How do I link 2 computers so that...

They can both surf the internet at the same time?

Catch: We are connected with a serial cable, not usual network cables. We both have ie4.

Any takers?

I know a lot of computer jargon, so you won’t have to put it in layman’s terms… I just need to know what settings have to be changed and where.


Is it not feasible for you to connect the two computers with network cards/cables instead?

What method is one of the computers using to connect to the internet now? (Modem, DSL, Cable, LAN?)

Are you unable, or unwilling to use a more recent version of browser software?


Because we don’t have network cards or cables, Einstein.

One of the computers is connected to the Internet using a 56k modem.


Well, then you’re still leaving out some information, because unless you live in a cave somewhere with no access to computer stores and no way that UPS can deliver an order from an online store, getting network cards and cables should not be a very expensive proposition, and it makes what you’re trying to do much easier.

So… Are you neglecting to mention that you’re a monitarily challenged 14 year old child (no slight intended to 14 year olds in general) who likes to make sarcastic replies to the first person who responds in an attempt to help or is there something else?


dublos, if you can’t help me, please do not post.

I am sitting here at the moment with a friend and our 2 computers are linked via serial cable, we have already played some games over it, so we know it works.

We began wondering whether or not we would be able to both hook ourselves up to the net with it, so I thought “Hmm, I’ll ask the Straight Dope.”

I have heard that you can trick 2 computers in to thinking they are networked via serial cable.

So, unless you have something constructive to say, dublos, please say nothing at all.


You keep leaving out information that might help someone tell you the answer you’re looking for, and you keep responding with an insulting tone to the one person who’s actually trying to help you get somewhere.

So apparently computer savy, but socially stunted, wonderful.

Well, I’ll continue to try and help, but you need to be a little more forthcoming with the background information necessary to give an answer. And please lose the attitude.

What operating system are you both running?


Doc Moss writes:



Which gives him one of the highest insult to content ratios I’ve seen in a long time Therefore, I certainly don’t intend to help. The last thing I want is people with attitudes like this having MORE access to the internet!

dublos, you inconsiderate bastard. Can’t you tell that he has no time for stores? He needs to know how to do it right now! You should be able to give him a simple method to do this knowing absolutely nothing about his computers, hook-up, or anything else. You should be ashamed of yourself. Now stop being such a smart ass and just help the polite lad already. He has no time for all of your silly ass questions! Asking what operating system he has… Jeez, you cruel bastard.


Even though I’m apparently not the only one who thinks it might be better for the rest of the net if you didn’t have increased internet connectivity, I’m gonna hold out the hope that the friend we’re trying to get connected is a little more mature person than you are. Since you’ve decided not to provide further background, I’m just gonna give ya what I found so far and you can sort through it for what’s appropriate for your operating systems.

Using this search:

at google

This site looks like your bet.

As to sharing the modem once you have the networking portion fully set up (since you don’t mention whether you’re just using the game’s serial connection feature or actually set up serial networking to get that portion working) you can check this site for some software that’s shareware, so you can check it out and spend the money if it works for you.

You can check out other options on that front by sorting through the responses to this search.

Good luck.


Kudos, dublos. Very mature response to an ugly situation. I, for one, nominate you for the SDMB Silver Star for maintaining your composure in the face of hostile posts.

Well, things don’t look promising in this thread…
But hm. Simplest solution with no knowledge of the system.
Doc Moss, if your two computers can ping each other (i.e. - tcp/ip communication is set up), you can use the free internet proxy from

No matter what x86 OS you are running, they have, I believe, a version compiled for it.
Simply go to configure proxy in IE or Netscape on the computer without the modem, do a manual configuration, and input the IP address of the other computer, and the port junkbuster is listening on (from the configuration, read the instructions)

More complex proxies are available with various liscensing modes. Junkbuster has the advantage of filtering cookies and arbitrary urls.

No problem, dude. Download LocalTalk Bridge from Apple’s web site and on the computer that isn’t directly hooked to the internet, set AppleTalk to LocalTalk and TCP/IP to AppleTalk (MacIP).

You are, of course, running MacOS, right?

Nah … I think he is using DOS 5.0 with Norton Commander.

I have some good software for DOS web browsing … plus we can use some fancy add-ons for lantastic to make that work for him

Honestly, with an attitude like Doc Moss has I don’t know why anyone would even send him in the right direction.

Look Doc Moss, even if you are technically knowledgable, which apparently you aren’t, it might actually help those with less ability to learn how to network their computers and share modems for future reference.

BTW, asking for more information is not unheard of, for all we know you are trying to connect a Linux machine to a Win 3.1 machine that has the modem. Don’t be so snotty to those willing to offer you some help.

If you ask for help, ask graciously and respond in kind. If you can’t be kind in your questions and your subsequent replies then go elsewhere. People are not here at your disposal and should not respond to help you out if you get your Underroos in a wad.

< end of mild rant, but otherwise she woulda helped out >

Even if you could link them with wingate, each would only get one half of the connection, so each would be going at about 26.5k, cux that’s half the legal limit approximately, even then, even less cause serial cables are slow.

Why not run Internet Connection Sharing under WinSE?

Anybody still using a serial interface between two computers, is probaly still running Win 95 at tops. Thus no built in windows sharing. Heaven forbid that you would install two network cards and a cable for $30 to $40 dollars total. Guess your shit out of luck Doc.

Piss off the techs here with your shit attitude, and see what you get, besides useless more of the same. Now I’m thinking of the airplane and Microsoft building joke.

I’ve got the specs here. I’m running Windows 97 on a 33mhz pentium II. With 128 meg of hard drive space. and 40 gigabyte of ram.

For anybody else Windows 2000 and Windows Mellenium are not interchangable. Make up your mind on what you have installed, before asking for help.

dublos glad you haven’t lost it with this guy. Nice of you to try.

I really shouldn’t help someone being so rude, but it’s rare I know the answer and can post it first and someone else might benefit from this information.

Anyway, here goes. . .

If you are using Win 9x, you can trick your PCs into thinking they are networked with a serial (null-modem) cable. You need to use Windows’ Direct Cable connection. If it’s not installed you will need to install it, and set ip addresses on both boxes. Use and as these are set aside for private networks. You will then need to set up a proxy of some sort. The easiest (I think) is Windows Internet Connection Sharing. The only catch is that one of the boxes (the one with the modem) must have Win98SE. If you don’t have that, find winproxy or some such and install it. Point the browser’s proxy settings to the “server” ( and badabing. . . you’re set. . .

You should consider getting nics though, because serial connections are very slow. A parallel connection is a little faster so if you’ve got a bi-directional parallel cable, that is better.

Good Luck.

p.s. You’ll get better responses, faster, if you are polite and provide the people trying to help you with timely and accurate info.

I have no idea what I’m talking about, please help me out, but before you do, allow me to insult you.

Good strategy.

Thank you for your response, Derf.

As for the “insults” (ahem) everyone keeps accusing me of casting around, re-read my OP. My question, specificially and explicitly stated, I wanted to use a serial cable to do this. I said I knew a bit about computers, and I have networked 2 computers before. I didn’t have access to network materials at the time, so I asked the question in the hope of getting a speedy answer.

I am a uni student on government assistance, so no, I am not the kind of guy willing to throw away 30 or 40 bucks when a serial cable, which I already have, can do the job for me for free.

I did not ask how else it could be done, I asked how it could be done using a serial cable. Comprehende?

Once again Derf, thank you for your answer. I am trying it out now…


good luck making it work, I dont think your going to be able to do so. using the direct cable connection is not the way to go. If you can make it work, the connection speed is going to be so bad you’ll be able to get the person who wrote the web page to bring you a copy on disc.
Beg, plead, borrow, buy used, but get 2 netcards, a hub or a crossover cable, and set up a proper network