network bridge problem.

  geoffgee 16:12 25 Sep 2005

I've tried repeatedly to set up a wired network for a LAN comprising two Win XP computers and one Win 98. All the computers share a dial up
internet connection via one of the XP computers.

I use the network wizard and tell it I want to create a network bridge (on the 'host') between the two 'guest' computers.

After completing the wizard there is a network bridge icon in 'network connections'. The two bridged computers can then 'see' each other and communicate (e.g. to share files) - however they do not 'see' the host computer.

Neither does the 'host' see either of the other two ('guest') computers although their connection icons are visible in 'network connections'.

When I try to repair the network bridge I get the message ...

"cannot repair because TCP/IP is not enabled for this connection."

I cannot find out how to enable TCP/IP and I don't know if this is the problem but can anyone throw any light on this matter?

P.S. I CAN set up a network O.K. if just two of the PC's share the dial up (and the third PC is then accesible to file share from the host but NOT use the shared dial up). Also in this configuration the connections can be 'repaired' without me getting the "TCP/IP is not enabled" message.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  LastChip 16:37 25 Sep 2005

Network bridges are normally used to connect two (or more) dissimilar networks.

Check the network connection addresses on each machine and see if they are all in the same series. I suspect you will have two in the same batch and one different.

  mgmcc 16:47 25 Sep 2005

I'm not sure that you are setting up the network correctly for Internet Connection sharing.

When you enable ICS on the internet connection (the dialup connection), the Local Area Connection will automatically be configured with the IP address and this is the adapter that the "Client" PC uses to get online via the "Host" PC's shared connection. The DHCP server runs on this network adapter to allocate the IP address to the "Client".

If you want to have more than one "Client" online via the shared internet connection, the Host and multiple Clients will need to connect via a network hub/switch, so that internet access is provided through the one Local Area Connection in the Host PC.

I don't believe that "bridging" two network adapters in the Host PC will produce the desired result. I have bridged two adapters in a PC so that it can access two separate networks, but the separate networks couldn't access one another directly.

  geoffgee 21:01 25 Sep 2005

Thanks LastChip and mgmcc,

In answer to the question "Why am I using a bridge?" - it's because the network wizard INSISTS on creating a network bridge if I specify more than one connection to another computer in my network!

Regarding the terms 'bridge' and 'network bridge' I've pasted the text of the 'Network Bridge Overview' (from the Windows XP help centre) below ...


Network Bridge overview

Network Bridge provides an inexpensive and easy way to connect network segments. A network segment is a single section of network media that connects computers. For example, suppose you have three computers: computer A, computer B, and computer C. Computer A has two Ethernet network adapters, and computers B and C have one Ethernet network adapter each. An Ethernet cable connecting A to B creates one network segment. Another Ethernet cable connecting A to C creates another network segment.

Traditionally, if you want a network with more than one segment, you have two options: routing or bridging. IP routing is a common solution for connecting network segments. However, to set up IP routing you either must buy hardware routers or set up the computers at the junctions between segments to operate as routers. IP routing requires difficult IP addressing configuration for each computer on each network segment, and each network segment must be configured as a separate subnet. IP routing is a good solution for large networks, where scalability is important, and where there is an experienced staff to configure and maintain the network. A bridge does not require difficult configurations, but you must purchase additional hardware bridges. Neither of these options are ideal if you have a home or small office network, do not want to purchase expensive bridging hardware, and do not have experienced staff to administer an IP routing network.

With Network Bridge, you can connect network segments by selecting the appropriate network connection icons and clicking Bridge Connections. Equally easily, you can enable the bridge and add connections to it. The network bridge manages your network segments, and creates a single subnet for the entire network. There is no configuration required, and you do not need to purchase additional hardware such as routers or bridges. IP addressing, address allocation, and name resolution is easy to do in a single subnet IP network.

The network bridge can create connections between different types of network media. In a traditional network, if you are using mixed media types you need a separate subnet for each type of media, and packet forwarding is required for each one of the network's multiple subnets. Packet forwarding is required because different protocols are used for different types of media. Network Bridge automates the configuration required to forward information from one type of media to another.

Only one bridge can exist on a computer running Windows XP, but you can use it to bridge as many network connections as the computer can physically accommodate. For information about creating a network bridge, see Bridge Connections.

(end of quote.)

From the second paragraph (if I understand it correctly) it seems to me there is a difference between a 'bridge' and a 'network bridge' - the former possibly requiring 'additional hardware'(?).

I figured a network bridge would work for me since I am trying to achieve precisely the connecting of network segments as described in the example they use (in the first paragraph) i.e. Computer A with two network adapters connected (by ethernet cables) to computers B and C respectively (B and C have one network adapter each).

Can't see why the wizard wouldn't sort out the addressing issue(s) for me! (Maybe it would if I could enable TCP/IP I'm left wondering ... but how to enable it?)

Re. your suggestions. How do I check the network connection addresses of each machine? (One problem is that I keep returning my system to the configuration that works i.e. sharing the internet from only two computers i.e. without the network bridge.)

  LastChip 21:23 25 Sep 2005

I've never seen a network set-up this way before and yes, there is a difference between the "bridges".

If you open a command prompt on each machine, and type the command;

ipconfig /all

(note the space between the g and /) and look for addresses that begin with 192.168.*.* or 10.0.*.*

The first two or three groups of numbers are the ones that should be the same on all machines (it depends on the Subnet mask as to whether the first two or three sets of numbers should be identical) and the last two or one set should be unique. So for example, a set of addresses for these machines may look like this;

Once you know the addresses, on each machine (still at the command prompt) type the command;

ping [address]

for example;


(note the space again between the g and first number)

Do this for the "other" two machines, from each machine and see if you get any time outs.

Let us know the result.

  mgmcc 23:23 25 Sep 2005

I still think the "Client" PCs, however many there may be, need to connect to the Local Area Connection in the Host PC that has been allocated the fixed IP address when ICS was enabled on the internet connection. This means, for more than one "Client", connecting with a hub/switch. I don't believe that bridging two network adapters in the Host PC will allow them both to be used for shared internet access. In fact, I don't know where the second adapter in the bridge would get its IP address from - it wouldn't have been allocated an address when ICS was enabled and there is no DHCP server for it to get one.

  geoffgee 00:07 26 Sep 2005


These are the results I got ...

A) Fuji PC (host, with two adapters) ...

NVIDIA NIC (Sub Net Mask Note ... this NIC works to the Acer laptop.

Realtek NIC (SNM Note ... this NIC works to the Compaq PC.

B) Acer laptop (Win XP) ...


C) Compaq PC (Win 98) ...

3com NIC (SNM

When I 'pinged' each machine in turn the maximum time was <10ms (on 1 packet only, all the others were <1ms). None of the ping tests timed out.

I did all these tests with the setup configured for two pc's to share the internet (i.e. without the network bridge) the Fuji (A) and the Acer laptop (B). Would it make a difference if I did it after I'd established the network bridge?

I can see a couple of 192.168.0.* (NVIDIA and SIS) and a couple of 169.254.*.* (Realtek and 3com).

Does this help?

P.S. Just noticed your latest reply mgmcc. Thanks for staying with this.

  LastChip 00:35 26 Sep 2005

You do have two independent networks. The "192" and the "169".

I'm trying to work out a way to allow your Compaq PC to access the Internet (without much success). I have a feeling mgmcc is right. You wont be able to use this configuration for Internet access, but before we give up, please try this.

From the Compaq machine;


and tell me the result. If it's successful, which browser are you using?

  mgmcc 09:21 26 Sep 2005

I really don't know if this will work, but try:

Give the SECOND network adapter in the Host PC the fixed address subnet

Give the CLIENT connected to the Host's FIRST adapter the fixed addresses:



Default Gateway

DNS address

Give the CLIENT connected to the Host's SECOND adapter the fixed addresses:



Default Gateway (but also try

DNS address (but also try

  mgmcc 09:24 26 Sep 2005

I was having problems posting and had to copy my reply to a text file. This should have been at the START of my previous message:

The "169.254" addresses are due to the network adapters concerned being set to get their addresses automatically, but being unable to access a DHCP server from which to get them. Windows has defaulted to allocating 169.254 addresses which are not going to work for you.

  geoffgee 10:12 27 Sep 2005

Thanks for the suggestions and sorry it's taken me a while to get back with the results.

Here's what happened yesterday regarding your suggestions ...


Pinging from the Compaq PC was unsuccessful. (My browser is internet explorer version 6 - but you probably don't need to know this since pinging failed!)


Tried everything you suggested, both with and without the network bridge in place, still all without success as regards the compaq pc. (The Acer still worked via the Fuji with the new manually assigned IP addresses you suggested using).

I did notice that I no longer got the "TCP/IP is not enabled for this connection" message that I'd been getting previously when repairing the bridged connections to either 'guest' computer. So, maybe choosing to have IP addresses assigned automatically disables the TCP/IP(?). I'm pretty sure I did everything correctly.

I have another PC with windows 98SE. I may try putting a network card in that then retrying the network bridge using that computer instead of the Compaq. Also I'm continuing to read the information in 'help and support' (as well as looking into obtaining a network hub).

Thanks for your help, you've taught me a lot, and I can't blame you if you want to call it a day!

I still can't help feeling this should work somehow! Oh well!


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