Lonely pda, 802.11b, seeks relationship with desktop machine
June 24, 2006 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I am about to upgrade my pda from an old iPaq 1910 to any of several newer models. I am looking at several choices that have built in 802.11b wifi... and I am utterly clueless as to how to use wifi!

Red faced, I must admit I have no idea as to how to go about actually using wireless capability. It isn't the presence of the wifi that will make my decision on which pda to buy... but if it has it, I'd like to put it to some sort of use. I suppose my primary desire would be to be able to use it to connect to my (completely immobile) desktop system and allow me net access - or at least file access on my main machine - through the pda anywhere in my apartment. My desktop is my only other computer, and there is no sort of network setup. Additionally, my DSL access uses PPPOE as opposed to a direct connection, which I am told is uncommon. (Whether that means diddly/squat in this context, I do not know.)

So - what is the easiest setup I can do? Do I just get a dongle ala the way I used to connect via bluetooth?
posted by John Smallberries to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Okay, if you want to get on the internet for e-mail or web on your PDA at your house, you're going to need to buy a wireless router and set it up with your DSL (which will require some configuring.)

Your PDA will likely come with some sort of synching software that will let you sync in the same way that you do your iPaq.

I have a PDA with built in WiFi. The only time I really use it is when I am walking in a city, am lost, and need to look up an address. (You get on a wireless network, in general, by clicking on some sort of scan button then clicking connect-- this is true for any wireless device). Occasionally I download my e-mail while in an aiport or something. This happens perhaps once a month. This is rare. General web browsing and e-mail composing, IMHO, is less-than-pleasant on a PDA. Millions of Treo and Blackberry users would probably tell you differently though.

So, what I'm saying to you is -- who cares if you have WiFi on your PDA. You really wouldn't need to use it at your home, but if you wanted to, you could use it at an aiport or a cafe or somewhere else outside of your house if you wanted to look at your e-mail or something on the web.

AND no matter what PDA you buy, it will explain step-by-step how to scan for wireless networks. You'll see them at Starbucks for sure, and a lot of other places too. Don't worry about using it at home.
posted by k8t at 9:23 PM on June 24, 2006

PS, PPPOE with DSL isn't uncommon.
posted by k8t at 9:24 PM on June 24, 2006

I just switched to a Palm Lifedrive from an HP iPaq 5550. Both sport Wifi and Bluetooth, for that matter.

I agree with k8t's points, you won't have any problems, the software is pretty decent on all current PDAs and mostly "click to connect". And web browsing is more gee-whiz than a must have.

I use AvantGo to read newspapers so WiFi on my PDA is used to connect to their server and update news.

Does your desktop already have WiFi capability? My PowerBook can act as a server to my PDA which is useful as I spend about 75% of each working week traveling around Europe on biz. If I'm in a hotel I can let the PowerBook get the broadband connection, then share it with the PDA.

You won't have any problems - just get the PDA and explore the alternativese the new technology offers you.
posted by Mutant at 1:09 AM on June 25, 2006

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