Sharing an Internet Connection

Once your network is running, your computers can share disks, folders, files, and so on, using the techniques described in Chapter 13. However, the small-network function that's rising the fastest in popularity is Internet connection sharing.

Many homes have two or more computers these days, and even small offices usually have more than that. But connecting their users to the Internet has always been a problem. Individual dial-up connections require a modem, a phone line, and an ISP account for each computer, which adds up to a considerable expense and inconvenience. The other traditional method, which involves the installation of a router and a high-speed connection to an ISP, is fine if your multinational corporation is showing a profit this month.

Fortunately, Windows 2000 Pro offers a built-in feature called Internet Connection Sharing, which offers a clever alternative. It lets you share one Internet connection, using a modem, cable modem, or DSL hook-up, with the other computers on the network. If one of your PCs is blessed with a cable modem or DSL, this arrangement can save you a lot of money—the other computers on your network can enjoy the same always-online, high-speed access without your having to pay another $40 a month for each. And if you use a standard dial-up modem, everybody in the house can be surfing the Internet at the same time, over the same phone-line connection. (When you launch your Web browser or email program on the PC downstairs, ...

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