SHCC WYSIWYG Article from December 1999

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This article (question) was written (answered) by Jerry Carson, in the "Ask the Expert" column.  This article appeared in the December 1999 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Home Network for a Common Internet Connection

by Jerry Carson

Q: Dear Ask The Expert,

I have a cable modem, set up for one computer.  Is there a way to use this computer as a server, and allow other computers to access the Internet through this "server" simultaneously? Also, can I still use this "server" as a regular computer?


A: Dear Questioner,

Yes, you can.  In fact, this is exactly the set-up I use at home.

The easiest way of doing this is to purchase a copy if SyGate software.  It is about $35 for a 3-user license and is VERY easy to install and use.  There are other packages and I believe that the latest version of Windows 98 has this capability built-in.  I haven't found anything easier to use than SyGate.  It allows all the users (up to the number licensed) to access the Internet at the same time.  It runs as a background task, so it doesn't interfere with the normal use of your server.

If you do not yet have a home network, you will need to install the appropriate hardware (Network Interface Cards (NICs), and a hub, and drivers to allow this all to work.  Many locations offer a "Network in a Box" kit that gives you 2 NICs and a small hub, and all the wiring and drivers you need to network two computers.  Additional computers each require their own NIC, and if you have more than 4 computers you may need a larger hub.

Once your network is installed and running (this will enable your Network Neighborhood), you can install SyGate.  I believe that SyGate is only available on the Web, at www.sygate.com.  It comes with a 100 Mb limit before you have to register which is a little restrictive.  Once you register, there is no limit.

When I installed my network, all it did was "turn on" the Network Neighborhood so that I could "see" the other computers on my network.  It did not "undo" my Internet connection, just added another connection.

You can easily mix and match operating systems.  I currently have Windows 95, 98 and NT, and occasionally I throw in a UNIX machine.

I set up my network with an ADSL modem.  It's about 4 times faster than a cable modem and a little more secure.

Happy surfing,

The Expert

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