Internet connection SharingSetting up a LAN and sharing your Internet Connecton
2003.03.28 16:31 by Philip
Keywords: ICS, router, NIC, NAT, LAN
There are a couple of different ways to share your Cable Modem or xDSL connection over multiple PCs. Your ISP provides you with one or more IP addresses (or simply IPs) used to identify your PC. Most providers will assign just one IP per residential account, which means that for the outside world, the Internet in this case, you have only one address. The problem with multiple PCs using one IP address is that you need some kind of address translation that will route traffic to/from your PCs accordingly.
Single IP Address Sharing
The simplest and our recommended way to share your Internet connection across multiple PCs is by using a broadband router, you might want to check the Reviews section of the site for different brands and variations. The router sits between your external Cable/DSL modem and the LAN, or client PCs. Most Home/SOHO routers are simple to setup and use, it's just a little more involved than plugging the unit in.
Generally, you might want to get a router with multiple LAN ports, so you can connect all your client PCs without additional hardware, such as hub or switch. Other significant considerations should include support and downloadable firmware updates.
Depending on your confidence and experience, you might want to consider a more expensive unit that's more complicated, with flexible configuration that gives you total control, or you can choose a simpler, easy to configure and maintain router. Whatever choice you make, most standard internet applications will work without problem with any of the routers we've reviewed.
If for some reason you don't want to use a router, there is a way to share your Internet connectin by using either Proxy or NAT (Network Address Translation) software. Also, you would have to designate one PC as the server, and another as a client, rather than plugging your Modem to a hub.
Note that with this setup your server PC will need to be powered-up in order for your client PCs to be able to access the Internet.
Recommended NAT software: Sygate Internet Gateway
Multiple IP addresses
If you decide to purchase additional IP addresses for each PC on your LAN, your ISP might charge you anywhere between $0-$10 / month for the additional service. The advantage of this method is that you wouldn't have to install any additional software, and you can plug the Cable Modem directly to a hub, rather than having one of the PCs on-line as a server, or buying a router. The only disadvantage is the possible monthly fee. If you have multiple IP addresses, ask your ISP's Tech. Support to assist you with configuring your LAN to share the Internet connection.