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Networking 2 PCs with public IPs through ZoneAlarm

Hi,

I am running ZoneAlarm Pro 3.7 on my PC, which connects to the Internet through a cable modem.  I have another computer which also connects to the Internet through this cable modem, and both computers are connected to a switch, and are assigned public IP addresses.  When I first ran Zone Alarm, it gave me a dialogue about a new network it had found.  I checked the IP address and it was the Internet connection for computer 1.  I wanted to check if it would update the IP address field if I renewed the IP address, but it did not.  Does this matter, or will it still be keeping me safe from the Internet anyway?

My other question is this: there a safe way to network the computers considering they both have dynamic public IP addresses?  I did have them networked (which only worked after installing the NetBIOS and IPX/SPX protocols on both computers (both running Windows XP Pro)), and was not alerted to any danger until I received an advertising message using the net messenger (the one accessed by running 'net send' from the command prompt).  Is there a way to add the computers to each other's trusted sites, or run the network over NetBIOS or IPX/SPX so it cannot be accessed by other people?  I did consider adding their subnets as trusted, but after reading on some site, concluded that was not a good idea.

Should I invest in a router/2nd network cards for each computer, or is there a more practical solution, for example require a specific username/password combination to access network resources?  If this is possible, is it possible to make it standard so these settings are applied to all future folders which are shared?

If anyone has any ideas how to do this, can they please give me instructions both for doing this and for setting up ZoneAlarm to allow the 2 computers to be networked.

Thanks in advance.

sneakysnake
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sneakysnake
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sneakysnake
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chefboy4Commented:
First of all I will say that I'm not familiar with ZoneAlarm but I will tell you how to protect your network.  First of all invest in a cheap router with a four port switch.  I recently purchased one from CompUSA for a test lab in my office for only $40.  Plug your cable modem into your router and then plug your computers into its switch.  Unless your running Novell you don't need IPX/SPX protocol for your computers to talk.  The only protocol you really need is TCP/IP.  You need to have both your computers join the same workgroup.  They cannot join a domain unless you have a windows server on your network.  You will now only have one public IP address and your router will be giving your two CPU's private IP address which you can make static if you want.  You don't need a second network card for each computer, just the router with the switch.  Having the private IP's on your internal network will also help protect you from being hacked.  I'm sure after you set up static IP's on your network that ZoneAlarm will be easier to setup.  I have this exact configuration at my house so I know it works.  I hope this pretty much answered your question.
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ascension1014Commented:
I'm not certain about the version of zone alarm that you have, but the most recent version (I forget the nomenclature), does allow you to specify trusted ip's rather than networks. I will not update when the ip's change, it doesn't really work that way. When you restart ZA you should get the same dialoge again. I agree that you should invest in a router. Unless you are running a business the cable company is ripping you off by you paying for 2 ip's. Once you configure the router as prescribed in its users manual, you can specify the internal network as trusted. Since the router will be acting as a inexpensive hw firewall , ZA is redundant. If you choose to continue using it, you may have some problems. Barring the potential problems it couldn't hurt. IPX/SPX IS only for Novell, NetBIOS shouldn't be necessary either.

Chefboy4, I know I'm repeating a lot of what you wrote. I just wanted to post a few points. I restated yours for emphasis...
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ascension1014Commented:
Sneak,

Actually rereading my post, Netbios may be required depending on your windows version. Sorry...
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