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Networking question

Old 06-17-03, 02:34 PM
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Networking question

My father is trying to set up a network at his house. He lives in Europe, so I'm not sure exactly what form of high-speed internet he's got, but I'm figuring it wouldn't matter too much.

He says he's got a hub; I, with my limited networking knowledge, thought he would need a router. He's trying to add at least one other computer to the network, and apparently, the ISP has been handing out fines for people using more than computer on one IP address.

I guess my questions are:
- Can he set up a working network for more than one computer (I guess that goes without saying) with only a hub?

-Using either a hub or a router, would the ISP be able to see that he is using several computers for one IP address?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Old 06-17-03, 07:00 PM
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Re: Networking question

Originally posted by futbol

I guess my questions are:
- Can he set up a working network for more than one computer (I guess that goes without saying) with only a hub?
If by "working network" you mean one with Internet access, then the answer is "not easily." If he just tries to use the hub, every computer attached to it will try to grab an IP address from his ISP. If they don't allow multiple IPs per account (and most don't), then this will either not work at all or will work but will get your dad into trouble (the fines you mentioned).

By far the easiest solution would be to just buy a real hardware router. Basic routers can be had for pretty cheap now, at least in the States. This would be very little trouble to set up, even if your dad isn't that computer savvy. However, there are two more difficult alternatives he could try with his existing setup.

First, he could set up Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) in Windows (2k, 98SE, or XP). He would need to have 2 network cards in one computer (the ICS server). One would be connected to the WAN (i.e. cable/dsl) and the other to the additional computer (the ICS client) he wants to have Internet access. I've never used ICS, but I believe you could also run this latter connection to a hub in order to share Internet access with multiple computers. Basically, ICS turns your Windows PC into a software NAT router. Detailed instructions on setting up ICS for the various flavors of Windows can be found here: http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/ .

Second, if he has a spare computer, he could use it to serve as a router by using FREESCO, a single floppy disk distribution of Linux specifally designed for that purpose. You would still need two network cards in the FREESCO computer (one for WAN and one for your LAN running off the hub). FREESCO is not too hard to set up, but it *is* Linux and has no GUI. So, unless your dad is comfortable with that, the Windows ICS option may be more viable. Find FREESCO and documentation at http://www.freesco.org/ .

-Using either a hub or a router, would the ISP be able to see that he is using several computers for one IP address?
That's just it, if you are using a hub, you won't just be "using several computers for one IP address," each computer connected to the hub will have/need its *own* WAN IP address. With most ISPs, you are paying for only one IP, and they won't allow use of more (or charge you extra for doing so). So, yes, they will be able to tell that you are using multiple computers on one account with a hub.

A router, on the other hand, uses only one WAN IP address The router itself uses that address, and it hands out local IP addresses to the computers connected to it (usually via an integrated switch). The router is smart enough to be able to translate the various IPs on your LAN to the single WAN IP, sending the right data to the right places. I've seen various reports on whether an ISP can tell that you have a router with multiple PCs behind it, but the bottomline is that it doesn't matter because they generally don't care since you are still using only one of their IPs and the entire LAN is still limited by whatever bandwidth caps they have in place.

Hope this helps some!
Old 06-17-03, 07:03 PM
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Basically what JM says.

Get a router.
Old 06-17-03, 07:22 PM
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thanks - that's really what I was assuming. I was prepared to tell him to get a router, I was just curious if it could be done otherwise.

I guess my only concern is still with the ISP knowing he had a router. I know a lot of ISPs over here don't really care, but it would seem they care over there.

But, thanks for the help - I'll pass it along.

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