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Sharing the Internet with DialUp Connection.
Option 1. Install Internal Modem and Network Card (NIC) in one computer. Install one Network Card in each of all other computers. All Computers should be connected to a switch (if you have only two computers you can skip the switch and use a crossover CAT5 cable between the two computers).
Configure all the computers as Network (links to instructions).
Once you have a functional Network configure Windows ICS for sharing the Internet).
If you want to go Wireless? You need a Switch and Access Point. Plug the Access Point, and all the computers to the a Switch, and configure the Access Point to comply with the IP scheme of ICS. (Please note that many people complained about none working Wireless under such an arrangement. Your Mileage May Vary).
If you have a Wireless Cable/DSL Router, and you want to use it as an Access Point. Log here:
Option 2. This option is based on an External Cable/DSL Router that is combined with an external Dialup modem. By using this option you can configure all of your computer as a normal Network computers that is fed with the Internet through an External Ethernet connection. I.e. No need for Internal DialUp Modem and Software NAT (like ICS).
Best Data sells a unit that is a combo External DialUp Modem and a Network Router (like the ones used by Cable/DSL Connections)..
Link to: 56K Modem with Built in Router
You connect the Telephone line to the unit and you can plug two computers to the Ethernet port. If you need more computers you can add a switch to one of the port and plug more computers (regular 4 port switch will cost about $10).
When using a Modem with Build in Router it is very easy to provide both wire and wireless Internet connection. All you have to do is to buy a Wireless Cable/DSL Router, plug it to the Modem/Router and configure it as an Access Point. It would support 4 wired computers and few Wireless computers.
If you do not like the Best Data unit, or you would like to save some of the cost. You can try to find used hardware.
First try find an old Cable/DSL Routers include serial port.
You might be able to find an SMC Barricade 7004 on eBay.com it goes for about $20-$30; it is one of the best Entry Level Wired Routers ever made.
Once you found a Cable/DSL Router you need to find an External DialUp Modem.
Some vendors still sell new External DialUp Modems at primum price, or you can search ebay for it. (in both cases you can try by searching using the term "External Diaup modem" ).
Combining the two units will provide similar results as with the Best Data unit.
To add Wireless capabilities to the Network plug an Access Point (or Wireless Cable/DSL Router configured as an Access Point) to one of the Router's ports. Wireless would work very well with such an arrangement.
Option 2 is the best method to Share Internet with Dial Up, you do not need to use ICS, the surfing is smoother, and it is easier to add solid Wireless capability.
You can use Option 2 provided you have an ISP with normal Dialup service (not a propriety Dialup Socket like AOL).
This page has few links that can provide more general information about Windows Networking, and sharing the Internet: Basic Networking.
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