by July 7, 2000 0 comments

Written by Krishna Kumar and Shankar Balan

Go out to buy an Internet account and most ISPs give you a
CD,which sets up the account for you. Sometimes the CD forces you to install a
particular browser or even custom-created software. What happens if your system
crashes or if you go elsewhere, where the software is not set up? Can you still
use your account? Or, what if you’re using an operating system like the MacOS
or Linux? Can you still use the account?

The answer is yes.

What these auto dialers do is use Microsoft’s Internet
connection manager to set up your dial-up networking. So, as a matter of fact,
you don’t need any of the software that the ISP gives you. Nor are you tied
down to any particular operating system. Some ISPs insist that you use separate
software to dial in, register yourself, and set up your password. You need to
use this only once. If you don’t want to use even this one, call up the
helpdesk and ask them to register you. Remember though to change that password

In this piece, we’ll tell you how to set up your PC to
dial-in to your ISP, without having to install the software that comes on the CD
given by the ISP.

Let’s start with Windows.

Using Windows

You first have to install your modem. Once the modem is
installed, it can be accessed from Start>Settings>Control Panel>Modems.
Select the modem and click on Properties. In the General tab increase the
speaker volume so that you can hear when your modem is dialing. Also set the
maximum speed to the maximum available in the drop down box, but deselect the
“only connect at this speed” option.

Now, it’s time to set up the account. This has to be done
from Dial-Up Networking. You access this by opening “My computer”.
Inside the Dial-Up Networking folder, you have the “Make new
connection” program. Double click on this and name your connection, like
VSNL or Satyam or whatever. Click on Next. Type in the telephone number that
your modem needs to dial in to. This number will be given by your ISP. If you
can’t find it, call up the ISP’s helpdesk. You can leave the area code and
the country code blank, if you are dialing into a number in the same city.

Now click on Next and then Finish.
But you haven’t finished yet.

In the Dial-Up Networking folder, you’ll find a new icon
with the name you gave your connection. Right click on this and select
Properties from the menu. Deselect “Use country code and area code” if
it is selected.

Now click on “Server type”. In the window that
opens up, type of dial-up server should be PPP. “Log on to network”
and “Enable software compression” should be set on, and only TCP/IP
should be selected in “Allowed network protocols.”

Now click on TCP/IP settings. Select “Server assigned IP
address”, and specify name server address. The name server can be any name
server on the Internet, and need not be your ISP’s name server. For example,
your primary name server could be (VSNL Delhi) and your secondary
name server could be (VSNL Bangalore) even if your ISP is say
Satyam or KMR Online. Leave “Use IP header compression” and “Use
default gateway on remote network” selected. Click OK twice and you are
back to the General tab. A few ISPs like VSNL in Trivandrum and Hyderabad
require you to enter your username and password in a post dial terminal. To
bring up this terminal, you should now click on the Configure button and go to
the Options tab in the window that opens up. Here click on “Bring up
terminal window after dialing”.

Click OK twice and you are ready to go.

Now to connect, double click on the connection name (you
could also create a shortcut for this on the desktop). Enter your username and
password and click on Connect to start dialing. If others are likely to use your
machine, and you don’t want them to use your account, then disable the
“Save password” option.

Using Red Hat Linux 6.2

Setting up dial-up networking is very similar to Windows. I
assume you are using the GNOME desktop environment. Click
Start>Internet>Dialup Configuration from a terminal window, or run the
command “rp3-config” to fire up the Red Hat PPP configuration wizard.
Click Next. The wizard will auto probe the modem. If auto detection fails, you
can always set the modem manually.

If your modem is on COM1, set the modem device to
“/dev/ttyS0”, or “/dev/ttyS1” if its on COM2. Set the baud
rate and volume control to desired levels. If your telephone connection supports
tone dialing, toggle “Use touch tone dialing”. Click “Next”.

You should be prompted for the account information. Type in
your Account name, prefix (if any), Area/Country code (if any) and your ISP’s
dial up number in their respective fields and click “Next”. Fill up
the username and password box and click “Next”. Select “Normal
ISP” from the Account List dialog box. Click “Next” and
“Finish” your configuration session.

The wizard will now present you with an integrated view of
the account you have just configured. Click Edit>Advanced tab and fill in the
details of the primary and secondary DNS server’s IP address. If you are
satisfied with the settings, click Close>Close. You have now finished the
account configuration part.

By default, Red Hat Linux expects the peer to authenticate
itself before allowing network packets to be sent or received. This will cause
the connection to be terminated with the error “PPP daemon died
unexpectedly”. To prevent this from happening, add the line “noauth”
to the file/etc/ppp/options.

You are now ready to make the call. Start>Internet>RH
PPP Dialer or from a terminal window and run “rp3”. Select the account
we had just configured and click OK. Say “Yes” to start the interface.

That’s about it.

Red Hat also provides you with a command line dialer called
“wvdial” if you prefer not to use X. At the console prompt, run “wvdial
accountname”. To configure this, you could use the command line tool “wvdialconf”.
Rp3 and rp3-config are the GUI front-ends for wvdial and wvdialconf

Wvdial is a very intelligent dialer. If your ISP doesn’t
support PAP authentication, it’ll automatically try other types of
authentication like terminal authentication, CHAP authentication, etc.

If your modem refuses to dial with the error “Dial tone
not found” or automatically redials after a minute, the modem might require
a special init string usually ATX1. To add the init string, edit the file
/etc/wvdial.conf and change the entry “Init1=ATZ” to
“Init1=AT&FX1” under the [Dialer Defaults] section.

Krishna Kumar with Shanker Balan

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