How To Create A "Personal Area Network" Using Bluetooth
Bluetooth is an exciting technology made popular by mobile phones. However, Bluetooth capabilities have extended beyond phone-to-phone and phone-to-PC connectivity since we can easily use it for creating a wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) between two PCs. This can be of great help at homes where there is more than one computer - say, a desktop and laptop - where the entire hard disks and even printers can be shared.The connectivity works much like Local Area Network with only one difference: here, instead of a network card and cable, its Bluetooth adapter is used for communication
This guide will talk through PAN creation using a laptop with a built-in Bluetooth adapter and a desktop PC with the USB-based Bluetooth device (often called a dongle) - both running Windows XP.Install Bluetooth driver on desktop PC using the CD provided with the dongle case. Bluetooth icon appears in the System Tray. Click on this icon, select Open Bluetooth Settings, go to Options tab and check on ‘Turn discovery on' in Discovery section. In the same dialogue box, put a check on ‘Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer' and ‘Alert me when a new Bluetooth device wants to connect' under ‘Connections' section. Note that these settings are saved only when dongle is attached with the desktop PC.The next step is to turn on the Guest account and enable file sharing on the desktop PC and laptop.
Turn on file sharing
Right-click on a folder which is to be shared, and select ‘Sharing and Security'. Now, Properties dialogue box will open, select the Sharing tab. In the section ‘Network sharing and security', the user will be notified that as a security measure, remote access to this computer is disabled. User can use the link Network Setup Wizard. Below this link, there is another link with the option to ‘share files without running the wizard'. Click on this link. The ‘Enable File Sharing' dialogue box will appear with a security warning. Change the default selection which is ‘Wizard mode' to ‘Just enable file sharing' and press OK. At this point, ‘Share this folder on the network' option will appear in the Properties dialogue box. Put a check on this box and note that Share Name is automatically set to the folder name. Do not change it and press OK. Perform the same procedure to enable sharing on the laptop. In some computers, the check box ‘Share this folder on the network' will appear automatically if the computer has been on a network before.
Turn on the guest account
By default, Guest account is kept disabled and needs to be enabled for PAN access in this case. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Local Users and Groups > Users. This shows the list of users. Right-click on Guest and select Properties. Un-check ‘Account is disabled,' and press OK. Again, right-click on Guest and select Set Password. Press Proceed, and without typing anything in New Password and Confirm Password fields, press OK. A message box ‘The password has been set' will be displayed. Press OK.
It is not necessary to enable Guest account for PAN since it is being used only for simplicity. Any other account can be used for remote access as well, since it is enabled and its proper authentication and access information is configured.
Make sure that file sharing and guest account settings as shown above are performed on both desktop and laptop. Now from the desktop PC, go to Start > Settings > Network Connections and select Bluetooth Network Connection under Personal Area Network. Check ‘My device is searchable' (this refers to the fact that the laptop has been kept as discoverable) and press Next, to search for devices. Laptop's name should appear in the list. Select it and press Next. Select ‘Let me choose my own passkey' option and enter 0000 and wait for laptop to display a balloon in System Tray on top of Bluetooth icon asking for Bluetooth security code. Enter 0000 here as well.
The request remains valid for about 30 seconds so be quick in entering the passkey on laptop. After the passkey is entered, the desktop PC will finish the Bluetooth device wizard. Press Finish. A list of devices will appear ready for connection, so select the laptop's name from this list. A balloon will appear in laptop System Tray about connection request from desktop PC. Grant permission and notice that an icon showing two small computers appear in System Tray showing network connectivity on both the computers. At this point, right-click this icon, select Status, press Properties, and double-click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Set IP address of desktop PC as 192.168.0.1 and that of laptop as 192.168.0.2 with subnet mask of both as 255.255.255.0 - without this step, both the machines will keep on trying to acquire IP address and will not be able to connect to each other.
Once this is done, both the computers should display normal network icon as if they are connected over LAN. There is a lot that can be done once two computers are connected. The entire disk can be shared by right-clicking the drive letter and making it available on sharing.
After a connection is established, double-click the System Tray icon, which will reveal bytes in and out count. If there is just one way traffic, there could be a network problem. Try Ping command using command prompt to verify if IP addresses have been defined correctly. After a successful connection, Network Neighborhood should display the name of the other PC. But if double-clicking on the computer name results in error message saying you do not have privileges/access is denied, then check to see if Guest account is enabled and is not password protected and that the file sharing is turned on.
Though the PAN setup process looks like a lengthy exercise it is actually a one-time effort and it takes just a few clicks to establish a connection after this initial setup is done. Enjoy sharing!