Have you ever wanted to share your PC's internet connection with your Dreamcast? Maybe you want to be able to use both at the same time. Or maybe you have a broadband connection to your PC and want to let your Dreamcast share it, but don't want to spend money on the DC Broadband Adapter. There are many good reasons to set up a Dreamcast server on your PC, but it's not necessarily an easy thing to do. This guide is here to help you get everything set up.
Here are some common situations where you might consider setting up your Windows PC as a Dreamcast server:
You want to be able to play Dreamcast games online, or browse the web on the DC and still be able to use the internet on your PC at the same time.
You have broadband service to your PC, you want to connect your Dreamcast via broadband, but don't want to buy a Broadband Adapter.
You want to share your PC's broadband connection with your Dreamcast, but don't want to spend money on a hardware router or hub.
You already have Broadband, and don't want to spend more money on a dial-up ISP to play games.
You're sick of tying up the phone line playing online games.
You would like to play a game over broadband, but it's only designed for 56k.
Now here are some advantages and disadvantages to creating a setup like this:
You save money on hardware to connect your Dreamcast via broadband (don't have to buy the BBA or a hub).
You won't tie up your phone line for hours at a time by using a dial-up ISP (assuming your PC has broadband).
You get less lag by using a broadband connection.
You can share a single internet connection between the Dreamcast and your PC.
A 56k modem in your PC will only connect to the Dreamcast at 33.6k/bps max. This is because the upload speed on a 56k modem is capped at 33.6k, and that is what you're basically doing: uploading information to the Dreamcast. This isn't as bad as it seems, though, because 56k modems rarely if ever connect at the full 56k over a phone line. The data is traveling nowhere near as far either, which means less data loss because of line noise. And if you're using broadband, the data will stream into the Dreamcast at a full 33.6k/s without the lag that is characteristic of dial-up connections. In case you're wondering, PSO works great in this setup; 33.6k is more than enough bandwidth to play online.
It takes some work to get it set up. It also takes some effort to get connected every time you want to play. It's easy after you've done it a few times, but not as easy as just switching on your Dreamcast and letting it do all the work for you.
It will take some processor bandwidth from your PC to do the Net Address Translation. There is no noticeable slowdown in my system, though (PIII 700MHz, 128Mb RAM).
It will drain some internet bandwidth from your PC. This is not even an issue if you're using broadband.
If you think this is something that could benefit you, then read on...and get ready to get your hands dirty! You can use the list box at the top of the page to navigate through the pages of this guide.