Using my computer as a router

So I want to be able to connect my laptop through my desktop which is always connected to the internet via our network here on campus. The reason for this is that we are only given one jack and will have our jack deactivated if we plug in a hub or router. I know a friend of mine managed to hook up his two computers by routing one through a second network card in his first desktop. If you have any ideas on how this can be accomplished let me know. Thanks in advance!

Save yourself about $200 worth of frustration and scrape together the $35 for a cheapo router.

The voice of experience…

…except the OP just stated that the connection will be terminated if a router is used.

What OS are you using. I have Windows XP Pro and used to have mine set up like that via internet connection sharing. YOu just need an extra network card. Granted, it could sometimes be a great pain (which is why I just started using a router instead). If you don’t have XP (I’m not sure if Home version includes this feature), AnalogX has a freeware proxy server which is fairly easy to set up, as long as you know what you’re doing. Hope this helps

I hate to hijack, but how would they know if a router was hooked up instead of a computer?

With XP and 2000, this is as simple as going into the network properties for your internet connection, clicking on the tab for sharing, and click the little check box that says “share this connection” (this is all from memory, but it should be close). Your other network card will automatically be changed to a static IP of

On the laptop, you’ll want to set its IP address to a static IP of, and make it’s default gateway If you add another computer on the local network (which you probably don’t want to do, but for others playing along at home), make it’s IP, and also use a gateway of

Supposedly win98 SE can also do connection sharing, but I’m not sure how to set it up. I believe with ME it’s pretty much the same as 2000 and XP, i.e. it’s just a check box.

Alternatively, you could install a proxy server program on the machine with the internet connection - the advantage of this over Windows’ own connection sharing is that you get to configure a lot more about it, such as which ports are open, which protocols are permitted etc. There are a number of freeware proxy servers out there, but my favourite is Jana. It will run on win9x or XP and it can also do port redirection, which is useful if you want to use VPN or VNC (assuming your campus network doesn’t render that impossible).

I have to second this. I can’t see any way that they would be able to tell that you have a router connected to the jack rather than just your computer. I wouldn’t use a wireless router, however, since anyone in the immediate vicinity will be able to see that there is a wireless network running somewhere nearby.

Configuring one PC as a router or using a dedicated router amounts to the same thing - you’re still connecting “a router” to the campus network. As such, I secong drachillix - go pick up a cheapo router and have at it.

Unless you’ve got a second NIC lying around, you’re going to be spending some bucks one way or the other. You might as well do it the easy way.

Except that configuring a PC to share/proxy and internet connection is not a direct contravention of the explicit rules; at the very least, it provides a semantic weasel-out route, whereas connection of a hardware router is explicitly forbidden.

Ahh, there’s the rub - it’s all about interpretation, isn’t it? Unless the rules explicitly say hardware or dedicated router, then any device which routes traffic from one network to another is a router, no? :wink:

Yes, it is, but a little wide-eyed innocence will probably buy you more leniency if you don’t actually have a box that says ‘ROUTER’ on it.

Smoothwall Express may be what you’re looking for; it was mentioned on a TechTV show several months ago. If you are still intent on using a pc as a router, you might want to look at it. I have no personal experience with it, so caveat emptor.

Smoothwall appears to be a Linux application; the OP didn’t mention OS - but that usually means the OS is Windows of some kind.

The probably aren’t actually checking but just prohibiting it so they can then use that as an excuse to terminate the connection if they’re investigating some other kind of abuse.

But it probably is possible to work out if there’s a router plugged in. First if they installed the PC or you had to activate the connection you may have provided the MAC address of your network card and the connection may be locked to that. They could do this simply by catching the address of the first thing plugged in and locking the connection to that. In this case any other network equipment (even another network card) will not work with that connection, actually the network behind it.

Even if they don’t lock the connection they could be monitoring the connected MAC addresses, these are unique and different ranges belong to different manufacturers. It’s possible they could be attempting to look up the MAC address and identify the network device being used.

Possible, but unlikely.

I’d guess they’re just monitoring traffic patterns and have some simple rules for detecting a network based behind the connection. At this point they’ll investigate, find the router or whatever and use that as an excuse to terminate the connection.

In this case it doesn’t matter if your router is a physical box or a computer acting as one.

In all these cases it depends why they don’t want people doing it, is it to restrict bandwidth usage, or to protect the network from people connecting random kit to it. All of this would affect their chances of detecting what you’re doing and their likelyhood of caring.


I would think the campus has access to all dorm rooms and it wouldn’t surprise me if they do spot inspections and if they glance in and see more that one pc, beer kegs, bongs, girls undies in the all-boy dorm, etc… they would glance at the wiring setup you have. ESPECIALLY if you had a desktop wired to a laptop, raise a few eyebrows.

It can be done, you need a second NIC card. They are cheap, the no name ones are about $9. I just read the help file about “Internet Connection Sharing” it prompted me to create a setupdisk for the other pc’s. It worked reasonably well.

Technically are using one pc, but that pc is considered a software router.

I have a Belkin Wireless Router at home. One of the options is to clone the MAC address of the original PC, so it looks and responds in it’s place. It also has 4 wired ports, and the ability to lock out wireless connections. I presume their wired-only routers will have the clone feature, too, but that’s speculation.

It was cheap, about $50, because it was an 802.11B model on closeout.

Ok, I guess a tad bit more information is necessary here than I provided everyone late last night. First of all I’m running XP Pro on the desktop and XP Home on the laptop. Secondly I do have an extra network card and even if I didnt those are usually found cheaper than most decent routers.

Finally a little more info on the plans. I don’t plan on using twice the bandwidth by hooking this up. I’m merely looking for a way that I can share files between the two and also be able to climb into bed with my laptop without having to move all my wires around and mess with all that. I’m not really sure how a hub or router is detected on the network, it’s really possible that they dont really know unless their is a drastic increase in bandwidth usage. This could just be an idle threat. Upon activating your port at the beginning of the semester they do not grab your mac address. Once you’re activated you are able to plug in anything to that jack and have access.

As far as going room to room and doing inspections I can tell you that that does not happen. It is even very unlikely that someone will accidentally walk by and “report” you. Routing through my PC just gives me a little bit of comfort knowing that it has been done before and not detected. That’s really the only thing keeping me from picking up a cheapo router and accomplishing the same thing.

If you have any more questions just let me know. If not thanks for all the suggestions everyone I will be experimenting later tonight!

      • I would just go with the stand-alone router myself, but I am a daring soul. If you ever get busted just tell them that you only ever used one computer at a time anyway, and the router was just there to prevent damage to the wall jack (-which is the part they’d have to fix if it broke! <;) -).
  • The OP does not give a location, but I do know that many US colleges have come down major-hard on file-sharing on campus networks, but they aren’t real concerned about much else.
      • I would add though: if you do so, get a wired router only, no 802!!!