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Sharing a DSL or Other Broadband Connection

Question asked on August 22, 2006 6:36 PM :: :: Comments (0) :: TrackBacks (2)

Sharing a DSL or other broadband connection is very common place and real easy to set up.

Being a BellSouth FastAccess DSL subscriber myself, I am very familiar with the equipment they provide and will answer you with that in mind. For other readers who may not be a BellSouth subscriber, the principles outlined here will apply to you also.

For starters, BellSouth has, for a few years now, being providing residential subscribers with a Westell Wire Speed modem. This modem provides a network interface connection and a USB connection and acts as a router. This allows you to plug in a PC and give it access to the Internet while still keeping it private from the rest of the world.

Besides the security protection it gives you, it also allows you to share one Internet connection with multiple PC's. Since it only has one network interface connection, you just need a way to share that connection. The way to do that is with a device called a network hub or a network switch (there is a technical difference between a hub and a switch, but hubs are rarely produced today since a switch is much faster and just as cheap to produce).

A network switch allows multiple network devices to plug into it and sends the data from a network device that is transmitting to the network device that is waiting to receive it. Think of it as an old time phone operator who would connect you to the person you were trying to reach by telephone.

By plugging a network switch directly into your DSL modem, you can then plug multiple PC's into the network switch, as many as the switch will allow, and they can all share the same DSL Internet connection.

Since you are only going to be plugging in two PC's, I would recommend a network switch such as the LinkSys SD205 10/100 Desktop Ethernet 5-Port Switch
, which sells for about $30 at Office Depot.

You will also need an extra patch cord or two (these are the cables the run from your computer to the network switch). You already have one patch cord currently running from your PC to the DSL modem, that cable will be unplugged from the PC and plugged into the network switch. You will need two more patch cords, one for each of your PC's so that they can be plugged into the network switch.

Although you can buy a patch cord from Office Depot or other retailer, the mark up on patch cords is unbelievably high. If you already have an eBay account, I would buy them from someone on eBay. (I cannot vouch for this eBay seller, but he has the patch cords in stock at a good price and even after Priority Mail shipping costs, two cables will still be less than 50% of the retail cost of one cable.)

For cable broadband subscribers, all of the above applies, however, instead of a switch, you will need to purchase a switch/router combo such as the LinkSys BEFSR41 EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch
combination. I haven't seen a cable modem deployed yet that also provides the router services of a DSL modem.


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