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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Get a Router for Windows Internet Connection Sharing

Not only Windows XP, but also several earlier editions (Windows 98 Second Edition, Me, and 2000), come with Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) -- adequate built-in router software -- but there's not much point in using it. You'll need a hub or router to connect your computers into a LAN anyway.

If you insist on using Internet Connection Sharing, be sure that the computer you plan to use is connected both to your cable or DSL modem and to the LAN, and that you leave the computer on all the time (it can't act like a router when it's turned off). What you do next depends on which version of Windows that computer is running:

  • Windows XP: Choose Start, All Programs, Communications, New Connection Wizard (the same Wizard used to set up your Internet connection) and choose Set Up a Home or Small Office Network. The Wizard steps you through the configuration of the ICS server (the computer that connects to the Internet) and the ICS clients (the rest of the computers).
  • Windows Me: Choose Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Home Networking Wizard (you may need to click the little arrows at the bottom of the Communications menu to reveal all the commands).

Either way, if you have an Internet connection that requires you to log on, then (with luck) your ICS server will log you on automatically when someone on the LAN wants to connect to the Internet. Otherwise you'll have to use the ICS client program to poke the router awake before you log on. If you have always-on broadband, the Internet will just be there when you need it

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