Can I use a computer with two network cards as a hub?

So, for the summer, I am back living with my parents before I start grad school in the fall. First off, I am suffering my loss of super fast cable to slow DSL (it’s got a a 1.5 DL cap, though my dad might upgrade to a 2.5 for $5 more a month). But the bigger issue is that I cannot use my desktop to access the internet. Today I got my wireless router working with the internet connection, so I can use my laptop, but my desktop does not have a wireless network card, and I don’t want to spend money on one since I don’t have a lot of money and am trying to save up as much as I can.

But, I seem to recall at one time learning that a computer with two network cards can be used as a router, and indeed have seen it done and for a couple years that was the main router for the network I was on in college. So, my laptop has two network cards, the wireless card, which is a PCMCIA card, and the hardwire port it came built in with. Is there any way to get my desktop to plug into the hardwire port and “piggy back” onto the internet through my laptop’s wireless connection?

I realize the easy way to do this would be to buy a long ethernet cable and string it from the router to my desktop, but that would mean going across the den, up the stairs, and across a hallway to do it. I’ll leave you to be the one to convince my mother to have an ugly wire strewn across half her house. I even looked in the basement to see if I could somehow run a wire along the electrical wires, but that is a no go as well, since it’s not a straight shot up to my room from where the router is.

Let’s rethink this a bit. Why does the router have to be that far away. The DSL that I have used will work in any phone jack. You just put filters on all the other ones. Does your not work that way or is that not an option.

Also, older 802.11b cards or USB antennas are still faster than any internet connection (11mb/s) and I see people give them away all the time. They are most likely backwards compatible and should be damned close to free from somewhere. Know any computer geeks?

You can do what you’re looking to do.
If the laptop runs XP Pro, you can go:
Start -> Connect to -> Click “Set up a home or small office network” on the left side under the Network Tasks Heading
and figure it out using the wizard.
If it doesn’t work out, I’m sure someone else here will be willing to explain.
Start -> Help and Support can be your friend, too.

I believe with a crossover CAT5 cable you can make this work, but I’ll second the recommendation for a wireless card. Serously the 802.11b cards should be as common as dirt and just about as cheep. Actually, per pricewatch you can get one for $15 and a 802.11g card for $20.

Well, ok, but then I need to get the signal from the router (now in my room) to my dad’s desktop. :stuck_out_tongue:

And while I know that a b card is cheaper than a g, and even a b will allow far greater speed than the DSL connection, at some point I wil have this computer on a network where much internal sharing might go on, and that 108 mbps will be real nice, so I’d rather not buy a cheap card now just to buy another later on. And if I order one online, it will take about a week to get here. I was in a Best Buy and Circuit City the other day, and even their b cards are over $30.

As said you’ll need a crossover cable or a crossover converter to make this work, you cant just use a normal cat5 cable by itself. If you already have one of them its pretty straightforward. They’re only a few bucks but if you’re going to be spending money anyhow you might as well bite the bullet in my view and buy a wireless card.

You can end up getting some wierd configuration problems going this route as well, where some programs wont reach the internet properly and the like unless you do some additional tweaking. Email didnt work properly with my provider until I changed some settings for instance.


You may not even need a crossover cable. Newer Ethernet NICs will detect the polarity and automatically switch. Just plug the cable in to both NICs, wait a few seconds, and if you get the green link light, then it is working.

You’ll also need to configure static IP addresses on the LANs. The addresses should be in a different subnet than the WLAN.

Mr. Slant has the goods on telling your laptop to route from the LAN to the WLAN and back again.

Nitpick: that’s the theoretical max for 802.11b. In the real world, you’re stuck at a speed that’s closer to 4mb/s, even if your wireless card is two inches from the access point. And, of course, when you start to move farther away, it gets even slower.

You just need to bridge the two network connections on the laptop computer; details here:

If one or both of the network cards in the two computers is auto MDI/MDX sensing, then you can use either a straight patch cable or a crossover, however if neither of them is autosensing, using an ordinary patch cable could cause damage.

In summary: use a crossover cable (it will work in any instance) and bridge the connections in the machine that has two NICs and it should be job done.