Practically Networked Home Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation
Welcome to PractiallyNetworked
Product Reviews

 • Routers
 • Hubs/Switches
 • Wireless Gateway
 • Wireless AP
 • Wireless NIC
 • Network Storage
 • Print Servers
 • Bluetooth Adapters
& Tutorials

 • Networking
 • Internet Sharing
 • Security
 • Backgrounders
 • Troubleshooting

 • PracNet How To's
User Opinions
Practicallynetworked Glossary

 Find a Network Term  

  Most Popular Tutorials

• Microsoft Vista Home Networking Setup and Options
The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

• Do It Yourself: Roll Your Own Network Cables
It may not be something you do everyday, but having the supplies and know-how to whip up a network cable on the spot can be very handy.

• Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router and by extension, your network is as secure as possible.

  Most Popular Reviews

• Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.

• Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
Iomega's fourth generation StorCenter Network Hard Drive brings many of the features found in higher-end storage devices down to an attractive price.

• MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.

Separate Networks  
LAN Wiring
Install TCP/IP
Install Sharing
Configure Clients
Secure LAN
Special Applications
Other Info

Before your computers can share your Internet connection, they need to be able to share with each other!  This means that you'll have to connect them together to form a LAN.   If you already have an Ethernet-based LAN, then you can go on to the next page.  If you don't, or aren't sure, then read on.

What's a LAN?
A LAN, or Local Area Network is a group of two or more computers, physically close together (usually in the same building), that are linked to each other.  LANs can contain devices other than computers, for example, printers, print servers, storage devices, etc.  

If you're new to networking, there are many tutorials available on the web to get you started.  See this page for links to them.


NOTE! Adding the second NIC is probably the most difficult part of getting your Internet connection shared.   Many of the emails that I receive tell long tales of woe and struggle with this step.

Nevertheless, it's important that you add that NIC!  I've put together a page to help you through the process, so give it a look.

Choose Your Connection Method

You first need to determine the type of connection method to use for your network.  During the past year or so, new options have appeared, so let's summarize your choices:

  • Ethernet

  • Phone-line

  • Wireless 

  • Power Line

  • Direct Cable Connection (only for two computers)

Let's do Ethernet 
Ethernet has been the most common LAN building method since it's been around the longest, so the rest of this page will concentrate on the choices available in that method.  The downside of using Ethernet is that you need to run special cabling in order to use it.  If this will be a problem for you, then you should head on over to the Alternative Networking section and explore the other connection methods that are now available.

This page from this Linksys article gives a short summary of the two types of Ethernet cabling. Thin Ethernet (10base2) can run at a maximum of 10Mbps, while the proper grade of UTP cable can support up to 100Mbps operation.  You'll need a 100MBps hub and 100Mbps Network Interface Cards in order to take advantage of the higher speed, both of which cost slightly more than 10Mbps components.  In most cases, a 10Mbps (10baseT) network will work just fine.

  Tip: Speeds up to 1Gbps (giga bits per second) are even possible over "CAT5" cable with the newer "gigabit over copper" Ethernet adapters!

Make sure you also take into account the maximum allowable cable lengths in deciding which type of cabling to use:

Cable Type Max. Length
10Base2 (Thinnet) 600ft
10BaseT (UTP Category 5) 328ft

If you'd like more information on the Pros and Cons of the various kinds of Ethernet cabling, check the Linksys article.


Is "Thin Net" for you?

If you have only a few machines and want to spend the minimum amount of money, you can use 10base2 or "thinnet" or coaxial cabling to connect your computers as shown in the diagram below.  This method is less expensive than using the 10baseT method (which I'll talk about next), and contrary to some things you may read on the net, runs at the same speed as 10baseT.

Note that cable modems don't support the 10base2 coaxial cable, but use 10baseT instead.  So you'll have to use UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable (see explanation below) to make the connection from the cable modem's RJ45 connector to the RJ45 connector on the first NIC in the Proxy computer.

Here's a cabling diagram of a simple network for sharing your cable modem, if you want to use 10base2 cabling.  Only two computers are shown, but, of course, you can add more computers by removing a terminator, connecting another computer as shown below, and re-installing the terminator on the last computer in the chain.

  10Base2 Network diagram

10BaseT for Me!
If you have more than one sharing Client, or are planning to expand your network later, or have to run your cables in areas where they might be damaged or tampered with, then you should use 10baseT cabling to set up your network, as shown in the next diagram below.

Networking equipment manufacturers have made setting up a network easier by bundling NICs, cables, a hub and setup documentation into handy kits.  This may be the way to go if you are setting up your first network, but please read this page on hubs before you buy one of these kits. 

Note that you use a different kind of cable, called UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair), for a 10baseT network.   Although it may look like the cable that you use to connect your telephone to the wall, it's not.  So be sure to use the correct cable to build your network.  This kind of network also doesn't need terminators.

Don't just connect everything to the 10baseT hub! Yes, I know all those jacks are inviting and it seems so simple, but unless your cable company has assigned you multiple IP numbers, it either won't work, or at some point will stop working.  For further explanation, see the Why Two NICs? and How a Hub Works pages.

Here's a cabling diagram of a simple network for sharing your cable modem, if you want to use 10baseT cabling

NOTE: If you follow the diagram below, do not connect any cables into the hub's "uplink" port.  That connector is used to connect one hub to another, in case you need more ports.  (To "cascade" or "daisy chain" hubs, you would connect the "uplink" port on one hub to a normal port on another hub, using a regular UTP cable.)

  10BaseT Network Diagram

10BaseT...with a "twist"

If you have only two computers in your network, you can get by without a hub, if you use a special kind of UTP cable called a "Crossover Cable". You can purchase them at the same place that you buy normal 10baseT UTP cables, or make one.

This network configuration is shown in the diagram below.

  10BaseT (w/Crossover) Network Diagram

Note that many more configurations of LANs are possible, including LANs that have both 10base2 and 10baseT sections (using hubs that suppport both standards, such as the Netgear EN104). 

So you've selected your type of network wiring, and maybe even have things connected together.  You now have to install and configure your LAN (Local Area Network) software.

Let's do it! Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

Home | Networking | Backgrounders | Internet Sharing | Security | HowTo | Troubleshooting | Reviews | News | About | Jobs | Tools | Forums