As it is more and more popular to setup multiple computers in the home, the task of sharing an internet connection is quickly becoming a necessity in order for these computers to be fully utilized. This allows for two or more computers to be on the Internet simultaneously. Here are the basics you need to know for internet connection sharing:
Firstly, if you are interested in making it so that you can share the same internet connection with multiple computers, you will need “high speed internet,” usually meaning DSL or Cable. These services usually cost between $30 and $50 depending on the ISP (Internet Service Provider) you choose. “Dial-up” is the cheapest connection type (it requires your phone line to be tied up while you are on-line), though it won’t be discussed here, as it is very slow and impractical for internet sharing.
Most ISPs provide you with a minimum set of equipment so that only one computer can be connected to the Internet at a time. Many times these same ISPs sell upgraded packages for home networking. Though it can be nice to have them help with this, they usually charge a higher monthly fee as well as a one time inflated setup fee that includes the price of additional equipment you will need. This can be the easiest option if higher expenses is not an issue (usually at least an additional $10 per month with a $100 or higher cost for setup).
Otherwise, you can purchase what is called a router from any local computer retailer, such as CompUSA for $50-$60 (or even cheaper during sales or promotions). A router takes the signal from the other internet equipment provided by your ISP (that equipment is sometimes referred to as a DSL modem or a cable modem) and essentially breaks it up so that it can be “routed” to multiple destinations. Most routers now come with up to four additional ports built in, allowing you to have four computers sharing the internet connection at once (and consequently, once this is setup, sharing of files and printers is ready for use as well; this will be discussed in another article).
To setup a router, simply plug it into an outlet and then take the network cable (Ethernet cable) that was connecting your computer to your internet equipment and unplug it from the back of your computer. Plug it into the port on the back of the router labeled “Internet” (usually the port separated from the other ports). Next you will need two additional network cables (for two computers). One end of each cable plugs into the router and the other end into each computer. So you have one network cable running from your internet equipment (cable or DSL modem) to your new router and then you have two cables running out of the router to each computer, effectively splitting the connection.
Turn on the first computer and open up Internet Explorer. If the router purchased is relatively new and is manufactured by a major company in the industry, such as Linksys or Netgear, then it will automatically detect and configure your internet routing once you click on Internet Explorer. Now you are ready to use the Internet on both computers as well as share printers and files.