Friday, March 1, 2002

The keys to performing a Network HotSync


By Stephen Vance

The minute I had both a Palm handheld and multiple computers on my SOHO network, I wanted to consolidate the PC side of my Palm OS data. Companies encounter the same situation when they want to provide infrastructure support for PDAs. Such support ranges from enabling HotSync operations from anywhere on the corporate LAN to centralized configuration and backup of handheld data.

You may feel that multiple copies of your HotSync data can give you a better sense of security through redundant backups. To some extent, you're correct. However, it can also scatter your data to the four corners of the earth and vex your corporate security officers.

Palm recognized this situation and supplied a way to synchronize your data to a single machine from over a network. Palm introduced this mechanism with Palm Desktop 3.0 and called it Network HotSync (or sometimes LANSync) for reasons that will become apparent. By the way, you also need a Palm III or later, or an earlier model with the 2MB upgrade.

Setting up the primary computer

If your company has set up centralized support for performing HotSync operations with your Palm handheld, you can skip this section. If they simply support or condone your Palm handheld habit or you're your own systems administrator, you need this information.

The first step, obvious though it may sound, is to set up a successful HotSync between your primary computer and your Palm handheld. You've probably already done this, but if you haven't, now is the time. The other obvious step is to set up a working network between your computer and at least one other.

Once you have a successful HotSync in place, the next step is to prepare your primary computer to be the HotSync server. If HotSync Manager isn't running, start it. Next, click on the HotSync Manager icon in the system tray and make sure the Network item is checked, as shown in Figure A.


You must check the Network item on the HotSync menu. (click for larger image)

Choosing it toggles the checked status. When you select Network, you may get a dialog telling you to do the next step.

Next, click on the HotSync Manager icon again and choose Setup from the menu. On the Network tab, check your user name as in Figure B. This tells the HotSync Manager that this is your primary computer.


Checking my user name indicates that this is my Primary PC. (click for larger image)

While you're here, it can't hurt to check your network settings by clicking on the TCP/IP Settings button, as in Figure C.


The TCP/IP Settings dialog provides the network information for LANSync. (click for larger image)