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Palm Wi-Fi Guide

Home | Tips Home | Wireless Home | Wi-Fi | Bluetooth | Wireless Software | Sprint | PDA Guide

What is Wi-Fi (802.11)?

Wi-Fi, the common name for the IEEE 802.11 specification, is becoming very popular for desktop systems as prices are coming down rapidly. It is a high-speed method of transmitting data through the air.

  • 802.11b Wi-Fi supports wireless communication at up to 11MB over a range up to 300 feet. A home setup of wireless access point and PC card is less than $100 these days.
  • 802.11g offers speeds up to 54 MB. A 2-piece home setup is currently less than $200.

Wi-Fi differs from Bluetooth in that the latter is a lower speed (<1 MB) technology with a range of only up to 30 ft. Bluetooth was designed to replaced cables, have smaller components, and be much cheaper than Wi-Fi. Some say eventually the cost of it will come down to $4/unit in volume. We are no where near that stage today, though. Check out our PalmZone.net Bluetooth Guide for all the details.

What Options Do I Have for Wi-Fi on the Handheld Side?

  • palmOne LifeDrive - Has both built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • palmOne Tungsten C - built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi.
  • Sony CLIE UX-50 & TH55 - built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi. The UX50 also has Bluetooth as does the European TH55. The U.S. TH55 does not.
  • Sony CF Wi-Fi Card (WL110) - Compatible with the NX-series (NX80, NX70). Current street price is around $99.
  • Xircom Wi-Fi sled for the Palm m-Series devices via the Universal Connector. It's not cheap at over $250 and probably is very hard to find these days as its not being produced anymore.
  • Enfora Wi-Fi portfolio - Has its own battery so that your Palm batteries aren't drained by the wi-fi. They have a model for Palm's with the Universal Connector as well as the m5-Series.
  • palmOne Wi-Fi SD Card (also available from our Amazon Store) - Works with Zire 72, Tungsten T3, T5, and Tapwave Zodiac.
  • SanDisk Wi-Fi SD Card - This card only works with the Zire 71 and Tapwave Zodiac. There is also the SanDisk 256 MB + Wi-Fi SD Card that supports only the Tapwave Zodiac.

What do I need for a Wi-Fi Access Point?

The Dlink and Linksys brands are by far the most prevalent for home use, but just about everyone makes Wi-Fi Access Points these days - Microsoft, Belkin, Netgear, HP, Motorola, etc. You should be familiar with the features of these access points before you buy one, though. You are most likely going to want a multi-function access point.

  • Speed -- As discussed above, choose whether you want 802.11b (up to 11 MB) or 802.11g (up to 54 MB).
  • Wireless Access Point (AP) -- This is the wireless part itself. Its what sends and receives signals through the air. They do make versions that only have this and no other features but you don't want that unless you are simply adding extra range to an existing system.
  • Router -- You are going to want an AP that is also a router for any type of setup you have. You need a router to allow more than one internet connection from your DSL or Broadband Cable modem.
  • 3 or 4-Port Hub -- Any router is also a hub. A hub is just a set of wired ethernet ports you can connect to. You are going to want this... either to connect a desktop computer to your router or to connect a laptop to it directly when you go to configure your AP/Router. You CAN configure most of your router settings wirelessly through a web-browser, but there is one thing you can't do, which is to change its IP address. If I'm losing you, don't worry... using the default settings for your AP/Router almost always works right out of the box.
  • Firewall -- Most AP/Routers have firewalls built in to them. You want this to protect hackers from accessing your network and doing bad things. Software firewalls do exist, but why mess with them when you basically get a hardware firewall for no more money... just make sure you a pick an AP/Router that has one.
  • Print Server -- If the AP/Router you are looking says it has a "print server" too and its not much more money than one without, get it. This is just a parallel port on the AP/Router that you can plug a printer into directly without having to have it attached to a desktop computer on your network.

Check out Wireless Access Points in our Amazon eStore or BestBuy, Staples, TigerDirect, eCOST.com or any other home electronics store or online retailer. Purchasing from these links even helps support PalmZone.net. You can get these AP/Routers for dirt cheap these days. Some are less than $30.

Wi-Fi Setup

Set up your Wirless AP/Router on your network first and make sure everything is working there before attempting to access with your Palm device. Setup using all the defaults at installation-time is simple. If you buy the AP/Router and the wireless network card for your laptop/desktop from the same company (i.e. both Linksys or Dlink or whatever), then you shouldn't have to change any settings at all.

There are really only two settings for a simple configuration you need to know about. The SSID is the network name and it will default if you got the AP and card from the same company. If not, set them both to the same thing. You can use whatever name you want.

The second is the encryption setting. 802.11 uses a type of encryption called WEP. If you are really worried about someone connecting to your network, then turn this on and create a password key. You'll have to turn it on with the key on your laptop/desktop as well.

The Palm side of the connection is covered well in Palm's documentation. You really only need to worry about setting the SSID and whether WEP encryption is on or not as per above. Here are the Getting Started Guide, Troubleshooting Tips, HotSpot Info, WiFinder Hotspot Locator, and VPN Access guides.

In order to perform a Hotsync over Wi-Fi using a Wireless Access Point/Router, refer to our Hotsync Tips page. To Hotsync over Wi-Fi directly with your PC, please refer to the next section.

Wi-Fi Hotsync Without A Router/Access Point

You can perform a Hotsync between your Palm and your PC without using a Wi-Fi Router/Access Point by establishing what is called an "ad-hoc" Wi-Fi network. This method connects the two devices directly together. It requires that you hard-code your IP addresses, though, and you'll have to make some other settings on your PC and your Palm which we'll cover here.

Preliminary Steps Before You Get Started

Make sure that you can successfully perform a Hotsync using your cradle/cable.

  • Before attempting a Wi-Fi Hotsync, be sure to download any software patches or updates from your hardware manufacturer.
  • Be sure to disable any firewall software present on your computer (this could be standard Microsoft Windows or a third-party product).

Configure the PC

  • On the computer, in the taskbar, right-click the HotSync Manager icon.
  • On the HotSync Manager menu, ensure Network is selected.
    Click Setup. In the Setup window, click the Network tab.
  • On the Network tab, in the Checked users make this their Primary PC for performing a Network HotSync operation box, click to select the appropriate user.
  • Click the TCP/IP Settings button. In the TCP/IP Settings window, next to Primary PC Name, note the computer name. Next to Primary PC Address, note the computer address. Next to Subnet Mask (Optional), note the subnet mask. Click the OK button.
  • In the Setup window, click the OK button.

Configure the handheld

  • Go into the Palm Prefs application. In the Preferences window, in the upper-right corner, tap the down arrow, and then tap to select Network.
  • Next to Service, tap the down arrow, and then tap to select Wireless LAN.
  • Tap the Details button. In the Wireless LAN Setup window, tap the Create button. In the ProfileName box, enter a profile name.
  • In the NetworkID (SSID) box, enter the Service Set Identifier (SSID) name of the peer-to-peer (ad hoc) wireless card.
    IMPORTANT: If there is only one wireless card within range, it is not necessary to enter an SSID name.
  • Under ConnectMode, tap the Adhoc button.
    Under the Adhoc button, next to ch:, tap the down arrow, and then tap to select the appropriate channel.
  • Tap the Advanced Setup button. Next to IP Address:, tap to clear the Auto box. In the IP Address area, enter an available IP address in the same IP range as the computer. NOTES: If the IP address of the computer is, an IP address in the same range would be
  • In the SubnetMask area, enter the same subnet mask as the computer.
  • In the Gateway Address area, enter the same gateway address as the computer.
  • Next to PowerSaveMode, tap to clear the Enable box. Tap the OK button.
  • In the Wireless LAN Setup window, tap the OK button.
  • Under Profile Name, tap the OK button.
  • On the handheld, in the HotSync window, in the upper-left corner, tap the HotSync tab.
  • On the Options menu, tap Primary PC Setup. In the PrimaryPC Setup window, below Primary PC Name, enter two exclamation mark symbols (!!).
  • In the Primary PC Address box, enter the computer primary computer address. In the Subnet Mask (optional) box, enter the computer subnet mask. Tap the OK button.
  • In the HotSync window, in the upper-left corner, tap the HotSync tab. On the Options menu, tap Modem Sync Prefs.
    In the ModemSync Preferences window, tap the Network button.
    Tap the OK button.
  • In the HotSync window, in the upper-left corner, tap the HotSync tab. On the Options menu, tap LANSync Prefs.
    In the LANSync Preferences window, tap the LANSync button.
    Tap the OK button.
  • In the HotSync window, tap the Modem button. Tap the Select Service button. In the Preferences window, next to Service, ensure Wireless LAN is displayed. Click the Done button.

Perform the Hotsync

  • In the Preferences window under Network settings, tap the Connect button.
  • Go back to the launcher and select the Hotsync application.
  • Tap the HotSync button.

Wireless & Internet Software

For wireless and internet-related software, check out our Wireless Software Essentials section. It lists email and news software, web browsers, and chat/instant messaging software.

Mobile Content

PalmZone.net maintains a comprehensive index of mobile-friendly websites, called PdaMobileWeb.

Check out our Wireless Home page for more Palm wireless information.

Home | Tips Home | Wireless Home | Wi-Fi | Bluetooth | Wireless Software | Sprint | PDA Guide

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Published on: 2006-07-04 (126001 reads)
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