Sharing internet access

Where I live, I do not get cable. I will be getting DISH TV but have heard that their internet connections drops off so much that it is better just to use dial-up. If I put a dial up router in, and connect three computers to it, will all three be able to use it at simultaneously? If the line is not being used, would each computer be able to order it to connect? Is DISH really that bad? Is Direct TV better?

The whole point of a router is so that multple computers can use it at once. You can also accomplish the same thing by using Windows internet sharing which makes one PC act as a router. I used this as a stopgap measure in my parents house before they had cable. The primary machine was dialed in to the internet with it’s ethernet port configured for sharing. The ethernet port was in turn connected to a wireless router so laptops could be used. It can be done but the performance is very poor when all users are trying to use the connection once.

If properly configured, yes. I do this with a Netgear router and an ActionTec modem, and it works fine. Obviously, bandwidth can be an issue.

Yes. With my setup, the account info is stored in the modem. Any computer can check the modem and if it’s unconnected, ask it to dial and connect.

When did DISH start offereing Internet service? I saw on their website that they have a partnership with Earthlink DSL but that is not at all the same thing. You must be able to get DSL from your local phone provider to take part in this.
Service quality will depend most heavily on the local phone company that provides the DSL connection, if that is the case. Note that in many (non-baby Bell) locations, the local phone provider is not required to allow Earthlink to resell their DSL service, rendering this little plan pretty useless in many rural areas.

DirecTV offers DirecPC service which is a fully satellite-based solution. It uses a fully seperate dish and will work just about anywhere in the lower 48 states. Service reliablity for the one person I know that has had that service was fair but certainly not stellar, maybe 85-90% uptime, anecdotally. It has been over a year since I last had experience with his service so YMMV.

Note than many DSL/cable providers are including NAT functionality in their own network interfaces. There may be no need for an external NAT router. Check before purchasing one for this purpose.

Believe me, if you have to ask these kinds of questions about NAT routers, you will definitely be able to add all the computers you’ll ever want to a single router and use them all simultaneously. You will run into problems with bandwidth allocation (having enough bandwidth for each computer operating simultaneously) before you hit limitations inherent in the NAT concept itself.

*NAT = Network Address Translation - a method for sharing a single Internet Protocol address among many computers used by so-called cable/DSL routers.

I’ll drop this back on the front page as I have a related question and this one got me the closest to an answer. I have a small wireless network,(2 PCs and 2 Handhelds) called “DEDHouse” in my house. The Internet Connection is through one of the PCs Called “ATT service”. We used to have Internet Connection Sharing with no problems. This week the 'net could not be accessed on anything but the PC with the dial-up connection. Does ICS work thruogh the “ATT service” or “DEDhouse” . I have tried with both but there may be something I am missing. New firewalls or something. I really loved sitting in front of the TV and looking up instantly any question a show gave me.