How to share an internet connection?

Let me preface this with the disclaimer—I am not technically gifted. At all.

The problem: My Druidess and I sometimes want to both be online doing different things at the same time.

Equipment: Satellite modem (1), Laptops (2)(both wireless capable), Ancient Desktop (1).

I’m thinking I need another piece of hardware…possibly called a router? Then I must channel strange and arcane magic to somehow create something called a network? And then possibly set up some kind of security something or other, to keep wandering mischief makers from doing bad things to the network?

I want the easiest, simplest, most uncomplicated way possible to let us both be online at the same time…what do I do, and what will it cost me?

You could get a wireless router and connect it to your modem in order to share the connection but for a few dollars more you could simplify things and buy a wireless modem and router in one ‘box’. In order to set this device up you would need your username and password to connect to the internet (usually your ISP email address is the username), you would need to choose a name for your wireless network, and a passkey to connect to the network.

Sometimes new ‘boxes’ come with the wireless already set up so the network name and passkey will be listed somewhere in the packaging. To avoid baffling you, the simplest thing to do would be to disconnect your current modem, go down to your local electronics store with it and ask for ‘one of these but wireless’. Once you have the new ‘box’ we can help your setting it if needed but they are pretty straight forward these days.

It’s actually probably easier to buy a separate wireless router, or else you’d have to set up your internet connection all over again because the modem changed as well. With cable, you’d have to call them and read out a bunch of numbers (the new modem’s MAC address); with DSL, you have to go through a lengthy setup process – that’s in addition to what you need to do for any wireless router.

The router part ain’t so bad, though: Connect ethernet cable from modem to router, turn on router, go to the config screen, choose a network name, choose a security mode (WPA2 is recommended as long as your computers aren’t too old), give it a password… and tada.

Much better reply Reply.

And so it begins …

:smiley: :wink:

It depends on what type of computers you have. If one of them is a Mac with wireless, you plug in your Internet cable, go to “sharing,” and select “share this connection with Airport.” Done. Your other computers (even if they aren’t Macs) now have wireless access.

You can create ad-hoc wifi networks with Windows, too.

Simplest, easiest, and most uncomplicated would probably be to call your ISP and explain to them what you want to do, and see if they’ll rent you a wireless router and come out and set it up. You’ll probably pay slightly more over the long run than doing it yourself, but not exponentially more (at least, not if your ISP has pricing like mine), and you’ll save yourself a headache.

Not that setting up a router yourself is difficult, but you specified simplest, easiest, and most uncomplicated.

I figured you probably could, but I’ve never tried.

And if you want an easy-to-set-up router, I’d recommend the Cisco Valet line, which is specifically meant to be easy to set up.

Really, the least complicated way would be to go to Wal-Mart, pay $40-$50 for a wireless router, take it home, plug it in and move the ethernet wire from your computer to the router. That’s about all the setup that’s required with most routers now. Enabling security is a little more work, but not much.

And even if the ISP only charges five bucks a month for a rental, in 2 years you’ve paid for 3-4 routers, but don’t actually own one.

My experience with Wild Blue is that the satellite modem won’t talk to another device until it has been powered of awakened to find it. Power down when you hook it up to the router.

The answers above won’t work without additional hardware because of the desktop computer. You can share with any laptop nowadays, but the laptop will only act as another wireless router, and the laptop will need to be plugged in ever after to maintain the connection.

Yes, you need a router. They are simple to set up. Linksys have little hassle, but a lot of people are reporting short lifespans. Belkin lasts longer, in my experience.

I wouldn’t recommend renting a router from the service provider. Even if it’s $5-15/month, the cost will quickly exceed that of a store bought router at $30-75.

Oh, you can also buy something called “a switch” that will allow only sharing of internet. But, these tend to be more expensive (usually 20+ connections) and routers are much more common and cheaper. However, these are dumber so they are easier to install.

No - a switch (layer 2) will not work - they are completely different network devices and are used for different things. For the OP, routing and NAT are essential, which switches do not provide.


Oh yeah, forgot about that. A switch works only if there’s at least one router in the system somewhere.

Perhaps things work differently in America, in the UK and Australia all you need to do is enter your ISP username and password. Setting up a new modem is about as difficult as logging in to SDMB.

I see. Perhaps it depends on the provider.

OK, after considering the input here, I went with a mid-range wireless router from Wal-Mart. Had a few minor glitches with the install, mostly involving setting a wireless switch on my laptop, but router is installed, Druidess is happily doing her Farmville in another room, and I am online in my man cave. And there is great rejoicing at Oak’s Grove.

My bet would be on contacting the ISP and telling them what you want. They deal with this every day, and they should be able to walk you through whatever is needed (i.e. what **Athena **said).

Or contact your closest geek relative/friend.

I just set my aunt up with this kind of configuration, but there are details I wouldn’t want to be trying to walk her through such as setting up the fussy options needed for secure wifi. It was so much easier for me to do it for her.

Different systems do it different ways. Cablemodems typically don’t need username or password, but the cable company does need the machine info. They usually don’t ask you to provide it, as you usually are using a modem they gave you.

DSL typically requires username/password info, and you can put this in the router.