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Posted on 2004-09-28
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I have a small business.  Please understand I am not an expert.  I have one server that is dedicated to running one certain application and must remain dedicated.  There are two computers connected to this server and one needs internet access.  I also have two other stand-alone computers that must have internet accesss.  How can I accomplish this?  I do not have access to DSL due to my rural location.  Computers are running Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the computer hooked to the server is running Windows 98.
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Question by:alm64goat
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Justin Durrant earned 43 total points
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by:Justin Durrant
ID: 12173546
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by:Yan_west
ID: 12173634
You could use ICS wich is free, you also, you could use something like wingate, wich is alot more powerfull.:

http://www.wingate.com/product-wingate.php

from their site:

"WinGate is a sophisticated integrated Internet gateway and communications server designed to meet the control, security and communications needs of today’s Internet-connected businesses."

"Provide secure and managed Internet access for your entire network via a single or multiple shared internet connections
Enforce advanced and flexible access-control and acceptable use policies
Monitor usage in real time, and maintain per-user and per-service audit logs.
Stop viruses, spam and inappropriate content from entering your network
Provide comprehensive internet and intranet email services.
Protect your servers from internal or external threats.
Improve network performance and responsiveness with web and DNS caching
Ease administration burdens on your internal networks.
Key Benefits
Using WinGate to actively manage the use of your Internet and network resources can provide many benefits, including:
Improved Employee productivity
Minimised time and resources required to maintain network integrity
Reduced Employer liabilities
Improved efficiency, responsiveness and reliability of network access "

You can do all this, and for 6 concurrent connection, it cost you 109$.. can't beat the price for what it does..

I used it 4 years ago in a situation similar to you, and it was working *great*
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by:Yan_west
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Basic wingate setup instructions..

http://www.candc1.com/wingate/setup1.cfm
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by:Justin Durrant
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Agreed... wingate works very well.. but it is not free.

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by:lbecque
ID: 12174239
How do you access the Internet today?  Dial Up?  ISDN?
Do you have access to Cable TV Internet?  If so, the fastest and easiest solution would be to buy a router and hook the computers and cable modem to it.  You can get a router as low as $20-30 now.
If you can only get dial up or ISDN there are special routers available that support these connections but cost a little more.
The first option of using a cable modem would be best though (works for DSL too) and I have set this up for many people quite easily.
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by:alm64goat
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Do I have to have all the computers networked to use Wingate?  If so, can I do this with a peer to peer?
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by:Yan_west
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Yes you can do that with no problem.. peer to peer is working fine.. the computers have to be networked..
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by:lbecque
lbecque earned 41 total points
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I took a look at the Wingate link that is being talked about here.
That is a full blown server acting as a proxy server, NAT, content filter, security logging, etc. etc.
Do you really need all that sophistication and complication????

If you want to do something like monitor your employees Internet use and block certain things then maybe you do although there are lots of other ways to do that that are potentially less cost and complication.

If all you want to do is hook up these computers to a LAN and provide Internet access to some or all of them as you initially described then you don't need Wingate or any proxy servers.  Its much simpler to install and maintain a hardware based solution of a router with hubs/switches.  Its also less cost and complication.  I can also argue that it is probably more secure as there is less to set up or go wrong.  Reliability is also much better.  My router has been running for over 4 years 24/7 and I have rarely needed to reboot it.   Routers also provide simple reporting and logging capabilities i.e. Netgear's line will email you its logs.

If you really need a computer to act as a server / firewall / proxy then there are some other free software options you should look at such as www.smoothwall.org.  Its Linux based so its reliable yet they packaged everything so you don't need to know Linux to install and use it.  Any old computer even a 286 can run it.

So you need to decide:  do you need simple or something sophisticated?
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