Creating a private wired network, but using a shared wireless Internet connection
January 20, 2008 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Creating a private wired network, but using a shared wireless Internet connection

So I have a slightly unusual home networking situation. I share an apartment which has a wireless network (let's call it Gerald), but I have several computers, only some of which have wireless. I'd like to get them all Internet access as simply as possible, so I am thinking of getting a single device like a generic Linksys router with wired ports, plugging all of my devices into that, then using this as a client to connect to Gerald.

But it's a bit more complicated; the router which runs Gerald (which I don't have any admin access to) seems to block anything that is not straight TCP/IP traffic; I can't see the network file shares on one computer from another on Gerald. As this is a shared Internet connection, this makes sense from a security point of view (I have no desire to see my roommates or neighbor's files, thanks; living with their unpleasant habits is enough) but I'd really like to see my network shares (without hacking around with stuff like Hamachi), as one of my PCs acts as a file server. So, can a generic wireless router connect me to Gerald (and the internet beyond), as well as creating a more private wired network that allows for network shares, etc? Any pointers on how to configure it for that? Bonus points for any solution that don't involve expensive devices; I'm on a tight budget.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What you need to coonect with Gerald is a wireless bridge. easy solution is a Linksys wrt54g and flash it
posted by raildr at 7:24 AM on January 20, 2008

Super cheap option ... just a plain hub with the uplink port wired into one of Gerald's router's wired ports ... all devices connected to the hub should get dynamic IP's from Gerald and be able to speak to the internet. And the hub will pass all layer 2 traffic amongst its ports blindly ... so no weird traffic filtering.
posted by jannw at 7:32 AM on January 20, 2008

A couple options:

Buy a router you can flash wrt-drt and put in client(or bridge) mode. It will communicate to that wireless network and give you four ports. If you still cant see shares then you'll need to put a router between your network and this wireless bridge and have everything behind NAT.


You can dedicate a PC to do this with internet connection sharing. Instead of buying a wireless client and a router you just set windows to do internet connection sharing and plug a cheapo 4 port hub into this PC and treat it like a router. It will of course need a wireless card in it so it can talk to the wireless network.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:43 AM on January 20, 2008

Just a note on economy: repurposing an old PC may seem more economical in the short term, but you will pay more for electricity over the course of the year. If you run this computer all the time already, no big deal, but if you're looking at procuring new hardware, the consumer router (I run a Linksys WRT54GL, cost about $70, not as a bridge but it's one of the ones that could be repurposed as such) will be more economical over the long term.
posted by Alterscape at 10:08 AM on January 20, 2008

If your primary goal is cheapness and simpicity, jannw's hub/switch idea really can't be beat. As long as all your computers are on the same traffic switching unit, it doesn't matter what the router thinks about the traffic. Hmm, maybe not. Depending on Gerald's configuration, it might do something dumb like try to set itself as the samba primary during elections and then drop all the samba traffic it receives. The possible result being that your computers would fail at windows file sharing using computer names (it would still work with IPs).

Let's see... buying a router is simple but costs money.

Windows connection sharing is reasonably simple and obviously cheap, but has acted hinky under load in my system administration experience. If you're a low bandwidth kind of guy, no problem. If you have torrents on all the time, you might want to experiment before you hang your hat on it.

The safest bet, from a security and its-going-to-work-no-matter-what-gerald-does and its-cheap standpoint, is to turn one of your existing computers into a router and have your own subnet. If you're willing to have linux on one of your boxes, all you need is a computer with 2 NICs (which can be had for about $10). Gentoo has a good guide on how to do this. Of course, this option is also the most work :(

I guess that's life.
posted by systematic at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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