Recently, I found myself in the company of a co-worker on the return leg of
a business flight. In earlier times we had worked together and, during long
software deployments in the middle of the night, we'd engage in some network
gaming. Yes, you're not supposed to do that at work. But when you find yourself
foolishly working until 9PM and still waiting on the development staff every
night, you've got to do something to retain your humanity.
Well, here we were together once more and wishing we could fire up just one
more game to settle the score
again. The problem is that a network is not
typically amongst the high tech solutions available on a commercial airliner.
A few moments' thought between the two of us produced the answer, however. We
decided to build a network right there and then. And unlike most other computer
solutions, this solution would take only a few minutes to build. We'd still
have almost 2 hours in which to take electronic aim at each other!!
Believe it or not, setting this up is so simple that we were able to manage
the following steps despite an increasing blood/alcohol level (I had no idea
that cranberry juice and vodka mixed could be so tasty!!).
Since we each had laptops with
802.11b Wireless Network cards and an installation of the same game, all
we'd need to do was build a peer-to-peer wireless network between our machines.
Sounds complicated, doesn't it? It isn't. Here's how with Windows XP (note that
doing this sort of thing isn't limited to Windows XP. I simply have XP loaded).
To get started, you'll need to have your wireless network card installed and
enabled. The manufacturer instructions for installing a wireless card are
usually pretty clear so I won't waste your time repeating them here. Instead,
we'll jump right to setting the card up to join a peer-to-peer
In the Control Panel, open the Network Connections panel then
right click the icon representing your wireless connection and choose Properties.
When the Properties window opens, click on the Wireless Networks
Click Advanced to begin configuring a wireless peer-to-peer network.
On the Advanced dialog, make note of your current wireless network settings
prior to choosing "Computer-to-computer (ad hoc) networks only".
Click Close and then select the General Tab of the Wireless Network
Connection Properties dialog.
The last step is to add or configure a protocol for the card to use. I typically
as my default. Unfortunately, TCP/IP requires some care to configure, unlike
so we'll have to do a couple more steps before we can get our impromptu network
up and running.
If your card already lists TCP/IP, double click it or else click Install
and choose the TCP/IP protocol from the list. After double clicking TCP/IP,
we should see the configuration information for the protocol. If you already
had the protocol installed, be sure to write down the configuration information
that is already there. When you tear down your peer-to-peer network, you'll
use these settings to return your card to a state where it can work on its regular
Set the TCP/IP protocol settings so that your first machine uses the private
of 192.168.0.2 and the subnet mask to 255.255.255.0 as shown below.
Click OK until all the dialogs are closed. Go to the next machine that
will participate in the network and choose a different IP Address for it (but
use the same subnet mask!)
And there you go! Suddenly, the little Tx\Rx indicator lights on your net cards
will be blinking like mad as they detect each other and begin exchanging information.
Start your favorite network game and you're all set for salon style network
gaming wherever you are!!
Um, just remember that when the flight attendant announces that it's time to
put away all electronic devices in preparation for landing, that means you and
your network, too! When was the last time someone actually asked you to make
the network go down?!?!