Getting DSL Installed in OS/2

By: Richard M. Rollo Date: 12/13/00

In late May of this year, Pacific Bell installed DSL service in my home. Almost exactly six months afterwards, I installed OS/2 and BeOS on to that service. Walter Metcalf has graciously asked me to write about my experiences connecting OS/2 to DSL. I had written to thank him for his excellent series on installing the LinkSys BEFSR41 router to link his home network to his cable internet provider. Those articles on that LinkSys BEFSR41 router provided the key to the door to DSL.

Let me explain that I am an experienced, but self taught amateur. I am by profession a community college instructor in the Social Sciences. I have no formal training in computers or networking. My informal training began when my late, dear friend Murry Ecker gave me his old Morrow Design MD CP/M Computer and said "you're on your own."

Why DSL? Why not Cable? If the choice is between either one and dial up modem service, both DSL and Cable are better. I do not have cable television service, nor do I want it. DSL caught my eye because it promised maximum speed with minimal rewiring of the house.

I won't try to explain how DSL works. There are too many varieties of DSL to adequately explain it here. Nor is this a mature service; DSL is a growing and changing business. Bradley Mitchell has written a series of articles on Computer Networking site. I used David Angell's DSL for Dummies as my reference and he does it better than I could. Be forewarned that this subject quickly becomes mired in an alphabet soup worse than the Federal Bureaucracy in the 1930's.

What follows is a process of learning and discovery. While the solution was simple, arriving at it was not. If you can use this solution, wonderful. If not, hopefully what I have written here can help you to solve it faster and easier than I did.

Ordering DSL Service

Getting the service was a battle in itself. When I first logged on to the Pac Bell web site, they had a dialog box where you enter your zip code and they tell you if DSL was available for you. It said no for me. But, I noticed that Pac Bell was digging holes and stringing wires all over the neighborhood. So I called their 800 number and the Rep said her screen showed that my home phone number was DSL ready.

I was persistent and determined to get Pacific Bell DSL installed. Although I wanted to link it to OS/2, I had installed Windows 98 and I had enabled and checked the USB port to ensure that Pac Bell would easily get DSL installed. OS/2 would come later.

I found a special offer through my employment for Pac Bell DSL so I got on the list. I hounded and pestered them. Finally, they notified me that they were scheduling appointments and they asked: did I have Windows 98 and USB? (I guessed right, I knew the secret word) Yes. They emailed me back the next day with the install date.

The Original Pacific Bell DSL Install: Win 98 and USB

The installer came 15 minutes early and he was in a hurry. I thought they would install a POTS splitter (POTS--Plain Old Telephone Service) in my garage, but instead, he installed low pass filters on each of the phone jacks. That meant Pacific Bell was installing the DSL standard known as Glite.

Glite can run up to 18,000 feet from your equipment to theirs and come in to your house on the same wire as your regular phone signals (POTS). You are supposed to be able to receive at 1.5 mbps and send at 512 kbps. I think the speed may vary and might be much higher if you are much closer to their equipment than 18,000 feet. Of course, the transmission rate of the signal is only one element in the speed of the service. If you try to access high traffic sites on the web, your service can slow down to dial up speeds.

His plans for a quick install were foiled by a phone plug behind a tall book case that required removal of all the books and removal of the bookcase from the wall.

After he got that filter installed, it went very quickly.

The Hardware:

* Speedstream 4060 USB ADSL modem based on an Alcatel 1000 compatible chip, 1 USB cable from computer to Speedstream, 1 RJ11 phone line from the unfiltered line to the Speedstream, and one DC power supply.

Meanwhile, I booted up the computer into Windows 98 and we prepared to install the Win 98 software provided on two CD-ROMS.

The Software:

* Enternet 300, which is Pac Bell's software to install and configure the ethernet software for Windows 98.

* Speedstream 4060 Win 98 software drivers the USB DSL modem.

One reboot and then I chose a user name and password. It was up and running. Up to this point, two of the pieces informa- tion needed to install OS/2 emerge: Pacific Bell had installed the GLite DSL standard and the DSL Modem was an Alcatel 1000 compatible.

OS/2 and BeOS would still be a long way off.

A Failure to Connect

Several days later, I had a failure to connect. The phone tech went through the whole installation with me: We went through each of the network settings in the Network properties notebook in Windows 98. Then, he told me to shut down the com- puter and to unplug the USB, unplug the DSL line, unplug the power supply, and wait for 10 seconds. After the time had elapsed, I reconnected everything, powered up the computer and the DSL did connect. Before ending the phone call, the tech told me to do the same shut down and unplug if it fails to connect again.

I keep a steno pad next to the computer for just these situations. After we hung up, I went through each of the set- tings again and wrote down all of the settings that he mentioned.

These acronyms become mind numbing very quickly, but I copied them all down for the next time I had a dead line. I knew almost nothing about networking then and only a little more now. I've found that if I write down everything I could think of at the time, it might eventually provide the answer when I under- stand it better.

Six of the items that I wrote down at that time later emerged as clues to this puzzle (from the Win 98 networking properties, settings, and bindings pages):

* IP Address (automatic)

* PPPoE is enabled


* DNS is disabled.

* TCP/IP is bound to the Intel 2114312 10/100 Ethernet device (in the Speedstream 4060 USB DSL Modem.)

* TCP/IP is bound to the Network Systems PPPoE adapter NISP3.

These were the items installed by the Enternet 300 CD-ROM. Since TCP/IP comes with both OS/2 and BeOS, that would be easy. About the rest, I was clueless at the time.

Who's got the device drivers?

When you know where you want to go but don't know how to get there, any road will still take you there, as long as you are pre- pared to backtrack.

Walter wrote a series of articles on his previous networking setup using Injoy Firewall. I'm not sure why I thought I could use that to connect my Speedstream 4060 to DSL, but anyway that is where I started.

I logged on to the Injoy site and noticed that their product supported PPPoE. My steno pad settings in Win 98, had PPPoE enabled.

I wrote an email to Injoy and asked if their program sup- ported the Speedstream 4060. They replied that Injoy Firewall supported any devices that were properly installed in OS/2. Oh, yes, of course. That. No device drivers from Injoy. To me, this is a weird idea. I started in CP/M and went on to DOS where if you didn't write printer drivers for your program, your program wouldn't print!

Device drivers are to the computer operating system what musicians are to the symphony orchestra. You can hire the hall, put the chairs in place, supply the finest violins, cellos, French horns, and write a great musical score. But if you don't have any musicians, you don't have any music.

Since the introduction of the Macintosh, the idea became that the operating system would provide the drivers. If the operating system is suppose to take over the function of provid- ing the drivers, where are they? Why don't they work?

By the end of June, I could now see that I had been wildly optimistic about being able to find OS/2 and BeOS drivers for the Speedstream 4060. For OS/2 (or BeOS) to connect to the Speed- stream 4060 modem, it would need a USB driver, a driver for the specific Intel Ethernet chip in the Speedstream, and PPPoE software, in addition to TCP/IP. Injoy could supply the PPPoE; the operating system would supply TCP/IP. But the other drivers? Where will they come from? IBM? Speedstream?

In late June, there was not even basic support in OS/2 for USB, never mind a specific set of drivers for the Speedstream 4060. Never mind USB, IBM was still catching up with PCI. PCI video and sound card installation requires study worthy of a Masters degree thesis. It was not that these technologies eluded IBM and OS/2. Windows 98 users have had their problems as well. It was that there were far fewer people working on solving the OS/2 drivers than Windows 98.

False Hopes

I've made several mentions of BeOS. OS/2 is my workaday operating system. I use DOS programs such as Wordstar 6d, dBASE V, and Lotus Agenda 2, which are better designed for my purposes than anything written since. OS/2 has been extremely important in extending the useful life of those programs for me.

BeOS is an after thought. I bought BeOS 4.5 when I couldn't get the Yamaha YMF 740 sound chip on my Intel Seattle motherboard to work in OS/2. After I had installed BeOS, and had used a patch written by Yuki, I was able to make terrific sound record- ings using the BAM BAM sound recorder in the .aiff format. (A similar YMF patch written by Daniela Engert, which I obtained after I installed BeOS, failed to work for me in OS/2. It still eludes me.)

Nevertheless, BeOS is mostly in the same situation as OS/2. The same few hardware manufacturers that support OS/2 also sup- port BeOS.

So I was surprised when surfing the web one day to find on, a BeOS site, that the Speedstream 4060 was ranked by Chris Townsend as being 1 on a scale of 5 (5 being the easiest) to install in BeOS. I was amazed that he got it working at all! I emailed him to find out if there were BeOS drivers for the Speedstream 4060.

No drivers. He said that he had been in contact with the manufacturer and the Speedstream 4060 would not even have Win 2000 drivers, BeOS probably never. I had come to the same con- clusion in OS/2.

Instead, he had BeOS installed one machine; Win 98 and the Speedstream 4060 installed on an older Pentium machine. The Win 98 machine was setup as a Proxy server using Proxy+. The BeOS machine was his workstation to log on the Internet.

I had an older Pentium machine. I went ahead with this idea. I am not a timid person. The worst thing that could happen is that I would be out $30 and the time it would take to inves- tigate it.

Yet, I was not comfortable setting up a network. I didn't really understand what I was doing. At times I have gotten away with not initially knowing what I was doing and have been able to learn things on the way and understand them at the end. Not this time.

Ignorance and bad luck caught up with me. My cable supplier sent me the wrong cable. I bought two SMC EZcard PCI networking cards that supposedly had NE 2000 support in OS/2 and BeOS. Chris Townsend warned me that those cards might not work in BeOS, but would be okay for Win 98. Unfortunately, he was right. They worked in Win 98 but neither OS/2 nor BeOS could find the card.

I found a post on an OS/2 site that said the best NIC for OS/2 is based on the Digital Tulip 24041 chip. Another post on another site says, in effect, same for BeOS. More surfing the web. I found one: a KTI 221 TX with OS/2 drivers on the install disk! Another $30.

I got the SMC NIC on the Win 98 machine and the KTI NIC on the BeOS machine lighting up each other's lights and pinging. I couldn't get the Opera browser Proxy settings in BeOS to link up with Proxy+ on the Win 98 machine. In OS/2, I found that I had failed early on to notice something that doomed this whole pro- ject.

The worst and most easily avoided mistake I made was in not opening the preferences pages of Netscape 4.6 for OS/2. I had relied for information on Netscape for OS/2 gathered from a book on Netscape for Windows 95. I had even put a sticky note on the page which had a listing for Proxy settings. When I actually checked for these settings in Netscape 4.6 for OS/2, there were no proxy settings in the OS/2 version of Netscape.

I have a vivid memory of the moment of that discovery. Angry feelings filled the room. Ugly thoughts welled up inside. Where did you ever get the idea, I asked myself, that you could hook up a network without knowing anything about what you were doing?

After soaking in what had happened, I calmly removed the networking cables, opened up both boxes, removed both NIC cards, Reinstalled OS/2 without networking on the workstation machine, threw the Netscape Navigator book for Windows 95 in the trash, and went on about business.

At least I knew I had one good NIC card that would work in BeOS and OS/2. (If I ever wanted to do something like that again.) I also knew that I would not even attempt anything further unless I knew from the beginning it would work with both operating systems.

In the months after my proxy failure, I got much more ex- perienced at using Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5. I didn't think much anymore about getting DSL to work in OS/2 or BeOS.

In October, I looked on the IBM Device Driver Pak Site and saw that one of the new items was USB Device Support. I wondered if the Speedstream 4060 might be one of the supported devices. It wasn't. But I noticed that one of the devices supported was the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80; the drivers were supplied by Microsoft. Even Rodney Dangerfield would have trouble topping that.

The Solution

After election day, I was surfing the web when I happened on the series of articles by Walter about installing a LinkSys BEFSR41 Router in his existing network. I was skimming through the article when the following sentence struck me:

"...All the programming is done using a browser. Since any browser seems to work there are no irksome platform issues to bother you."

Whoa! That's it! The setup is done either in Netscape for OS/2 or Netpostive in BeOS. PPPoE is built into the Router so there is no need for a software PPPoE driver. The whole sequence of what I needed to do fell right into place, with one exception:

1. Install the KTI 221 TX NIC (the only good thing to come out of the Proxy idea.) The only software device driver needed is for this NIC.

2. Make a fresh reinstall OS/2 with Networking services (TCP/IP and others) and install the device driver for the NIC. TCP/IP is already in place for BeOS. Install the Digital compat- ible software driver for the NIC in the BeOS Networking prefer- ences page.

3. Reinstall Netscape 4.6 for OS/2

4. Buy the LinkSys BEFSR41 router (the 4 port router does- n't cost much more than the 1 port model.)

5. The one exception was the need to get an ethernet DSL modem. This question required more searches, study, and surfing. Among the places I looked were The Extremely Unofficial Pac Bell ADSL Page and DSL Reports. From those sites I gained valuable information but I found the answer on: Navas Cable Modem/DSL Tuning Guide Here, they listed a series of DSL ethernet modems. They had links to the manufacturers sites. I considered most of the modems on the Navas site and concluded that the best one was the Westell Wirespeed DMT ADSL Modem

a. The manufacturer claims full Alcatel 1000 compatibility
b. it supports the Glite standard for DSL
c. it supports PPPoE.
d. it is for sale to the end user. (Most are not.)
e. the on line user reviews were almost effusive.
f. Navas recommended it.
g. no software to install.

I just knew this would work. I ordered both the LinkSys Router and the Westell DSL Modem on line and they arrived by Thanksgiving.

I installed the NIC and reinstalled OS/2 and Netscape on Thanksgiving Eve. I also set the Networking Preferences page in BeOS to recognize the NIC as a Digital 24041 compatible and enabled DHCP. I chose a name for the BeOS partition workstation.

I hooked up the wires to the Linksys Router and the Wire- speed DSL modem and the computer on Thanksgiving Day and fired it all up. I followed Walter's instructions in the article In- stalling a Hardware Router in Your LAN. I chose DHCP Enabled. I chose a workstation name of my OS/2 Partition. I opened Netscape and opened up my steno pad and then followed the instructions on the LinkSys Quick Installation Guide:

1. WAN IP Address: Obtain IP address automatically.

2. PPPoE: Enable

3. Supply User Name and Password. (from the original installation)

4. Connect on Demand (I disabled this)

5. Apply

6. DHCP Tab

7. Enable

8. Number of Users (I put 4; this can be changed)

9. Apply

That's it. I closed Netscape and relaunched it. Up came the Netscape home page. I surfed around for awhile. I launched PMMail/2 and received two emails from the Motley Fool. Then I shut down the computer and booted up BeOS. I opened the network preferences page, rechecked them, and restarted the network. I opened Netpositive and clicked on the and up it popped.

I now had OS/2 and BeOS connected to Pacific Bell DSL. I imagine if I had Linux, I could easily do the same. It was a success.

One final note: in preparation for writing this account, I checked the Pacific Bell DSL site today and discovered that the Westell Wirespeed ADSL DMT modem is being supplied by Pac Bell to its Windows 2000 customers.

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