the address of the transcriber's computer) and the default port is 9740. These are the default settings for connecting with the iCap software. If you're using different third-party software or hardware, you may need to change those address and port settings according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serial Cable Linking

Serial cable linking is easy if you have the following:

  • Two Windows computers, each with a link-capable version of TypeWell. Check by pulling down the Options or Link menu in TypeWell on each computer. If the menu has a Serial Link entry, it is link-capable.

  • A 9-pin serial port on each computer. Many modern notebook computers don't have a serial port built in. The most common solution is to get a USB-to-serial-port converter.

  • The serial port enabled. On some newer computers, the serial port is disabled in the BIOS. Check this by going to Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device manager, opening the Ports(COM & LPT) entry, and seeing if your COM1 or COM2 is enabled. If not, access the BIOS menu when the computer is booting up, to turn it on.

  • An appropriate serial cable (in technical terms, a null-modem 9-pin female-to-female serial cable). We don't sell serial cables, but good quality ones at a good price are available from Cablesnmor or Amazon.

To activate Serial linking, just connect the cable between the two computers, and turn on the Serial Link entry in the Options or Link menu on each computer. In the bottom right corner of the TypeWell screen, the readout will change from "Link Disabled" to "Searching" for a brief moment, and then will automatically change to "Linked on serial cable" when the computers detect each other. This is nearly instantaneous when the steps above have been followed.

Ethernet Cable Linking

It's also possible to use an Ethernet cable to directly link two computers when no internet is available, or when radio noise prevents use of wireless methods.  See Linking with an Ethernet Cable.

The Internet and Peer-to-peer WiFi Linking

Peer-to-peer linking completely takes over the wireless settings. This improves the versatility of the link since the computers can link even when there is no Internet access.

Some users would like to be able to access the Internet from the TypeWell computer. The problem is that several of the steps for setting up Peer-to-Peer linking preclude the use of the Internet along with a reliable TypeWell connection. Unfortunately, there is no way to use a "switcher" program to change all these settings back and forth for the two different uses, particularly step 12.

We recommend this method to quickly switch your IP settings back and forth: "Use batch files to switch IP addresses automatically."

Here are some other ways you can safely connect a TypeWell computer to the Internet.

  • Use Local Linking with an Internet connection or a virtual hosted network, instead of a Peer-to-Peer WiFi network. This can also work away from the Internet, depending on whether the computers are configured to automatically "fall back" to a peer to peer network. However, be aware that it may take as long as 60 seconds for the computers to find each other using this method.

  • Use a wired connection for reaching the Internet. In this configuration, the wireless hardware remains dedicated to TypeWell linking, and the wired network hardware can be used for Internet. Similarly, you can safely use a dial-up connection to access the Internet with no negative effects on the TypeWell wireless settings.

  • Add a second wireless interface to your computer, by purchasing a second 802.11b/g card. Configure this second wireless card to work with the Internet, while leaving the first dedicated to TypeWell. When doing this, we recommend that you remove the Internet wireless card when using the computer for TypeWell linking, both to prevent radio interference, and to avoid having the extra card sticking out of the machine and subject to damage when it's not needed.

  • A method we don't recommend unless you are an expert with wireless, is to manually reconfigure wireless back and forth from one use (Internet) to the other (TypeWell) on a regular basis. 

 

More Than One Reader

It is possible to have more than one reader computer linked to a transcriber computer, so that two or more people can read the transcript at once. For instance, one reader can be linked to the transcriber by a serial cable, and two more could be connected to the transcriber by Local linking over a WiFi network, and all three readers computers would display the real-time transcript from the transcriber.

To link an extra computer using Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking, follow the usual configuration directions (see Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking, above). At step 12 of the configuration, set the IP address for the extra reader computer to an unused value in the same 192.168.247.1 through 192.168.247.4 range used for the others. Since there are 4 available IP addresses in this range, you can have up to 4 computers wirelessly linked together.

With the Premium version of TypeWell Transcriber, you may link any number of readers by using Internal Linking (no Internet connection required).  If WiFi Internet is available, you can also link to unlimited readers over the Internet using Web Linking or Simple Serial Linking.  (See the link to "Premium Linking" at the top of this page.)

Be aware that there is a caveat with linking wirelessly to more than one reader, regardless of whether you use Local linking or Peer-to-Peer WiFi linking. Any typing on the Reader machines will interfere with the transcript displayed on other Reader machines. It's best to plan not to allow any typing on the Reader machines when there are multiple readers linked in this configuration; or, set up a system to permit typing by one reader at a time. This caveat does not apply to other types of links: the serial, IP, Skype, Simple Serial and Web Browser linking methods couple the reader machines directly to the transcriber so that readers do not see each other's typing.

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