It should seem that it would
be easy to connect a single computer to the Internet, and be
able to use that connection simultaneously with all other
computers in the same room (on a LAN). Unfortunately, it's a bit
more complicated than that. Naturally, you can have a separate
phone line and a separate modem for each computer, but there is
a better way. This is especially useful for the newer high-speed
connections, such as DSL and cable modems, where paying for more
than one line is not practical. You can do it either with a
software or a hardware solution:
to utilize existing hardware:
have Windows 98 Second Edition, you can use the included Internet
Connection Sharing feature.
and WinProxy are
third-party, shareware alternatives that enable you to configure
your computer as a gateway or a proxy server, respectively.
to using software to share Internet connections:
The performance will be slower than a hardware solution
The computer hosting the connection must be on for the
others to have access to the Internet.
The software can be difficult to set up.
special router (sometimes called a lan modem) is connected
directly to the Internet.
Each computer is then connected to the router (which is
also a hub), which provides Internet access to all connected
Both 3Com and Ascend make lan modem routers. You'll need
one that supports your connection type specifically: ISDN, DSL,
cable modem, 56k v.90 analog, etc.
These routers typically are very easy to set up, and
support 4 to 10 computers. Since they connect via ethernet, each
computer will need an ethernet card.
to using hardware to share Internet connections:
The hardware solution is much more expensive.
have DSL, contact your provider to find out about getting
additional IP addresses. Five IP addresses, for example, would
typically provide Internet access for four computers without any
special software or expensive hardware.
The downside is the additional monthly expense, although
this can be as low as an extra $30 per month.