Two broadband connections at the same time.

Is it possible to have two computers connecting to two different broadband accounts at the same time and on the same phone line. I have an ADSL connection with BTOpenworld and my mum wants to have an AOL broadband connection on the same line, would it be possible to have both computers connected at the same time (in different phone sockets) without the need to buy any new hardware?

I know the simple answer would be to share the BT account but my mum wants to keep her AOL e-mail address.

Not as you expect. Both computers can’t use the same phone line to call their respective services anymore that two people using two extentions on the same phone line can make to different calls.

You’d have to set up a network to share one computer’s connection.

Keep in mind that a split signal means 50% for each puter. So your speed will be slower.

You can get AOL for broadband which allows you to keep her AOL.

If her concern is just the email address, surely she can access it via any broadband connection, including BTOpenworld? I see my coworker access her email account at work, that’s not AOL broadband. Perhaps she can keep the address with a minimal AOL plan? Or maybe no plan at all, since AOL is offering free web mail? That may not be valid with existing AOL email addresses, though.

Of course, the best solution is to use a new free web-based email address, like Gmail or Yahoo, but it sounds like the she doesn’t want to switch.

I don’t think 2 DSL connections can be done over the same phone line. But there is really no reason to do this. You can easially network the computers so you use your broadband DSL directly and she uses it to connect to AOL.

Also this will not 1/2 your speed unless you are both making web requests at the same time (it won’t be exactly half, but your bandwidth will be split somehow if you are both using it at the exact same time). For normal surfing, I would say that you will have full speed 99.9% of the time, and so would the AOL user. For gaming or downloading it could be an issue.

Just to confirm, two ADSL services cannot be run on the same phone line at all, in any circumstances. There’s codes on the telephone line point in the exchange that automatically route the signal to the server of the applicable ISP, and only one ISP can have their codes on the line at the time.

Is it possible to get a second line into the house? Then you’ve both got your own phone lines with your own broadband connections, and don’t have to buy and set up the router hardware and software.

[hijack]In the US, do ISPs generally assist customers on getting routers and networks set up, or do you have to remove the router and connect the modem directly to one PC in order to get technical assistance?[/hijack]

I agree, AOL offers a “Bring your own internet” plan, so that you have all the functionality but pay less because you are… uh… bringing your own internet.


Generally, they’ll cordially invite you to pound sand if you ask for help with a router. Cable providers are especially notorious for demanding that the MAC address (a unique identifieer for network hardware) of the cable “modem” is what they see. Happily, most broadband routers have a “clone MAC button” in their setup so the router appears to be the cable company’s device.

Naturally, the intent of this is to discourage people from sharing the connection, but there is a practical side - they’d have to know how to support every broadband router on the market, and there are dozens of the things now. Have you called the cable company lately? They have enough trouble with their own stuff.

Going back to the hypothetical two DSL connections, once you’re past the issue of needing two physical phone lines, there’s no practical way to unite them. Well, at least not at a home user level of technology, but it can be done at the level of corporate enterprise infrastructure with what are known as load-balancing switches.

Just as a historical note - this used to be possible with modems - way back some years ago, there was a scheme called Shotgun that would link two 56k dial-up modems, but again, you needed two phone lines and your provider (this was before we called them ISPs) needed the same sort of modems on their end.

A computer on two seperate networks simultaneously is referred to as “multi-homed”. “Shotgunning” is more properly known as channel bonding. It requires support on the ISP end of the phone lines, too, including multiple logins on the same account. The modems can be of any type, though. 128kbit ISDN works in this manner (it combines two seperate 64kbit channels).
That being said, it is possible to combine two distinctly different internet connections into one “superpipe”. Midcore/Midpoint Software used to offer such a program for Windows but I haven’t been able to access their website for a long time. There is also a program available for Linux to manage and bundle multiple connections. Many high-end routers can do this, too.

Ummm, ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. :rolleyes:

Multi-Link is what I heard it called for one type and Multi-??? for another(not homed however, maybe Multi PPP).

Type one combines 2 connections in a way that they work together and must have ISP support. THe other is 2 connections that don’t work together. That 2nd type is the type I sometimes use. I sometimes check email over a cellular 14.4 connection and surf with a 28.8 kb/s dialup, (I can also use both the 28.8 & 14.4 for surfing also but each browser window can only use one or the other, I would need 2 windows to use both.)

None of this has anything to do w/ the OP

This is not exactly true, there are some circumstances where it can be done. You can only have one DSL signal, true, but by varying the VPI/VCI, you can have any number of ISP’s overlaid onto that line. Whether you’re able to do that depends on the wholsaler providing your DSL line.

Yes it does. However, 20 years ago, when I was using things like BRS After Dark, GEnie and CompuServe, it wasn’t being referred to as internet. Pretty much the only time “internet” was mentioned was emailing out of the system. Even ten years ago on Compuserve, you’d have to enter an email address as since you weren’t actually on the internet and were really in a “walled garden”

True, but 99 times out of a hundred, however, the wholesaler won’t allow it. Hence for most intents and purposes, it can’t be done.

99 times out of a hundred? Um, no. Two of the largest DSL wholesalers, SBC and Bellsouth, both support multi-vc service.

I know you said you did not want any more hardware but… for Less than $100 yiou can get a router/switch and run both puters through it on one ADSL or DSL line.

This gives you both what you want and your Mom can keep a full account or run a ‘bring your own access’ account.

But most importantly, this gives you a hardware firewall to work in conjunction with you sofreware firewall and other safety features.

I personally will not run a ‘hot’ connection to the internet such as cable or ADSL or DSL without a router/switch between me and the net even with only one puter. I have run up to 5 puters on a single DSL line and other than when trying to run a big download such as a movie from some site, the slow down was only noticeable during a big down load from a fast site with a big pipe or if someone was on line gaming, which we do not do. We warned if we were going to do a big - high speed capable download.

For surfing, IM’s, message boards etc., there was not much noticeable slow down with 3-4 active users on at one time. I doubt your Mom is a big user at the same hours you are on line.

And if she chooses to go from the full access $20+ charge to the ‘bring your own access’ charge of $11 or less ( I think ) for AOHel, then you would recoup your investment in a router/switch ( I like the Linksys ones ) in just a short time.

IMO, never run broad band without a router/switch between your puter and the net…