October 01, 2002

Connecting your Palm to a LAN

A user's guide to getting onto a network with Mocha W32 PPP

Hang on - doesn't Mocha have setup info on their site?
Yes it does but, without wishing to offend anyone at Mochasoft, it is pretty brief and, having helped a few others get connected, I thought I'd put up a page with slightly more detail and a few screen shots. All Mochasoft copyrights are acknowledged - this page is simply here to help others enjoy Mochasoft's software, so please don't sue me guys, OK?

Why connect to a LAN anyway - isn't that what my PC is for?
OK, so the Palm was never intended to be a LAN terminal and, for obvious reasons, never will be one but Palm to LAN connectivity has it's uses. If you have direct access to your LAN, you don't need to hook up that modem or IR cellphone to do all that TCP/IP or UDP stuff you want to do. Website authors can carry out repeated checks on how Palm-friendly their website is. Handheld email users can upload and bulk send their replies. Info-junkies can update Avantgo superquick. Techs can use as their Palm as a seperate emulation terminal to monitor ongoing diagnostic tests. Control freaks can even use it for remote PC access.

In Preparation

What you need before you start
It is assumed that your Palm and cradle / connector are fairly standard, that you hotsync through a serial port and that your PC is running one of the following:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows NT
  • Windows 2000

Please note that is no support for USB connections or Visors at this time.
If you have performed the Conklin Systems Battrey Drain Fix 'surgery' on your cradle, Mocha W32 PPP will not work - don't ask me why, I'm in telecommunications not electrical engineering!

Setting up your PC

Downloading and setting up W32 PPP

  1. Go get Mochca W32 PPP from MochaSoft's website.
  2. Save the .exe file to your desktop.
  3. Double click the PPP icon to run the self extracting installation - it is very simple.
  4. Once installed, click Start | Programs | MochaSoft PPP.
  5. If trialling the shareware version, wait for the greyed-out 'I agree' to darken then click on it to bring up the application window.
  6. Choose Configuration from the Settings drop down menu.
  7. Choose the COM port to which your cradle/hotsync cable is attached.
  8. Choose the Baud Rate (port speed) to match that specified in the Connection section of Preferences on your Palm - the best option is to choose the default speed for your OS version as shown. According to MochaSoft, a mis-match of these two values is the most common reason for connectivity failures and calls to Mocha support.
  9. Check the Palm Pilot(sic) radio button.
  10. Under Palm Pilot option, choose your preferred option for how you wish W32 PPP to share the COM port with Palm's HotSync Manager. Mocha state that PPP asking Hotsync to free the port is the best solution, I prefer to have PPP terminate/start HotSync to gain access to the port. Experiment to see which of the three offered is best for you.
  11. Use the 'Browse' button to find the correct path to the 'hotsync.exe' file on your PC - by default, it should be 'C:\Palm\hotsync.exe' without the paratheses. This will enable PPP to find and restart HotSync after you close your PPP session.
  12. Under Advanced HotSync (Palm Pilot) Configuration, leave all fields as they are - by default the process name is 'hotsync' and the timeout value (m.secs) is '300'. HotSync menu 'Local' event ID will unique to your PC.
  13. Click OK.
  14. Ensure that 'Icon Mode' is ticked in the View menu and then click the minimise button to place PPP on 'standby' in the task bar system tray.

Setting up the Palm
Configuring 'Connection' in Preferences

  1. From your launcher, choose Preferences and then Connection.
  2. Choose [Direct Serial].
  3. Choose [Edit...]
  4. Name should read 'Direct Serial' and Connection Method should ready 'Serial to PC'.
  5. Choose [Details...].
  6. At Speed, choose [57,600bps] from the drop down menu.
  7. At Flow Ctl, choose [Automatic] from the drop down menu.
  8. Tap [OK] [OK] to return to the Connection preference screen.
  9. Your Connection is now configured.

Configuring 'Network' in Preferences

  1. From your launcher, choose Preferences and then Network.
  2. Choose [New...].
  3. At Service, type 'myLAN' or something you'll remember.
  4. At User Name, leave blank - not required as your PC is already connected to the LAN.
  5. At Password, leave as [Prompt] - not required as your PC is already connected to the LAN.
  6. At Connection, choose the 'Direct Serial' connection from the drop down menu.
  7. Choose [Details...].
  8. At Connection type, choose [PPP] from the drop down menu.
  9. At Idle timeout, choose [Power Off]
  10. At Query DNS, tick the check box
  11. At IP Address, tick the check box for Automatic.
  12. Choose [Script...].
  13. Ensure no script is present - you should only see the drop down arrow and [End]. A PUG correspondent advised that when he checked he found a simple script and suspected this to have been loaded as part of an OS upgrade. Whatever the case, remove all text so you can only see the drop down arrow and [End]
  14. Tap [OK] [OK] to return to the Network Preference screen.
  15. Your Network option is now configured.

Configuring 'Serial/IR' in Preferences*

  1. From your launcher, choose Preferences and then Serial/IR.
  2. At Serial via, choose [Cradle].
  3. Your Serial Port is now configured.
  4. Tap the Applications silk screen button to exit Preferences.

Getting connected for the first time

Connecting to the LAN and logging in

  1. Ensure that PPP is setup and running in Icon mode as covered above in 'Downloading and setting up W32 PPP'
  2. Doubleclick the PPP icon in the system tray and check settings - note the graphic showing a question mark and the caption 'Connection disabled'.
  3. Place the Palm in the cradle - note the graphic has changed and now shows a white X on a red disc and the caption reads 'Ready'.
  4. On the Palm, choose Preferences then Network then 'myLan' or whatever from the Service drop down menu.
  5. Leave User Name blank - it should not be required as your PC is already connected to the LAN.
  6. Leave Password as [Prompt] - it should not be required as your PC is already connected to the LAN.
  7. Ensure that the Connection type chosen is Direct Serial.
  8. With the PPP window visible on your desktop, tap [Connect].
  9. In rapid succesion, your Palm should display Service Connection Progress Screens showing 'Initializing', 'Signing On' and 'Established'
  10. At the same time, the graphic in the PPP window will have changed to show the Palm linked to the PC and the caption reading 'PPP link is active'. This can be confirmed on the Palm by the usual pulsing cursor in the top right hand corner of the screen.
  11. You may now minimise the PPP window to the system tray and use your mail/browser/other application as you would normally.
  12. Ensure that the Connection type chosen is Direct Serial.

Getting connected thereafter

One tap/command stroke connection & login

Once you know it all works, subsequent connections are even easier. As long as the Connection/Network/Serial configurations haven't been altered and PPP is running on your PC, just open the mail/browser/other app and simply tap (or command stroke) to retrieve / send mail or go to a URL and the Palm will fire up the connection.


Hopefully, you won't need to but there's always a chance. Firstly, run through the setups again. If necessary, delete the setups you have just configured to make sure you don't keep any errors, and re-enter the data cross-checking your information and watching for those dreaded typos in your entries.

If when you tap to connect to your LAN, the display first shows 'Signing On' and then gives an error message like "Error: PPP timeout (0x1231), the baud rates do not match. The baud rate specified in the Preferences | Connection on the Palm must match the baud rate specified in Setting | Configuration in PPP on the PC. Change them both to the default 57,600bps and try again.

You shouldn't get any Hotsync conflicts but if you do try changing the Palm Pilot options in the PPP configuration settings on your PC. If all else fails, try closing HotSync Manager.

If your Palm spends prolonged periods in the standard cradle, battery drain will be accelerated - numerous webpages and posts elsewhere deal with this issue and remember, Conklin Systems Battrey Drain Fix is NOT compatible with Mocha W32 PPP.

If the above tips do not resolve your problem, do what I did and post a plea for help to some of the excellent Palm User Groups at Yahoo Groups or do a keyword search (Mocha W32 PPP, Palm, etc) in your favourite search engine for more pages like this.

If I have made an error or have missed something, don't curse me. This was written with all good intent as my contribution to the wider online community of Palm users - mail me and I'll check it and put it right as soon as work allows.

*A reader advised that the Serial/IR option in Preferences is not shown in the 3.5.0 version of the OS - it would seem that 3.5.0 users can simply skip this section as his connects fine!

Posted by bignoseduglyguy at October 1, 2002 12:00 PM | TrackBack