Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology

13Aug/170

Configuring the IOGEAR GWU627 wireless ethernet bridge device under ArcaOS (and OS/2)

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While Arca Noae continues to work toward adding support for WLAN adapters in its MultiMac driver set, many modern wireless adapters remain unsupported by OS/2 (ArcaOS, specifically). The best way to work around this limitation involves no computer disassembly, very little technical expertise, a few minutes of time for the initial setup, and a device which is generally available for under $50.

There are several wireless ethernet bridge devices available on the market. I had occasion recently to install an IOGEAR GWU627 for a client. This is a small, plastic, rectangular device, measuring approximately 2 7/8" wide, 2" deep, and 5/8" high. It is powered via USB 2.0, with voltage supplied either from the connected computer or via its included (small) AC adapter. The only other physical connection is a short ethernet cable to connect the unit to the computer to be bridged.

The GWU627 is an 802.11n device, capable of handling up to 150Mbps, using an onboard chip antenna. Its range is stated to be 320 feet, which is quite good considering its size and lack of external antennas. The manual indicates that the ethernet port supports 100Mbps, which is something of a limiting factor, given that its stated wireless bandwidth capability exceeds that, so perhaps an updated model may include a more capable wired port. Insofar as encryption is concerned, this device is capable of the usual range (64/128-bit WEP, TKIP, AES). I do not think I saw any facility for configuring enterprise authentication, so consider this limited to pre-shared keys.

The instruction manual provides guidance for the initial setup using Windows XP through Windows 7, as well as Mac OSX. While the manual and the IOGEAR site state that Linux is supported, no directions for configuring via Linux are provided.

The process is relatively straightforward: apply power to the unit and connect to the wired ethernet port on the computer. Set the computer to a static IP (192.168.1.3), open a browser to 192.168.1.252, and associate the device with your preferred network, setting the security information as required. Once this is done, close the browser and reconfigure the computer for DHCP (or the "correct" static IP), and that's that.

On ArcaOS 5.0 (OS/2), the easiest way to do this is:

  1. Close any existing browser and/or email applications.
  2. Disconnect the LAN cable from the wired interface.
  3. Open an OS/2 window (or your favorite command processor, YAOS, 4OS2, JdeBP, etc.).
  4. If the wired interface is already configued to use DHCP, stop the DHCP client:

     

     

    [c:\] dhcpmon -t
     

  5. Assign the recommended static IP to the wired interface (this assumed the wired interface is lan0, substitute the appropriate logical interface number for your particular configuration):

     

     

    [c:\] ifconfig lan0 192.168.1.3 netmask 255.255.255.0
     

  6. Open a web browser to http://192.168.1.252. This is Step 4 of the XP section of the Installation Guide. Proceed with the setup of the device as described in the guide, until reaching Step 6.
  7. Close the web browser.
  8. Back at the prompt, assuming your wireless infrastructure is configred for DHCP (dynamic addressing), start the DHCP client again (once more, lan0 is assumed to be the logical interface; be sure to use the correct logical interface number for your particular configuration):

     

     

    [c:\] dhcpstrt -i lan0 -d 0
     

  9. If your wirless infrastructure is configured for static addressing, open the TCP/IP Configurator and enter an appropriate static IP, subnet mask, default gateway, and other pertinent details there and save the configuration (or manually edit \MPTN\BIN\setup.cmd, \MPTN\ETC\RESOLV2, etc.).

Congratulations! You have now wirelessly connected your computer to your network - even without a Wi-Fi driver. Open your web browser and/or email client, and enjoy.

 

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