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By Chris De Herrera 
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Network Troubleshooting FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2002-2003

 Version 1.04  Revised 10/7/2003

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So you've decided to connect your Handheld PC or Pocket PC to your network via Ethernet or 802.11b or Proxim and you can't get connected.  This FAQ covers common troubleshooting tips for network connections.  Note:  The Pocket PC and Windows CE does not provide some of the common tools for configuring and diagnosing network problems such as arp, finger, hosts, traceroute, etc.  You can find a list of these applications on the Network Utilities FAQ.

Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Connect with ActiveSync to your desktop using your serial or USB connection. You can not sync with a desktop that you have never connected to.
  2. Install VxUtil from using your serial or USB connection.  It installs common TCP/IP utilities like Ping which will allow you to diagnose network connections.
  3. Connect your Handheld PC or Pocket PC to your network. Look at the hub lights and confirm that you have a link.  If you are using wireless then check the signal strength of the wireless LAN on the Pocket PC and that the access point sees the Pocket PC.  See the 802.11 Wireless LAN Configuration FAQ for details on the settings that you should check.
  4. See what IP address is assigned to your Handheld PC or Pocket PC. If you are using DHCP and no IP address is assigned, you need to assign a static IP address. Contact your network administrator for assistance with this.  Also, make sure that your gateway is set.  If it is not then you will not be able to access other networks, including the internet.
  5. Don't forget to remove and reinsert the card to make the Handheld PC or Pocket PC's TCP/IP settings take effect.
  6. Attempt to ping your desktop by IP address. If this fails, check the cables or driver settings.
  7. Attempt to ping your desktop by name.  If you have a WINS server then make sure you have the IP address of the WINS server is set. If you are using your desktop to synchronize, then enter the IP address of the desktop as the WINS server on your Handheld PC or Pocket PC.   If the IP address that is resolved when you ping by name is not the same as your desktop, your PC's name is not unique or it is an invalid name.  You need to rename the other PC to resolve this issue if there is a duplicate name.  Another possible issue is that the PC's name can not have any spaces in it nor can the name contain underscores.  If this occurs, rename the PC, delete the partnership and then re-sync with the cradle.  Note: The Pocket PC 2002 remembers the IP address of the desktop so you should not need to enter it as the WINS server to synchronize.  You can use Pocket Hosts to configure a host file on your Pocket PC to work around this issue.  Pocket Hosts allows you to create a host entry on your Pocket PC so it will know what the IP address of your desktop is and just use the IP address only.  The same registry entry also works on the Handheld PC as well.
  8. If you are using the Pocket PC 2002 or Windows Mobile 2003  you must set your default connection in Connection Manager to Work in order to synchronize over a network. You will not be able to synchronize if you have your default setting to The Internet.   The Connection Manager is available at Start - Settings - Connections - Connections (and Advanced on Windows Mobile 2003).
  9. If you have more than one partnership and you wish to sync via ethernet or Wi-Fi you need to make sure you have selected the correct PC to sync with. This is done on the Pocket PC by launching ActiveSync and clicking on Tools - Options and selecting the PC you wish to sync with.
  10. You can check to see that Netbios is installed and working correctly by using NBTSTAT -n from a command line in Windows 95 or Windows NT.  This will list all known  Netbios hosts.  Check to see if your Handheld PC or Pocket PC's name is listed.  If it returns an error code of failed to "access NBTdriver 1" then you need to unbind and rebind Netbios to the TCP/IP stack.  This is done in the Start - Settings - Control Panel - Network.  If you can not see your Handheld PCs or Pocket PC's name then check that the Handheld PC or Pocket PC has the correct WINS server address configured.
  11. Now you should be able to sync.
  12. If you want to use the internet and sync, you need to manually enter the correct DNS entries as well.  The DNS entries are not acquired via DHCP if you entered  the WINS server.
  13. Check to see if you are using a Proxy Server. Note the IP address and port for the Proxy server and enter this information into Pocket Internet Explorer.  Note:  A socks or Winsock proxy is not supported on the Handheld PC or Pocket PC 2000.   Only an HTTP proxy is supported.  However with the Pocket PC 2002, Socks, Winsock and HTTP proxies are supported.  You must use the Work option in Connection Manager to use a proxy.

Now you are all set to use your Handheld PC or Pocket PC to access your network.

Related Articles

Connection Manager
Troubleshooting Dialup Connections
Network Utilities

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