How do I allow a second PC to share a cable modem?

Posted on 2003-03-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I have a desktop pc running Windows 98 with internet access through a cable modem.  I want to be able to bring my laptop, running Win XP Pro, home and use it to connect to the internet.  If I simply unplug the connection from the desktop and connect it to the laptop it does not work.  I think the cable modem is somehow connected only to the IP address of my desktop.  As this is not that common an occurence and I never need access through both simultaneously, I don't want to pay to rent another modem etc from the cable copmpany.  I should be able to use one pc or another.  Is there a simple way to do this or do I need to set up a small network?  If so, how do I build this network.  Thanks.
Question by:99BigDog
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 8052979
the problem is probably due to the fact that your cable ISP registers the MAC address of the NIC that connected to them.
you  can
a. try rebooting the modem after switching
b. get a router that will clone the mac address
c. use the w98 box and set upi internet connection sharing
if w98 second edition, it has ICS built in, if 1st edition, you will need a third party app
www.analogx.com has a free solution analogx
or try wingate, or sygate
for more on sharing a connection see here
for step by step

see here



my recommendation is the router (about $50 US) has the added benifit of a hardware firewall, off loads the ICS processing, and the host doesn't need to be on when the client want to access the internet
d-link and linksys make good inexpensive routers that can clone your MAC address

Expert Comment

ID: 8053627
The Simplest way to go this is to get a Cable Modem Router/Switch..

like this one($40 after $10 rebate):


No headaches, you can share the printer too..

LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 8053773
Many cable companies allow you to register more than 1 MAC (NOT IP) address,(12 digit number e.g. 00-00-23-a1-4e-00) often via website or telephone, as long as you only use one at a time.
I use  Telewest, and they allow up to 4.
To get the MAC address , open a dos command line and type "ipconfig /all"

If they don`t allow more than one Mac address, easiest way is to get a network card for each pc, and set up a local network, with ICS.

has the info you need


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Expert Comment

ID: 8054865
I have a nice little system at home on my cable modem.

I use a LinkSys EtherFast DSL/Cable router (actually, I upgraded to the one that has wireless, so I can use my notebook anywhere in the house.)

I've set up several, and the LinkSys is (IMHO) the easiest.  Plug your cable modem into the Linksys box, then from the network cards in your computers into the Linksys box, and you're pretty much up and running.

The nice things about the Linksys units are:

1) Easy web-based setup
2) Upgradable firmware
3) Built-in firewall
4) MAC address cloning (if necessary)
5) IP Forwarding and filtering
6) DHCP built in
7) NAT built in
8) DMZ Built In
9) 10/100 auto-switching ethernet ports

I've seen units like the BEFSR41 (4 port switch, 1 WAN port for cable/dsl) for about $40.  WELL WORTH IT!


Author Comment

ID: 8096466
OK - Very cool.  If I connect the laptop directly to the cable modem and reboot I can connect - but this is too cumbersome.  I purchased a Linksys router with switch - model BEFW11S4 so I can have my destop always connected and the laptop can connect wirelessly when in the house.  I set everything up - the desktop works fine.  My laptop has a built in 802.11b network card (Toshiba 6100) and connects to the LAN, strong signal, but I cannot connect to the internet.  Is this because of the MAC address?  How do I clone my pc MAC address so any computer connected to the router will work?  Can I call my cable company and tell them the mac address of the Linksys, and if so, will this solve the problem?  Thanks for all of the help.

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 8096511
connect to the linksys with the machine you can connect to the internet with, and one of the configuration pages of the linksys will let you clone the MAC address (it should be in the manual how to, and the manual should be on the cd)

Author Comment

ID: 8096643
I have cloned the mac address and can connect with the laptop but, although the signal strength is excellent, the connection is very slow.  It says 2Mbps.  Why would this be?  How can I increase it?

Thanks for all of your help.

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 8097385
2Mbps is still faster than your internet connection
try some speed tests
run them on each machine for comparison

Author Comment

ID: 8098167
The connection on the desktop is incredibly quick (not based on software, just using it).  When I connect the laptop to the switch with an ethernet cable it's just as fast.  It's when I connect wirelessly that it's too slow to use.  
LVL 41

Accepted Solution

stevenlewis earned 200 total points
ID: 8098189
>When I connect the laptop to the switch with an ethernet cable it's just as fast
100mbit will blow away any wireless (even the newest specs are only 54mbit)
older ones are 11 mbit, and the even older are 2mbit
what does tha WAP and card say they support?
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 8105074
Yours is an 4Mbit card, although as it is an "integrated" one, it may share processor time, a bit like a "windows modem" or integrated graphics cards.
The latest PCMCIA cards support 54 mbit, but your router only supports 11Mbit (below 100 feet range).

Check your settings on the wireless card, and the router, there may be a speed setting, a priority setting, or you may have a "full duplex" equivalent.

High encryption can cause slowdowns,apparently, as can someone else "stealing" your connection.Try setting the mac address of your wifi card in the router as the only one allowed wireless access.

It may also be worth checking the firmware versions on the laptop and the router, as wireless units seem to be updated fairly often.

Expert Comment

ID: 9153310
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