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Peer-to-peer WiFi configuration (Windows 7 and Vista)

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2014 04:38PM MST
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   Troubleshooting (below)

NOTE: The following configuration "takes over" the wireless cards on the transcriber and reader laptops, so those computers won't be able to access the Internet simultaneously unless they have a second wireless card or an Ethernet cable.

You might also be interested in:
   Peer-to-peer WiFi configuration (Windows XP)
   Using the Internet and Peer-to-peer WiFi Linking at the same time
   Linking two or more Readers to a Transcriber
   Peer-to-peer Linking on Apple Macs with Parallels


Peer-to-peer WiFi Linking setup for laptops running Windows 7 or Vista

TypeWell will automatically detect and uses a peer-to-peer WiFi link when it's set up correctly. Follow these steps to set up peer-to-peer WiFi linking between a transcriber laptop and a reader laptop.

1.

 

[TypeWell on both machines] Start with two computers running Windows, each with TypeWell Transcriber or TypeWell Reader software installed. (Note that TypeWell Everywhere does not have any linking capability and should not be used to provide real-time communication access.)

2.

 

[Find wireless hardware] Find the wireless hardware settings on both machines by looking at the "Network Connections" window. To get there in Windows 7 or Vista, go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings (on the left side).

In the list of network connections, see if a wireless network connection is listed.

You'll be using this again in step 6. For now, once you find the wireless network connection settings, go on to step 3.

  • [Not plugged in?] If your wireless is provided by a separate card that plugs into the computer, make sure you plug that in now. The wireless entry won't show up in the Network Connections window until you plug the card in. Once you plug the card in you may need to close and re-open the Network Connections window to see the change.

  • [Turned off?] If you don't have wireless listed, but you think the computer is supposed to have wireless built-in, it may be that it's not turned on. Look at the ports and switches around the base of the computer, on the front under the keyboard, and the special little buttons between the screen and the keyboard, to see if there's one marked with a symbol that looks like a radio antenna or that has concentric sound-wave sorts of cartoon lines emanating from it. If you find it, make sure the accompanying switch is in the On position.
     

  • [No such hardware?] If your computer does not have a wireless adapter then you need to purchase one. For most computers you can do this by buying either an 802.11b or an 802.11b/g wireless adapter that plugs into the computer's card slot or USB port. Install the adapter according to the manufacturer's directions. Then go back to the start of step 2 to make sure you can now see the wireless hardware settings.

    Any 802.11b or 802.11b/g card will theoretically work; however, some off-brand cards have reliability problems.
     

  • [No Bluetooth] These instructions are designed to help you get the most common type of wireless working. This type is called 802.11b or 802.11g, also know as WiFi. Your computer may have a different type of wireless called Bluetooth. The main thing to know about Bluetooth is that it is incompatible with WiFi. That means one computer using Bluetooth cannot talk to another that's using WiFi. We recommend you get WiFi on both computers. It's ok to have Bluetooth as well; just don't use it for TypeWell.
     

    A few TypeWell sites do use Bluetooth successfully, but we don't recommend it because the range of Bluetooth connections is so short that it may not even be able to reach across a full classroom. Also, we have not performed reliability tests with Bluetooth as we have with WiFi, so we can't help if you run into reliability problems.

3.

 

[Enable wireless] Make sure the wireless hardware is enabled. Check this by looking at the wireless entry in the Network Connections window. Below the title of the connection it'll give the status. If it says Enabled or Connected or displays the name of a local network to which it's currently connected (e.g. your home or campus network), then you're fine.

  • [Disabled?] If the wireless entry in the Network Connections window says Disabled, then right-click on that icon, and choose Enable from the menu.

 
  • [Not connected?] If the wireless entry in the Network Connections window says Disconnected or Not connected, then make sure the antenna is turned on. Look at the ports and switches around the base of the computer, on the front under the keyboard, and the special little buttons between the screen and the keyboard, to see if there's one marked with a symbol that looks like a radio antenna or that has sound-wave sorts of lines emanating from it. Make sure the switch is in the On position. Not every computer has a switch like this.


    Note: some computers (such as some Toshibas) have both this a dedicated wireless button somewhere on the case, and a Fn- key for controlling wireless. On such computers you must make sure the physical wireless button is on. The Fn- key alone isn't enough to connect the wireless.


    If you can't find the switch, or if you find it and the connection remains Not connected after you turn it on, that's ok. Continue with the next step.


    Once you change the setting of this switch, on some computers (such as some Compaqs), you may need to restart Windows to make the computer notice the change.
     

4.

 

[Manufacturer connection (optional)] This step is not necessary in setting up your TypeWell wireless, but is valuable if you're having a lot of trouble getting wireless to work, because it can prove whether the problem is that your wireless hardware is broken, or that it's a settings problem. A good approach is to skip this step the first time, and come back to this only if you can't get wireless working.

To do this step, you must have an internet wireless access point available at your location. If other people near you are able to access the internet wirelessly from their computers, that means there is such an access point. Your goal is to connect both of your computers to the internet just as they are doing.

To make this connection to the internet, follow the directions that came with your wireless hardware. If other computers are able to wirelessly connect to the Internet at your location but yours will not, call the tech support department of the manufacturer of your wireless hardware. They get hundreds of calls from users setting up their specific brand of wireless hardware, and they are usually very good at helping you past any problems with the basic card configuration.

5.

 

[Half way!] At this point, you're half-way to having your TypeWell wireless configured.

The next few steps are all aspects of the Network that your wireless will be connecting to. You may have successfully connected to the Internet if you performed optional step 4 above. Now, you're going to connect your wireless to a special TypeWell-only network. Once you do this, you will no longer be able to use the wireless card to connect your computer to the Internet. If you want to use both the Internet and TypeWell wireless from the same computer, read about sharing wireless or Use batch files to switch IP addresses automatically.

6.

 

[Find where to set up a special Network] How you set up a special network depends on your wireless hardware. Start by opening your the Network and Sharing Center and verify that the Set up a new connection or network option is listed.

Windows 7 network and sharing center

If you don't have the option to change your network settings using the Network and Sharing Center, you may need to ask your wireless hardware manufacturer how to get into the configuration screen. If possible, get the manufacturer to tell you how to turn off the manufacturer-specific configuration program so that you can use the standard Windows wireless configuration windows.

7.

 

The rest of these Network-configuration instructions tell how to set your wireless up using the standard wireless configuration controls in Windows 7 or Vista. If you have a manufacturer-specific configuration method, or a different version of Windows, you'll need to adapt these instructions accordingly, or call the manufacturer's tech support to ask how to achieve the same settings.

8.

 

[Ad-hoc mode] Set up a new Network for use by TypeWell, in ad hoc mode. In the Network and Sharing Center, click Set up a new connection or network. This will start the network creation wizard. Choose the option Create an ad hoc network and then click Next, twice.

Windows 7 set up a connection or network

Note for Windows 7 Starter users: The Starter edition of Windows 7 does not show the ad hoc option that is needed for TypeWell linking. To find it, use Start menu search for "adhoc".

9.

 

[SSID/Network name] This step is the most important for making sure your two computers can wirelessly communicate — they must be using the same network name. The first field is where you fill in the Network name (SSID). Make up a name for the private network these two machines will be using to communicate. In the example below, we just used the name "TypeWell."

Both machines in a pair must use the same Network name; but if you are setting up more than one pair of TypeWell computers, give each pair a separate Network name so that they won't crosstalk and interfere with each other. For instance, one pair might use the network TypeWellA and another pair might use the network TypeWellB. Use the same capitalization for the network name on both computers.

10.

 

[Encryption off] Now in the drop down menu below where you typed in your network name you must select No authentication (open). This will cause the 3rd field in the wizard to become greyed out.

Check the Save this network box and click Next at the bottom of the window.

There will be a pause while Windows sets up the network. When it is finished click Close and you should see your chosen Network name from step 9 listed in the networks list.

11.

 

[Remove other Networks (optional)]Cleaning out the list of other wireless networks will help make your TypeWell wireless connection work reliably day in and day out. This prevents Windows from attempting connections to other networks and thereby losing the TypeWell connection.>



In the Network and Sharing Center, click Manage wireless networks on the left. You just added your TypeWell network to this list. Your goal now is to remove all the other Networks from the list, so that only your TypeWell network remains.

Windows 7 Manage wireless networks

Click a name in the list (other than the TypeWell one you just added), then click the Remove button. Repeat until all the names except your TypeWell network are gone.

12.

 

[IP addresses 192.168.247.1 and .2] To set the wireless IP address to the valid TypeWell values, follow these steps:

In the Manage wireless networks list that you just cleared out, select the TypeWell network that you just created and then click Adapter properties.

There's a scrollable box below the label This connection uses the following items. Scroll down to the bottom of this list and look for an entry called Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). If there is more than one such entry, pick the one that mentions your wireless device or Version 4

Select the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) entry and click on the Properties button just below the scrollable box. This brings up the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties window. The General tab should already be selected.

Click on the second radio button Use the following IP addresses.

In the IP address field, type 192.168.247.1 on one of your computers. Type 192.168.247.2 in this field on the other computer. If you had a third computer in the same network as these first two, you'd use 192.168.247.3 for it. TypeWell can never use IP addresses higher than 192.168.247.4.

Press the Tab key on the keyboard. This will cause the Subnet mask field to fill in with the value 255.255.255.0.

Press Enter or click OK to this window.

Click the Close button at the bottom of the remaining window. This will activate all your changes.

If a message appears about an IP Address Conflict, you've accidentally used the same IP address on both computers. They must each have a different IP address. Set one of them to 192.168.247.1, and the other to 192.168.247.2. ​

13.

 

[Turn on TypeWell] You've finished setting up peer-to-peer wireless network!

There is one last step: find the network icon in the system tray  and use it to click Connect to the new network you've set up.

Now, we'll test that it's working.

Start TypeWell on both computers. Click on the Link menu on each computer and look for the "by Wireless" or "by Peer-to-peer WiFi" menu item. If the Wireless option is greyed out on one of the computers, see "Still Grey?" below.

TypeWell Link menu

14.

 

[Turn on TypeWell wireless option] Under TypeWell's Link menu, select the by Wireless or By Peer-to-peer WiFi item and check the box to Enable wireless linking or Enable Peer-to-peer WiFi Linking.

Then check the TypeWell Link menu to make sure that the entry near the top says Linking ON. If it says Linking Off, then click Linking On.

​If a window comes up that says something like TypeWell is trying to access the network, make sure you choose the option that lets TypeWell do so! Such a window would be your firewall program trying overeagerly to protect you.

Once you've turned the Wireless menu item on on both computers, the Link menu may flash for a moment and then it should change to say "Linked."  (In versions of TypeWell prior to V5, they'll show "Searching wireless" for a moment in the status line at the bottom right of TypeWell's window, and then they both should switch within a few seconds to saying Linked on Wireless in that bottom corner on both computers.) If one or both of the TypeWell programs continues to flash "Linking" or "Searching wireless", see "Still Searching?" below.

Once you see this Linked (or Linked on wireless on older versions) message on both computers, anything typed on one TypeWell will be transmitted to the other. It works! ​

14b.

 

[Set autoconnect (optional)] Windows 7 won't automatically connect to an ad-hoc network by itself, making you manually click the Connect button each time you start your computer. However, you can set TypeWell to start the connection for you (only available in some versions of TypeWell). Just enter your network name from step 9 into the box in TypeWell's Wireless Linking dialog box (if applicable).

15.

 

[Test a power-up] Sometimes you'll get wireless working once, but it won't work correctly when the machines turn on the next day. Test that by shutting off both computers, and then turning them back on and trying step 13 again. If they won't link, the problem is likely that you didn't perform the remove the other wireless network connections in step 11, so you're not getting a reliable connection on the TypeWell network. Re-check step 11.

16.

 

[Add Security afterwards] If you have any trouble getting your TypeWell connection to work the first time, make sure that you are not using any kind of encryption. Turn if off on both computers until you get TypeWell linked.

Once linking is working through step 15, you can go back and make the connection secure. The directions above set you up with a connection that will allow any stranger to connect with your computers. They can't necessarily DO anything to your computer, but to reduce the chances of someone accessing your private files, or messing up something on your computer, you should take these steps.

There are two ways to increase security. You can do either or both. The first and easiest is to prevent sharing of your files with others. To do this, go to Network Connections, right-click on your wireless network icon, click Properties, the look in the scrollable list for the File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks item. This item allows other computers to wirelessly connect to your computer. Un-check the box next to it if you don't want to permit this. Note that you'll still be able to connect to someone else's printer on their computer — this just prevents them from connecting to your files or printer, if you have one.

The second security measure you can take is to use encryption over the wireless connection. This can be pretty frustrating to get right, and many people use TypeWell with only the first security step above to prevent outside access to their files. But if you are a techie and understand what WEP is, and you want to go the extra mile, go to the Wireless Networks tab in this same window, click on your TypeWell network in the Preferred networks list, and click Properties. Set the Data encryption to WEP (or to one of the other choices for even higher security, such as TKIP). Make sure the The key is provided for me automatically checkbox is not checked. Fill in the Network key with the password you choose. Make sure that you type the exact same password on both computers, or they won't be able to communicate with each other.

TROUBLESHOOTING (peer-to-peer WiFi on Windows XP)

Still Grey?

If you followed the above instructions but the Wireless menu item on TypeWell's Link menu was still grey in step 13, something went wrong in steps 8-12. Make sure to do these steps on both computers. If you think you got them right, here is a test you can perform.

Run the ipconfig program to see how the wireless is set up. Do this by going to the Start menu, clicking on the Run... item, typing cmd, and pressing Enter. A black window will come up. Now type ipconfig and press Enter. It'll print out information about your different network connections. Look for the one named wireless or Wi-Fi or 802.11.

If it says "Media disconnected", it means that:

  • you need to click Connect using the network icon in the system tray (see step 13), or

  • your wireless card is disabled (see step 3), or

  • your antenna is switched off (see step 3), or

  • your wireless is not able to find a matching Network (check steps 8-10 on both computers), or

  • possible hardware problem (go back to step 4 to get some kind of connection working).

If it lists an IP Address for the wireless connection, but it's not 192.168.247.1 or 192.168.247.2, it means that:

  • You didn't set the wireless IP address correctly (see step 12). Make sure you're correctly choosing the wireless icon in the Control Panel's Network Connections window -- if you chose the wrong icon, you were accidentally setting the IP address for some other network device on your computer.
 

Still Searching Wireless?

If you followed the above instructions but the TypeWell still blinks the Link menu or says searching wireless on one or both of the computers, here are some tests to perform.

If tne computer says Searching wireless but the other says Linked on wireless, it's likely a firewall problem:
  • Either the Windows standard firewall program, or some added firewall program like Symantec or McAfee, is blocking TypeWell's use of the network. Locate all of your firewall programs, and either disable them entirely, or make sure they allow TypeWell to use the network.
  • The Windows Vista firewall can be accessed by going to Control Panel and under the Security heading choose Allow a program through Windows Firewall. Click the Exceptions tab and make sure there is an entry for TypeWell and that it is checked.​
  • Added firewalls like Symantec or McAfee can be accessed by looking on the Start menu's Programs list, and looking for anything that says Symantec, McAfee, or firewall.

If both computers say Searching wireless:

  • See if they are on the same network by going to Control Panel's Network Connections window and clicking on the wireless connection icon. This shows the wireless status; the first line Status should show Connected, and the second line Network shows the name of the network connected to. Make sure that both computers are connected, and to the same Network.

  • If a machine is not connected to the Network you named in step 9, go back and look at steps 8-11 again. Be sure to Close the windows to save your changes if you adjust anything.

  • If the machines are Connected and have the same Network name, it's a firewall problem on both machines. Read the instructions regarding firewalls in the bullet item above.

 

Connects, but Unreliably

If you have TypeWell linking some of the time, but it loses the connection frequently or intermittently, here are some things to try:

  • Get the newest driver for your wireless card from the manufacturer's web site. Many cards have a problem with the drivers when first released; often a driver update will fix a problem. More information about updating drivers on the Microsoft Windows website.

  • Turn off the power-saver option for the wireless card configuration. It is rumored to cause a disconnection. To turn power management features off:

    1. Open Network and Sharing Center (click the Start button, type Network and Sharing in the Start Search box, and press Enter).

    2. Click the Change adapter settings link in the upper left of the navigation pane.

    3. Right click the network connection you want to enable/disable power management support on and click Properties .

    4. Click Configure .

    5. On the Power Management tab, clear the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power check box.

      • When checked, power management is enabled on the network adapter. 
      • When cleared, power management is disabled on the network adapter. 


Can't Get Linking To Work

If you can't make the instructions above work for you, try step 4 -- contact the manufacturer of your wireless hardware. They can work with you to see if you have a hardware problem.

One way to check whether you're getting at least a partial connection between the computers, is to use the ping program. To do this, go to the Start menu and choose Run... Type cmd and press Enter so that a black Command Prompt window appears. Type ipconfig and make sure the IP address for one of the computers is 192.168.247.1, and for the other computer is 192.168.247.2. Then on the computer that has the .1 IP address, type ping 192.168.247.2. This will attempt to contact the second computer over your wireless. If it works you'll see Reply from... lines. Otherwise it'll give errors or say no response. If you don't have a connection, see the section above still searching wireless.
 

Standby, Hibernation, and Linking on Some Brands

​Some brands of computers become confused when TypeWell is linked while the computer is put into standby, suspend, or hibernation mode. When such computers are resumed, TypeWell can freeze. If you experience such a freeze-on-resume while TypeWell is linked, be sure to unlink TypeWell on one or both of your computers before suspending them. The easiest way to do this is to close TypeWell just before suspending.
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