How to share your cable modem or DSL connection between two computers
or networking for dummies ! Microsoft operating systems
only...you 1337 Linux people don't need this anyway, do you ?
When having a high-speed Internet connection, it
makes sense to share it between several computes at the same time. Maybe your
roomie, husband, wife, children or just your other personality wants
to surf the web when you're on a E2 noding spree. If you have access to
another computer, this can be done easily! It can also be done in many hard
ways, so this is a comprehensive guide to several easy ways of accomplishing an
Internet connection sharing. If you want to add more computers, you will have to
create a LAN, and that is not covered in this guide.
There are many different ways to connect two computers to each other without
being a hacker, for instance
I will describe these briefly below, with pros and cons.
Networking using a hub
Using a hub to connect computers, is basically the same as building a LAN. A
switch is a more competent and expensive hub. Hubs are cheap, around $30.
Pros: Fairly easy, good speed 10 or 100 MBps, comes in kits found in
Cons: Requires two IP-addresses, no security
Setup: Each PC needs one NIC that goes to the hub, which in turn is connected
to the cable modem. Then the network adapters need to be configured in Windows
so that the computers work well on the same network. The sharing of the
connection is provided by your setup of the network and the hub.
Networking using a router
A router is needed for a more advanced network, and therefore it is harder to
setup. It is also more expensive, with very few priced under $200.
Pros: Requires only one IP address, functions as a firewall, good speed 10 or
Cons: Expensive, harder to setup
Setup: Same as for a hub, plus that the router needs to be setup as well,
according to its manual. The sharing of the connection is provided by
your setup of the network and the router. You do read manuals, don't you...?
Using a direct cable connection - peer to peer or null modem
Direct cable connection is a supported feature of Windows, and it uses a crossover serial or
parallel cable. 'Crossover' means that the cable is twisted with respect to it's internal wiring; some of the wires change places in the connector plugs. It is very easy to use the wizard to establish the connection. When the connection works, you just use Internet Connection
Sharing, ICS, which is also a Windows feature. ICS is available in
Windows version 98 Second Edition and over. There are also several commercial
products like Wingate that shares your connection once you have the PCs
Pros: Dead simple, requires a crossover serial or parallel cable, only requires one IP
Cons: Low speed ~ 0.1 MBps
Setup: Use a crossover serial or parallel cable, and then in Windows create a
New Connection, and choose Direct Connection. Setup one PC as "Host' and
one as "Guest". This done, use ICS to share the connection, as described above under "peer-to-peer".
Using a crossover network cable
This is basically the same as using the above mentioned null modem, except you
connect two NICs by a crossover network cable. 'Crossover' means that the cable is twisted with respect to it's internal wiring; some of the wires change places in the connector plugs. Here too, you use Internet Connection Sharing in Windows, as described above under "peer-to-peer". One PC is setup as a host, and the other as a guest.
Pros: Fairly easy, good speed 10 or 100 MBps, only requires one IP address
Cons: Well, you might still have to fiddle with your network settings.
Setup: Install the NICs and setup up the network adapters in Windows. Then use
ICS to share the connection.
OK, this is not a separate type of connection; it's just another type of
connectors that have driver support in Windows already. You can use a NIC or
a modem with a USB adapter and then use a hub or a router. Or you can make a
direct cable connection using a USB direct cable cable (~$50) and some software.
Pros: Easy, good speed 4-8 MBps
Cons: USB not super reliable
Setup: Insert USB cable and then use ICS, if you use a direct connection. If
connected to hub/router, see above.
Let me know if anything is incorrect or needs clarification. I will try to
add more specific setup information.