XP home network security

I have 2 pcs both running XP, both have an 10/100 card installed. I want to network them together and share and internet (dsl) connection using an external modem.I have a 5 port ethernet hub also and would like to know the most secure way to hook these all together.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Hi RobinHood1964,
Sharing an Internet Connection

To share an Internet connection you have the following options.
1.      Use Windows ICS (internet connection Sharing)
2.      Use Some Proxy Software
3.      If your using Cable/DSL use a dedicated switch/router
4.      If you using Windows 2000 Server use NAT under RRAS

Since Win98SE all versions of windows have been able to use ICS. One PC has an Internet connection and shares it with other Computers (Hosts) on your network. For a full description of ICS see http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/ics/ics.htm
To set up ICS..
For Win98  http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/ics/icsinstall.htm
For Win ME http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/ics/icsmeinstall.htm
For Win 2K http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/ics/ics_win2k_install_dup.htm
For Win XP http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/xp_ics/serverdialup.htm
To Troubleshoot ICS

To enable your PC to act as a proxy server you need to install Proxy software, then configure the clients to use a proxy server for their Internet connection.
Business users see
ISA Server http://www.microsoft.com/isaserver/
Wingate http://www.wingate.com/
Small Office and Home users see
AnalogX     http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/network/proxy.htm
SOLSoft NSM http://www.solsoft.org/nsm/
JanaServer  http://www.janaserver.de/start.php?lang=en&menue=home
DeleGate    http://www.delegate.org/delegate/
EZProxy http://www.lavasoftware.net/en/content/ezproxy/download.htm (15 Days)
Proxy+    http://www.proxyplus.cz/ (31 Days)
EasyProxy http://www.nycsoftware.com/easyproxy/

If you have cable or a DSL connection this is the best (though not the cheapest route) to go down. This equipment will plug into your exiting router and do the work for you, you can also get them with built in wireless.

This is what I use (with 54g wireless)
Cheaper option (slower wireless)
Cheapest Option (No Wireless)

*****Using NAT under RRAS*****
HOW TO: Configure the NAT Service in Windows 2000
HOW TO: Configure a Windows 2000 Server as a Network Address Translation Server

Gareth GudgerCommented:
The most efficient way to hook these together is to connect them both to the five port hub and then connect the external DSL modem to it. I feel this is the best performance method as you are not running it through a machine performing ICS.

One of the disadvantages of ICS is that it will be utilitizing some processing power/memory to handle the transcation of the other machine as well as needing to always be of for the other to gain internet access. The upside is that you only have one machine exposed to the internet instead of two (from the equal access method I already mentioned via the hub).

However, this security risk has been significantly lowered in XP as you can enable XPs built in firewall (Internet Connection Firewall). Its basic but it does the job. Right click on My Network Places and choose Properties. Right click on your network connection and choose Properties. Click Advanced and select Internet Connection Firewall. This will work out well if you have them both hooked through the hub.

If you have additional money to spend I would recommend getting a cable/dsl router with a built in firewall and hub. Anymore they only cosr abotu $60.
If you plug into the hub then plug the hub into the modem you will need to get a second public ip address. With most ISP's the cost of a router will offset this cost and you will then have a secure firewall in place (hardware firewall vs software firewall).
Gareth GudgerCommented:
Yes, like I said....most firewall/routers can be purchased at you local computer retailer for around $60.

A lot of ISPs offer 1, 2 or 4 public IPs, a lot at no additonal cost to you so the hub method could work also but you will need to determine your ISPs plan first.

The firewall will only require 1 IP which we know you already have and is the most secure. And as inexpensive as they are these days ($60 - prolly cheaper online) it really pays to have one.
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