Home Networking Guide : Connecting to the Internet

Without a network, if you have multiple computers at home and every computer wants to connect to the Internet, then you must equip each computer with a modem. And if all users want to connect to the Internet at the same time, you must have several Internet subscriptions, one for each user.

With a home network you can share an Internet subscription and the necessary hardware. Two scenarios for sharing an Internet connection in a home network are described below.

1. One computer (desktop PC or laptop) is set up as an ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) host. The ICS host acts as a gateway that connects to the Internet directly while other computers connect through it. Consequently, it must always be turned on whenever other computers want to access the Internet. In this scenario, the ICS host represents other computers on the Internet and has a public IP address.

Internet connection sharing using an ICS host
Figure: Connecting to the Internet through an ICS computer
In the example above, the home network uses Ethernet.
Direct connection, wireless LAN, phoneline network, powerline network
or mixed network can be used for ICS.

The computer that you choose as an ICS host must be the most powerful since it works as a router that has to forward traffic to other computers and it must have a firewall installed to protect itself and other computers in the home network from outside intruders that might attack your network when it connects to the Internet.
WinRoute and WinProxy are popular software that can help you set up Internet connection sharing using this configuration. You can also use built-in ICS application of Windows 98SE or later. You can do any Internet activity or browse any website on a particular computer independent of other computers, and depending on your ICS software and its setting, a user (client) computer may be able to start or stop an Internet connection in the ICS host.
Sharing an Internet connection through an ICS host computer is suitable for small network that has few computers. If you add more computers to your network, the ICS host might slow down. If the ICS host loses the Internet connection or hangs, your other computers will lose the connection too.

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