MS-DOS Wifi Page

Something few people know is that you can connect a vintage computer to your WLAN or Tether it to your Cellular device via WiFi. The problems are security protocols, and the limited selection of WiFi Cards for your vintage computer. Also, WiFi does limit your access choices quite a bit too, but does offer some benefits in security through the designs on this page.


WiFi for DOS is typically done for old Laptop computers using PCMCIA. Most Cardbus cards on later model Pentium laptops on forward wont' even have drivers for DOS so you're SOL. Honestly, the best “vintage computer” for WiFi - is the 80486 generation on back, and here's why.

486 based laptops, and some early Pentiums, typically have what is called a PCMCIA Type II slot. This is a 5v PCMCIA Slot typically used for 802.11 B Wireless cards and these cards typically come with either a Orinoco Gold/Silver/Bronze, Intersil, or Cisco chipset. The top cards for DOS are the various Orinoco cards and the Cisco Aironet cards.

I have provided a list of cards below that can be picked up on E-bay.

Orinoco Intersil Cisco Other/Unkown
2Wire PC24E-11-FC/R (Bronze) Adaptec AWN-8030 Cisco Aironet AIR-PCM340 FCC MAA-PW8210RT
Agere Systems Orinoco Silver AirLInk WLC010 Cisco Aironet AIR-PCM350 Artem Onair CmCrd 11
Compaq WL110 Askey WLC010 Cisco Aironet AIR-PCM352 Quetec ASW2201*
Lucent WaveLAN Bronze Hawking WE110P Cisco Aironet AIR-LMC352 Thomson ST110
Lucent WaveLAN Silver Linksys WPC11 Ratoc Systems AIR-CB21AG-A-K9 SpeedTouch
Microsoft MN-520
Netgear WG511
Netgear MA701
TrendNet TEW-PC16

*=WavePlus Chipset


The first part is getting the packet drivers for your card. Most driver distributions for DOS typically include a Packet Driver, an NDIS Driver, an ODI Driver, and a Netware Driver - and they are usually stored in separate directories in the file archive - so look for the folder marked “Packet” or “PKT”. It might also be a good idea to copy files from the Utilities directory to your chosen Directory as well. Just ignore the NDIS/ODI/Novell stuff because that stuff is typically used for Microsoft LAN Manager and/or Windows For Workgroups. I have specific setup for specific files below…..


The Cisco Drivers (downloadable here) are stored in the archive and includes the CSCPKT.INI, CSCPKT.COM, and supporting files. I usually copy these to a folder called C:\AIRONET.

You will want to edit the CSCPKT.INI to fit your configuration. The key focus lines are on the hardware addresses, IRQs, the SSID, and the Hostname. If you are using PCMCIA card you may need first load DOS PCMCIA Drivers. But it's possible to use the card directly if your pcmcia chipset is 82365, also note, for better compatibility and easy setup, insert your wifi pcmcia card to the bottom slot. Also in recent research we found that card's latest firmware in some cases does not work with DOS, run radinfo tool to check if your firmware revision is below 5.x, if not you may downgrade to v4.2523 (it can be done in windows 95 or later with cisco wifi utility). There are some incompatibilities with Dos newer than 6.22 either, make sure you are running ms-dos 6.22 for this tutorial.


After CSCPKT.INI is edited to suit, add the following line to your autoexec.bat


Reboot and the packet driver should load.

Now look at MTCP section of this tutorial.


Keep in mind you will need to be connecting to an open WiFi Hotspot. Best for me is to use WiFi Tethering on my Cell Phone. Some Cell phones even allow you to limit the number of devices (I set mine to allow ONE device) that can connect, turn off security (open WiFi), and even some can just act as a bridge to your Home WiFi. The nice part about this setup is you will be able to control access very tightly, making it the most secure solution.

Another option is to use the Guest WiFi on your router as an open network. Most Internet routers today allow for this feature. It's not suggested, but it's an option.

There are far more robust solutions that start veering on the edge of network engineer - ie, setting up a separate VLAN for your vintage computers and connecting a WiFI hotspot or even another router specifically setup to block/route/restrict traffic in a limited quantity, or even, if possible, connect to a WiFi network with a not-broadcasted SSID. But that goes beyond the scope of this page.


I use Mike Brutman's mTCP Suite for networking in DOS, and it's the suggested route by pretty much everybody in the Vintage Computer community at this point for connectivity via DOS. It's very well supported and very much up to date. The 386's-Pentium machines were focusing on here should be more than capable of running this software as it's designed to run on an 8088. For setting up mTCP.

Setting mtcp…….

Basically, what you need to do is edit Sample.CFG to fit your configuration, and save it to the desired location, and point to it in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file using the line “SET MTCPCFG=FILENAME.CFG” - this directs the mTCP software to use that specific configuration file. It won't work without this line stated and will error out.

Once all is configured, run DHCP, and it will write the current IP Address, Subnet, Gateway, IP Address, and lease time at the bottom of the MTCP Configuration file….the reason this location is kind of important? I'll explain below…..

mTCP Applications require at least a 30-minute lease time, some cell phones might set the least time too low - a hack/workaround for this is to edit the lease time in the config file after obtaining your IP Address.

Windows 3.11

Make sure you are not running packet driver in the background when trying install it to Windows 3.11 because that type setup is not possible.

Original source of this tutorial can be found here.

dos/ms-dos_wifi.txt · Last modified: 2022-08-10 03:33 by e1z0
Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International
Recent changes RSS feed Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki