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Cable Internet Sharing

Hi Experts,

I've just had Broadband Internet (2Mbps cable, *not* ADSL) installed in my house, and would like to share the connection over 2 PCs, so both PCs can be surfing the net at the same time.

I don't want to use ICS (Internet Connection Sharing - where one PC is connected and passes traffic to the other), because that requires one PC to be powered on whenever the other needs to connect.  I also don't want wireless, because of the extra cost of transmitters at the PC ends, and I already have UTP cables in place.  I also don't want to add another PC to my house, to act as a firewall or whatever.

I already have a (borrowed) 5-Port Fast Ethernet Switch (Edimax ES-3105P), but that doesn't seem to be a router, gateway or firewall.

Note that my ISP can/have supplied me with *only one* IP address.  Here's some basic info re their service:

My questions are:
1. Can I use just my Edimax switch to achieve what I want?
2. If not, what are some cheap options to achieve what I want?
3. Would the solution your suggesting, allow file sharing between the PCs (not going via the Internet)?  (File sharing is not vitual, but I'd like to know).

One PC runs Win98SE and the other runs WinXP SP2 and Linux (Redhat Fedora) - dual bootable.

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2 Solutions
b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:

You want to get a Cable/DSL Router.  The cable/dsl part of it will mean that it has a WAN ethernet port.  You should be able to plug the ethernet cable from your cable modem into the port.  The router will also have a number of local port (LAN).  From the information you provided I recommend looking for one with 4 ports.  Another option would be wireless if both computers support.  Cable/DSL Routers are not expensive and there is a good selection so you should find one you like and that will work.  Since you have a static IP, even though it is only one, most routers should work.

The router will also provide switching services so you can create a local network and share files between the computers.  The router will act as the gateway, provide DHCP, and act as a firewall.

Personally in home environments I have liked Linksys or DLink routers.  Let me know if you have a question or need more information.  You should be able to use the information above to find some products that will work.

tel2Author Commented:
Thanks for your prompt answer, b0lsc0tt,

So I definitely can't use just an Ethernet switch, right?
If not, why not?  Is it because the ISP has given me only one static IP?
b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:
That's right.  A switch will not assign ip's (DHCP).  If you had more than one ip then you may be able to make it work but you are better off with the router.  Besides handing out local IP's it will also provide a firewall and other services that will help to control traffic and protect your computers and local network.  A switch would not do any of that.  To get a basic idea compare the features or specs for a switch with those for a router.  You can look up terms that are not familiar to you using google or wikipedia.
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b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:
One key term is NAT (Network Address Translation).  A router will provide it and a switch will not.  Basically it will connect and manage 2 networks (your local network and the big network known as the Internet).  So with a router each computer on your network has the capability of accessing all of the other computers on your network and the Internet.  Computers outside of your network, part of the Internet, will not be able to access the computers in your network.  The computers outside of your network would see the router instead and get blocked.

I hope this is instructive and helpful but I don't teach it for a living. :-)  I will be happy to clarify if needed or another expert may add to this so you can give the question some time if you want.

The key is you want a router.  It will provide the same features of a switch but add those I have discussed.

Yes, if you want to share your internet wireless'ly or with wired ethernet, you will need a router. You can get a fairly cheap router if your going the wired route for around $30. The physical ip's of both computers will be the same, example, if your computer 1 ip is 123.458.789.10, then your other computer ip will be the same. Your network ip is the one that changes (default 192.168.x.x)
tel2Author Commented:
Thanks guys,

zodiac101, what make/model of router can I get for US$30, and where from?  URL?
tel2Author Commented:
Also, guys, any comments about this Edimax BR-6104 Router?

Our BR-6104 Broadband Router is an incredibly fast router that has a 20 Mbps LAN to WAN throughput. The BR-6104 is a cost-effective IP Sharing Router that enables multiple users to share the Internet through an ADSL or cable modem. Simply plug your PC to the BR-6104 LAN port and you're ready to share files and access the Internet. As your network grows, each LAN port can connect to a hub or switch, allowing you to easily expand your network.
The BR-6104 provides a total solution for the Small and Medium-sized Business (SMB) and the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) markets, giving you an instant network today, and the flexibility to handle tomorrow's expansion and speed.

Internet Access :
Multiple users sharing the Internet line
IP routing and NAT/PAT support
Supports PPPoE
Protocols : TCP/IP, UDP, ICMP, PPPoE, PPTP, NAT/PAT, DHCP (Client/Server)
Access Control and Security :
Natural firewall (NAT), private IP addresses not accessible from the Internet
IP Packet Access Control
Hacker Attack Prevention (DoS)
PAP/CHAP/MS-CHAP authentications
VPN PPTP Client / IPSec pass through

And from another site:

I'd appreciate your comments.

Well, I dont know where you live but here are some routers from Bestbuy and Circuit city:

Dynex - 4-Port Ethernet Broadband Router DX-E401
10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet; Virtual Private Network pass-through; auto negotiation
Our Price: $39.99

Belkin - Wireless-G Router with 4-Port Switch F5D7230-4
Supports 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networks; built-in 4-port 10/100Base-T switch; automatic setup
Our Price: $39.99

D-Link - 802.11g Wireless Router WBR-1310
54 Mbps max. data transfer rates; 2.4GHz wireless frequency (802.11g- and 802.11b-compliant); built-in firewall and security features
Reg. Price: $69.99
You Save: $20.00
Sale: $49.99

Circut City:
D-Link Ethernet Broadband Router (EBR-2310)
•4 10/100 Ethernet ports
•Shares Internet access
•Built-in firewall
•Parental controls
•Easy to setup
•For Windows® 2000/XP

 Linksys Wireless Router (WRTP54G)
•Two phone jacks
•802.11g/b technology
•Built-in 4-port switch
•Speeds up to 54Mbps
•Security features

after $20.00 savings & $110.00 rebates
$110 Mfr. Mail-In Rebate w/ activation


If your in for online shopping, here are some from newegg
D-Link DI-604 10/100Mbps 4-Port Ethernet Broadband Router 1 x 10/100Mbps WAN Ports 4 x 10/100Mbps LAN Ports - Retail

D-Link WBR-1310 Wireless Router - Retail

b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:
I am not familiar with the brand or the company but it looks like it will do what you need.  If you will only be connecting a couple of computers and won't be doing anything special on the computers over the Internet, like gaming, then and brand should work.  The model you mentioned appears to have more than one LAN port, I believe 4 in that model, so you will be able connect both computers with ethernet cables.

If you are interested in gaming or will expect heavy traffic on the network (i.e. more computers, etc) then you may be better off with a better known brand.  Of course they may be very well known where you are and make good quality products and have reliable support.

I have had good experience with the models Zodiac mentioned, with the exception of the Dynex, which I haven't used.
tel2Author Commented:
Thanks guys,

Sorry for the delay.

I ended up buying a D-Link DI-702UP, which I think is a router, switch, gateway, firewall and print server.  It has a WAN port for the cable modem, 4 ports for PCs and a USB port for a printer).  Cost $135 New Zealand (about US$82), which is more than I wanted to pay, but I couldn't find anything else with the print server.  Working well so far.

So, thanks for all your advice, and it's really good to have y'all on the EE team!
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