My need was seemingly simple: I set up an old ThinkPad 760XL (166 MHz Pentium MMX) running DOS for my son to play 1990s games on, especially but not exclusively Sierra and LucasArts adventures; for that purpose, the laptop is quite suitable, it has a decent ESS sound chip and a CD-ROM. Moving data to the laptop on a CF card with a PCMCIA adapter is not difficult, but it gets old; it would be really handy to have the laptop on the network, accessing the home NAS via either SMB or NFS.
The laptop is of course old enough that it has no built-in Ethernet or WiFi, although it has two PCMCIA/CardBus (at least I believe they’re also functional as CardBus) slots. But the laptop is portable, and it’s in a corner of the house where there’s no Ethernet socket nearby. So WiFi would be really great. But is it even possible to get a DOS laptop on a WiFi network in 2019?
The short answer is “yes, but”. The long answer follows.
That link points to part 1 – part 2 has also been published.
Setting up modern wireless networking on older devices or operating systems can be a major stumbling block – there’s not only hardware and its support to consider, but also things like encryption and support for modern wireless security standards.
Many of the devices in my Palm OS and PocketPC collection, for instance, have wireless support, but will often lack support for WPA2. Often, the only viable solution is to create a pretty much open guest network, which is not something I’m a big fan of.
I’m glad I’m not into MS-DOS like the author is, because I certainly wouldn’t want to tussle with this problem.
I really don’t know why the author did not consider access points clients that allow wired devices to connect to WIFI networks. I’ve used this in the past to connect my wired computers in an apartment that only had wifi. These were commonly used for PS/2 game consoles I think.
I haven’t used this product, but it’s a good example of what I’m talking about.
So, no need to run old wep or unsecured wifi to get a remote dos laptop onto secure wifi.
As an aside, dos x86 emulators are pretty mature. Other than for bragging rights, he could probably go dumpster diving for a modern laptop with built in wifi and run all his old games just fine.
@Alfman, the author did state the device had no Ethernet either, so from the laptop perspective he’d still be solving the problem. Although I appreciate your option would leave him with more WiFi security if he could get a PCMCIA Ethernet adapter working instead of a WiFi adapter.
FWIW, I’d go emulator as well.