Two Computers-One Internet
February 9, 2007 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Computer simpleton here with a simple computer networking question (I think) regarding shared internet access.

Thanks for your help. My searches get me bogged down in the wealth of detail and options and you have to account for me being a mechanical moron. So: I have a windows PC with a DSL connection. I just got a Mac desktop for Christmas. These computers are at opposite ends of the house. I don't want to network the computers.

I just want the Mac to be able to use the DSL connection for internet access. What's the simplest way to do this?

Thank you very much for your help.
posted by quercus to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You need to buy a wireless router. What you'll do is plug your DSL into the router. You'll then "tell" the router some information from your DSL company (currently your Windows PC "knows" this information.) There will be some information on how to do this in the router manual and your DSL provider's webpage / customer support.

You'll also need to change the name of the wireless signal AND put a password on it. Again, information will be in the router manual.

The router will have some extra ports in it - you'll need an ethernet cable to plug your Windows PC into one of those ports.

Then you'll go to the new Mac and do a search for the name of your wireless network. After you've done that once, it'll always connect to it.

Good luck!
posted by k8t at 10:58 AM on February 9, 2007

1. You can only use one DSL modem at a time. Since DSL modems tend to be on all the time, that effectively means that you can only have one DSL modem.

2. The typical way to share an internet connection is with a network between those computers. It isn't clear if you don't want to network the computers because you don't know how to, or for some other reason. The right answer here is to network the computers, if possible.

3. Depending on the construction of your house, it may be easy to network the computers with wires. To do this, you will need a NAT router and a long cat-5 (cat-5e or cat6 optional) cable.

4. If it isn't easy to run a cable between the two computers, you *might* be able to connect the computers wirelessly. In this case, you will need a wireless NAT router, and a wireless card for one of the computers. the other computer can plug directly into the router.

4b. Note that if your house has a lot of metal in it (metal lath, for example), wireless may be close to impossibly. If your interior walls are somewhat open to your attic, it may be very easy to run a cable from the attic down your two walls, and out a power outlet (add a second faceplate for the network jack, or just run the network out the wall like on older cable TV installations)

5. If you cannot possibly network the two computers, don't need them to be able to talk to each other, and don't need them to be on the internet at the same time, you might be able to buy a DSL modem for each computer. This may reqire some cooperation on the part of your DSL provider.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:03 AM on February 9, 2007

Yep, wireless router is the way to go. Once you have that in place, it means you can link any computer in the house to this, in a similar way to how airports allow many people to just pick up the wireless network and connect.
posted by pettins at 11:36 AM on February 9, 2007

I'm rather confused as to why you wouldn't want to network the computers. It's really the standard way to share an internet connection, as others have described above.

Perhaps you don't want the files on each computer shared with the other? To be clear, networking the computers in this fashion does not necessarily mean that both computers will have access to the files on the other one. As long as you don't set up any network shares, you won't have the problem (or feature, depending on your perspective...)
posted by chrisamiller at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2007

Thanks everyone for your answers.

I just thought networking the computers was hard and have no clue how-I'm never against sharing!
posted by quercus at 1:33 PM on February 9, 2007

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