Sharing a Cable/DSL Connection

The Five Steps to Network Sharing Nirvana!

There are five steps that you'll need to take in order to share your cable modem connection:

  1. Connect your computers into a Local Area Network (LAN).

  2. Configure the computers on your LAN to use the TCP/IP protocol that they'll need to connect to the Internet.

  3. Select and install the software or hardware that allows the single Internet connection to be shared.

  4. Configure the other computers in your LAN so that they access the Internet via the shared connection.

  5. Secure all the computers in your LAN against intruders.

A few definitions might help minimize confusion as you read through the site:

  • Sharing Server - This is the computer (or hardware device) that is directly connected to the Internet, generally via some sort of modem.  This is also referred to as a Gateway or Router.

  • Sharing Client - This is the computer that is not directly connected to the Internet.  It depends on the Sharing Server for its connection.

Note that a Sharing Server or Client can be running MacOS, Windows 95/98/NT, or *nix (variants of Unix) operating systems.  You can also mix these various types of computers in the network.  The only requirement is that the computers have Ethernet interface cards and that they support the TCP/IP protocol.

I recommend you read through the steps before you start to do anything, since you may need to buy some additional hardware or software before you can get started.  I also recommend that you follow the steps in the order given above

Your mileage may vary...

My cable ISP was MediaOne Express in the Boston area.   This system is a full duplex (two way) system, with both download and upload traffic flowing through the cable system.  Your system may work differently and require a very different configuration.

Let's get started!

Separate Your Networks

Although we'll cover selecting your sharing method later, there is one important thing that you should do when planning to share your Internet connection with your LAN:

Keep your network separated from your ISP's network!

The key reasons for doing this are security for your LAN and avoiding problems with your ISP.  Read this page for more information.

In the typical case of:

  • an Ethernet-based LAN 

  • software-based sharing method

  • external cable or DSL modem connected via 10/100BaseT Ethernet

this will mean having two NICs in the Sharing Server.

I recommend not using two of the same exact NIC (especially 3COM, since users have reported problems with multiple 3COM NICs).   The main reason for this recommendation is that it will be easier for you to tell the NICs apart when you go to configure their Properties in the TCP/IP Control Panel, and when you run the winipcfg utility.


NOTE! Adding the second NIC is probably the most difficult part of getting your Internet connection shared.   Many of the emails that I receive tell long tales of woe and struggle with this step.

Nevertheless, it's important that you add that NIC!  I've put together a page to help you through the process, so give it a look.

When you don't need a second NIC

The world of Networking has changed since I first wrote this in 1998.  New networking methods have appeared, i.e. wireless, phoneline and powerline, and inexpensive hardware routers have appeared and continue to get even more inexpensive! 

These new alternatives create the need for exceptions to the "Two NIC" rule, and require a shift in thinking from "Two NICs" to "Two Network Adapters" in the case of software-based sharing methods.  

So here's the list of "Two NIC" exceptions 
(and here's hoping that you don't get totally confused by this)...

Exception 1: Internal cable or DSL modems
Since the modem connects directly to your computer's internal bus (usually via a PCI slot), you don't need a NIC to connect to it.  Just one NIC (or phoneline or wireless or powerline network card) in the Sharing server is needed to connect to the LAN.

Exception 2: External cable or DSL modems with wireless, phoneline or powerline-based LAN
In this case, one Ethernet NIC is needed to connect to the cable/DSL modem, but since your LAN is not Ethernet based, you don't need a second NIC.

Exception 3: Hardware router
The router handles the job of keeping your LAN separated from your ISP's network and also handles sharing the Internet connection.  All you need in this case is one NIC per computer.  
(When hardware routers or "residential gateways" or whatever other term the marketing folks come up with, appear that handle Wireless / phoneline / powerline connections directly, this exception should be interpreted to be one network-adapter-of-the-proper-flavor per computer.)

Exception 4: Multiple IPs
The only case in which you can't create a separate network is if you are using the multiple IP address method of sharing. 
In order for the multiple IP address method to work, all computers that require Internet access need to be connected directly to the ISP's network, usually via a hub or switch. 
In the Multiple IP method, you need only one NIC per computer.

Exception 5: External cable or DSL modems connected via USB
In this case, one Ethernet NIC is needed to connect to the LAN, but since the cable / DSL modem is connected via USB, you don't need a second NIC.
(Thanks to Jason Aubrey for the tip!)

Keep this information in mind when selecting your sharing method and buying your network hardware.

Let's get wired!

Lan Wiring

Before your computers can share your Internet connection, they need to be able to share with each other!  This means that you'll have to connect them together to form a LAN.   If you already have an Ethernet-based LAN, then you can go on to the next page.  If you don't, or aren't sure, then read on.

What's a LAN?
A LAN, or Local Area Network is a group of two or more computers, physically close together (usually in the same building), that are linked to each other.  LANs can contain devices other than computers, for example, printers, print servers, storage devices, etc.  

If you're new to networking, there are many tutorials available on the web to get you started.  See this page for links to them.


NOTE! Adding the second NIC is probably the most difficult part of getting your Internet connection shared.   Many of the emails that I receive tell long tales of woe and struggle with this step.

Nevertheless, it's important that you add that NIC!  I've put together a page to help you through the process, so give it a look.

Choose Your Connection Method

You first need to determine the type of connection method to use for your network.  During the past year or so, new options have appeared, so let's summarize your choices:

  • Ethernet

  • Phone-line

  • Wireless 

  • Power Line

  • Direct Cable Connection (only for two computers)

Let's do Ethernet 
Ethernet has been the most common LAN building method since it's been around the longest, so the rest of this page will concentrate on the choices available in that method.  The downside of using Ethernet is that you need to run special cabling in order to use it.  If this will be a problem for you, then you should head on over to the Alternative Networking section and explore the other connection methods that are now available.

This page from this Linksys article gives a short summary of the two types of Ethernet cabling. Thin Ethernet (10base2) can run at a maximum of 10Mbps, while the proper grade of UTP cable can support up to 100Mbps operation.  You'll need a 100MBps hub and 100Mbps Network Interface Cards in order to take advantage of the higher speed, both of which cost slightly more than 10Mbps components.  In most cases, a 10Mbps (10baseT) network will work just fine.

  Tip: Speeds up to 1Gbps (giga bits per second) are even possible over "CAT5" cable with the newer "gigabit over copper" Ethernet adapters!

Make sure you also take into account the maximum allowable cable lengths in deciding which type of cabling to use:

Cable Type Max. Length
10Base2 (Thinnet) 600ft
10BaseT (UTP Category 5) 328ft

If you'd like more information on the Pros and Cons of the various kinds of Ethernet cabling, check the Linksys article.


Is "Thin Net" for you?

If you have only a few machines and want to spend the minimum amount of money, you can use 10base2 or "thinnet" or coaxial cabling to connect your computers as shown in the diagram below.  This method is less expensive than using the 10baseT method (which I'll talk about next), and contrary to some things you may read on the net, runs at the same speed as 10baseT.

Note that cable modems don't support the 10base2 coaxial cable, but use 10baseT instead.  So you'll have to use UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable (see explanation below) to make the connection from the cable modem's RJ45 connector to the RJ45 connector on the first NIC in the Proxy computer.

Here's a cabling diagram of a simple network for sharing your cable modem, if you want to use 10base2 cabling.  Only two computers are shown, but, of course, you can add more computers by removing a terminator, connecting another computer as shown below, and re-installing the terminator on the last computer in the chain.

  10Base2 Network diagram

10BaseT for Me!
If you have more than one sharing Client, or are planning to expand your network later, or have to run your cables in areas where they might be damaged or tampered with, then you should use 10baseT cabling to set up your network, as shown in the next diagram below.

Networking equipment manufacturers have made setting up a network easier by bundling NICs, cables, a hub and setup documentation into handy kits.  This may be the way to go if you are setting up your first network, but please read this page on hubs before you buy one of these kits. 

Note that you use a different kind of cable, called UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair), for a 10baseT network.   Although it may look like the cable that you use to connect your telephone to the wall, it's not.  So be sure to use the correct cable to build your network.  This kind of network also doesn't need terminators.

Don't just connect everything to the 10baseT hub! Yes, I know all those jacks are inviting and it seems so simple, but unless your cable company has assigned you multiple IP numbers, it either won't work, or at some point will stop working.  For further explanation, see the Why Two NICs? and How a Hub Works pages.

Here's a cabling diagram of a simple network for sharing your cable modem, if you want to use 10baseT cabling

NOTE: If you follow the diagram below, do not connect any cables into the hub's "uplink" port.  That connector is used to connect one hub to another, in case you need more ports.  (To "cascade" or "daisy chain" hubs, you would connect the "uplink" port on one hub to a normal port on another hub, using a regular UTP cable.)

  10BaseT Network Diagram

10BaseT...with a "twist"

If you have only two computers in your network, you can get by without a hub, if you use a special kind of UTP cable called a "Crossover Cable". You can purchase them at the same place that you buy normal 10baseT UTP cables, or make one.

This network configuration is shown in the diagram below.

  10BaseT (w/Crossover) Network Diagram

Note that many more configurations of LANs are possible, including LANs that have both 10base2 and 10baseT sections (using hubs that suppport both standards, such as the Netgear EN104). 

So you've selected your type of network wiring, and maybe even have things connected together.  You now have to install and configure your LAN (Local Area Network) software.

Let's do it!

Installing TCP/IP

If your local network doesn't work before you install sharing software, it won't get any easier after you add it!  So, do yourself a favor and get your local network talking TCP/IP before you attempt to install your sharing software.

To avoid headaches...
Before you go off and get setup, please note the following points that should make things easier for you:

  1. Know what IP address is assigned to which physical NIC in the computer that is running the sharing software (the Sharing server), so that you attach the sharing Client computers to the correct one.  
    Things are easier to sort out if you use cards from two different manufacturers or at least different model numbers from the same manufacturer.  Here's why.

    If you already have two of the same card and they are not from 3COM, you can try this procedure to attempt to tell the two cards apart.


  1. Don't use a HOST or LMHOST table on any machines.  Yes, it's nicer to be able to refer to machines by name and if you have a larger network, or already know how to use Host tables, then great, use them.  However, in a small network, you can easily keep track of the IP numbers for a few machines.

  2. Don't use a DHCP server to assign TCP/IP information for your Client computers if you are going to use the "free" 2.1d version of Wingate.   See this page for more info on using a DHCP server.

  3. Use as the IP address for the second NIC in the Sharing server.  The first sharing Client computer should be assigned IP   If you don't like those numbers or have more computers, then feel free to use any numbers between and   Just remember that each machine must have its own unique IP address. (If you want to know why we're using these IP addresses or want to know what the other alternatives are, read this page.)

  4. In general, don't change the settings for the NIC that is connected to your cable modem.   You should only have to touch the settings for the second NIC, i.e. the one connected to your LAN.

  5. IMPORTANT! Pay attention to Client computer TCP/IP setup instructions that come with the sharing program that you use.   Different programs require different Client computer TCP/IP settings.

  6. If your Client is a laptop and you have to move it between multiple locations, the easiest thing to do is set up TCP/IP to obtain an address automatically (or use a DHCP server). See this page for more info on using a DHCP server.
    If either of the locations where you use your laptop doesn't use a DHCP server, then you'll have to switch TCP/IP settings when you move between locations. Check this page for suggestions on how to handle this.

If you have a MacOS computer, go here for info on configuring the TCP/IP control panel.  If you try to follow the instructions below, you may not be able to successfully ping all machines.

Check for TCP/IP 
In many cases, installing your Network Adapter will also install the TCP/IP protocol that your computer needs to communicate with the Internet.  You can quickly check to see if it's installed by opening your Network Control panel. You should see something like the highlighted entry in the picture below.

Network Control Panel properties

The highlighted entry means that the TCP/IP protocol has been installed and "bound" to the Maxtech Ethernet adapter. ("Bound" means that the hardware adapter and software protocol have been connected so that they work together.)  
If you see an entry like this (the name of your Ethernet adapter may be different than this example) in your Network Control Panel, you're probably ok and you can skip down to enter information into the TCP/IP properties.  Otherwise, you'll need to install it, so read on!

Install TCP/IP
Installing TCP/IP is straightforward.  On a Mac, it's installed as part of Open Transport, so you can skip this section.  On a Windows machine, go find your Windows installation CD, put it in the CDROM drive, then do the following:

1. Open the Network Control Panel and click the Add button.

2. Select Protocol (as shown below) and click the Add button.

Network Components - Protocol

 3. Select Microsoft and TCP/IP as shown below

Select Network Protocol - TCP/IP

4. Click OK to close each open Network properties window.  Windows will load the files it needs then ask to reboot.  Let it reboot. 

After the computer reboots, you're ready to configure the TCP/IP settings.

TCP/IP Settings for the second (LAN) NIC in the Sharing Computer

Enter the following information into your TCP/IP Control panel for the second NIC in your Sharing computer:

  • IP address: set to

  • Subnet Mask:

  • WINS Configuration: Disable WINS resolution

  • Gateway: Make sure there are NO entries.

  • DNS Configuration:    Leave this alone 
    DNS settings apply to all NICs in a given computer, so you can't set them differently for the LAN NIC. 
    If your ISP has assigned you a static IP address, this will probably be enabled and other information will be filled in when the first NIC was set up. 
    If your ISP uses DHCP to assign you an IP address, then this will probably be disabled because the DHCP server takes care of giving your computer the DNS and Gateway server information it needs.
    At any rate, don't change the DNS setting.

  • Bindings: Check Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks if you don't have any other protocol (NetBeui, IPX/SPX) installed and bound to these items. Otherwise uncheck both these items so that you do not have either item bound to TCP/IP.

  • Advanced: make sure the "Set this protocol to be the default protocol." is checked.

  • NetBios: no changes.

TCP/IP Settings for the NIC in the Client Computer

You may need to change the following settings once you install Sharing, but they'll get you started so that you can test your network:

  • IP address: set to through
    Each computer needs to have a different IP address.

  • Subnet Mask:

  • WINS Configuration: Disable WINS resolution

  • Gateway: set to

  • DNS Configuration:   set to Disabled 

  • Bindings: Check Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks if you don't have any other protocol (NetBeui, IPX/SPX) installed and bound to these items. Otherwise uncheck both these items so that you do not have either item bound to TCP/IP.

  • Advanced: make sure the "Set this protocol to be the default protocol." is checked.

  • NetBios: no changes.

That should be it for TCP/IP installation.

Let's test TCP/IP!

Testing TCP/IP

Ping, ping, ping!
After you configure the Network software and set the IP addresses,  use the ping command on the Sharing Computer to make sure all of the computers are "alive" (at least in the TCP/IP sense).

NOTE! You will not be able to ping your ISP or any Internet address from your Sharing Clients until you install your Sharing software. This is because they are on separate subnets and require the Sharing software to route (or move) data between the subnets.

To do this, go to the Windows Start button, choose Programs, then MSDOS Prompt
When you get the C: prompt, type ping  
If everything is ok, you should get the following response (or something similar):

Pinging with 32 bytes of data

Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=32

Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=32
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=32
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=32

This means that TCP/IP is working on the machine that you are typing on. is a special address that "loops back" to the machine you are pinging from.   You can also type ping localhost and receive a similar response, since localhost and mean the same thing.

If things aren't ok, you'll get something like:

Pinging with 32 bytes of data

Request timed out.

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Better try the troubleshooting tips.



If the above "pinged" ok, next you should ping your cable modem NIC IP.   This is the second network that connects to your soon-to-be shared computer, and is a subnet of your cable provider.

Type ping [yourISPIP] where [yourISPIP] is the IP address temporarily assigned to you by your ISP.  You should get the proper "Reply from..." response.

If you don't know your cable modem NIC IP address, use the winipcfg command to find out.  An example winipcfg screen is shown below (you'll have to click on the "More Info" button on the opening Control Panel to get this view).  Your temporary IP address is next to IP Address in the Ethernet Adapter Information section.

Example winipcfg screen

If all of that is ok, then you're on a roll, so you might as well ping your sharing Clients!  They will have IP addresses of 192.168.0.X, so go ahead and ping 'em.

You can also try pinging the second NIC on the Sharing computer from your Client computer(s).  Also try Client to Client if you have more than one.  Just don't try to ping your ISP or anything other than the computers on the LAN.  That won't work until after you set up Sharing.

If you've followed directions and the Force has been with you, your local network and cable network are working with TCP/IP now.  If one of the above pings failed, then check the Troubleshooting page.

Let's install sharing.

Choose Sharing method - Cable/DSL Modem

There are a number of ways to share a cable modem. Use the table below to select a sharing method. Just follow the arrows and click on the appropriate GO! symbol to choose your sharing method.

Before you make your final choice, you should look at the Special Applications section, especially if you are going to use online games, messaging or multimedia applications on your Client computers.

You can find an extensive list of sharing programs at the Winfiles site.  

If you're looking for  free sharing programs, go to this page.

 Sharing Method Selection Diagram - Cable Modem

Sharing with PPPoE

I'm having trouble connecting to my ISP that is using PPPoE 
(This is a common problem with Sympatico customers and DSL bPPPoE*
is a new standard for authentication and control of the connection from the ISP and it can cause problems with both hardware and software routers. Manufacturers of these products are updating them to try to work with this new protocol, but in the meantime, try the information below.  

Tip: Vicomsoft has an easy to understand overview of PPPoE in their Knowledgeshare section.

ased connections).

How do I know if I'm using PPPoE?
Here are a few things you can check:

  • You are a customer of the following DSL ISPs:

    • Sympatico

    • Bell Canada

    • Bell Atlantic Infospeed DSL

    • SNET

    • SBC

    • PacBell DSL

  • You have a cable modem, but your ISP has told you to use DialUp networking to connect.

  • You are using a program one of the following programs:

    • WinPOET

    • Access Manager

    • EnterNet (by Network Telesystems [NTS])

PPPoE Help

  • If you're using a hardware router, you'll have to check your router specs to see it supports PPPoE operation.  If the router does support PPPoE, you must uninstall any PPPoE client software from your computers and configure the router with your PPPoE logon information.  The router must handle all PPPoE session management.
  • If you've been tearing your hair out trying to get PPPoE based connection to work with a dynamically assigned IP address, see if you can get a static IP address.  It might cost you more, but it also might be worth it!
  • 5/29/00 Another "it's not working with ICS and Enternet hint (Thanks to "Duck" Moore)
    - Symptom: EnterNet performs logon, authentication, and
    connection ok, but it does not communicate or transfer data.
    - Solution: Go to the Enternet System Information
    program (under Accessories) and access the "Automatic skip driver agent" under the "Tools" menu. 
    If there are any files listed and not checked, just check them.  Let the computer restart and you should be up and running.
  • If you have PacBell DSL service, are using ICS, and can't connect 
    you may have the Enternet PPPoE program set incorrectly.
           - First, make sure you have Enternet 1.3
           - Under Connections ->Settings, click the Advanced button. 
          - Under IP configuration, change from default "Private API" to "Use DHCP".
    [Thanks to Mike Berrow for this tip!]
  • Vicomsoft's SoftRouter Plus and Internet Gateway Version 6.6 support PPPoE without needing to use 3rd party applications like WinPOET.
  • Sympatico users with PPPoe problems may find help here, since the SympaticoUsers.org site has been shut down.


  • If you are using Enternet as your PPPoE client and Sygate to share your connection, try this info from NTS.


To get Sygate working to share an internet connection with Sympatico HSE, you must follow the following step by step instructions. Please note that you should uninstall Access Manager before installing WinPoET, as some people have reported conflicts when both are installed on the same system.

1. Install WinPoet and reboot.

2. Connect to the net with WinPoet and stay connected.

3. Install Sygate 3.1 (build 5.38). There is a 30 day trial download at http://www.sygate.com

4. After installing Sygate, with WinPoet still connected, run the Sygate diagnostic, it will detect the WinPoet Dial up connection.

5. Configure Sygate to Start as a service on startup and enable the DHCP server.

6. Do not enable the Enhanced Security on Sygate

7. Reboot the gateway computer

8. Connect via WinPoet on the gateway to make sure your connection is working well.


  • If you're not using Sygate, but are using some other sort of sharing software, try connecting to your ISP first (including logging in if that's required by your ISP), then installing the software while you are logged in.

  • A user with an internal DSL adapter fixed their PPPoE problems with ICS by specifying the Dialup Adapter instead of the DSL card as their Network adapter.

If you're interested in learning more about PPPoE, check these pages:


Adding the second NIC

If you have an external cable or DSL modem, and no router, but you want to share your Internet connection using software such as ICS or WinProxy, you'll need to add a second Network Interface Card (NIC) to your system.  This can be the most trouble-prone and frustrating part of the entire process of sharing your Internet connection!  Typical problems that you might encounter are:

  • Changing settings on one NIC affects the other NIC.

  • NICs work intermittently

  • BSOD (Blue Screen of Death... if you've never experienced this, you'll know it when you see it) errors or lockups when booting.

  • Inability to see other machines in Network Neighborhood

  • Other hardware that was working fine stops working

  • Don't have a free slot or IRQ.

In spite of all this, it's important that you add the NIC for the reasons I describe on this page

So if you're running into problems trying to add that NIC, here are some Troubleshooting tips. 

Tip #1: If you have Win98 and a USB port on your computer, spend a little extra money and save a lot of time by using a USB-Ethernet adapter.  This page has more info.

Tip #2: We dislike making blanket statements, but try to stay away from 3COM NICs if you can help it.   They tend to cause problems when using more than one of them.  If you must use a 3COM, then check this page and this page if you're having trouble getting them to play nice!

Tip #3: If you read the newsgroups, you may see threads debating whether to use ISA or PCI NICS.  In my experience, either will work fine, but using two PCI NICs might make installing the second one easier due to a feature called IRQ Steering or IRQ Sharing.

PCs have only 16 IRQs (numbered 0 through 15), but today there's a lot more hardware competing for them.   IRQ Steering lets the IRQs be shared by more than one hardware device.  To see if you have this capability, use the Device Manager in the System Control Panel, and double click on the Computer icon.
If you see entries like the ones circled in red below, you have PCI Steering.

IRQ properties

Just because you have it, though, doesn't mean that you won't have problems with it!   If you do, try "Musical Chairs", or try the steps on this page.

Tip #4: If you must use an ISA NIC, then you must have a free IRQ for it.  Check this by again going to Device Manager (right click on My Computer, select Properties, and click on the Device Manager tab) and look for a missing number between 0 and 15. (In the example below IRQ10 is missing, so it's available to be used.)Example of unused IRQ
One caution, however, even if you find a free IRQ, your NIC may not be able to use it.   ISA NICs usually can only be set to a limited range of IRQ numbers.  Consult the documentation that comes with the NIC.  You may have to reassign the IRQs for other devices in order to free up an IRQ that your NIC can use.  However, if it comes to this, you may want to jump to Tip 6!

Tip #4a: If you have slots available, but no free IRQs, you'll have to free up an IRQ by disabling the hardware that is presently using the IRQ.  You do this via the Device Manager (Start > Settings > Control Panel > System). Select View Devices by Type and double click on the Computer icon.

This will bring up a window where you can see what hardware is using which IRQ.  Find an IRQ that is compatible with your NIC and see if you can live without that hardware. 
Disable the hardware by double clicking on its icon in Device manager.  Then, in the Device Useage area of the window that comes up,  either uncheck the Original Configuration(Current) box in Win95 or check the Disable in this Device Profile box in Win98.

Tip #5:
If you are using an older version of Win95, download and install the DialUpNetworking 1.3 update.  This includes newer TCP/IP stacks and drivers that may help.

Tip #6: Go get another NIC.
Sometimes certain combinations of hardware just don't work together (or are not worth spending the time on to find the obscure problem that is causing them to not work together)! There are plenty of fine NICs available from Asante, Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, SMC, UMAX and other companies.

Tip #7: If you want to use two of the exact same NIC in your setup,
you can try the following procedure so that you'll be able to tell them apart:

  1. Make a COPY of the driver floppy that comes with your NIC.

  2. Find the Windows driver folder on the floppy (usually labeled WIN95) and find the .inf file.

  3. Right-click on the file and select Open.

  4. Find the string "DeviceDesc" in the .inf file. You may find a number of lines in the file that have this string in them. Keep looking until you see a line that has just has the name of the device in quotes.  Here are some examples of what you might see in different .inf files:

USB\VID_0565&PID_0005.DeviceDesc = "LINKSYS USB Network Adapter"

kHomeFreePCMCIADeviceDesc = "Diamond Multimedia HomeFree PC Card"

  1. Add (nic1) to the DeviceDesc string Don't change any other information in the file!!. Save and close the file.

  2. Install the first NIC using the disk. 
    NOTE you may need to delete the existing driver and use the "Add New Hardware" Control Panel if Plug and Play doesn't prompt you to select a driver when it finds your card.

  3. Repeat Steps 2-6, but add (nic2) to the driver's name and then install the second NIC.


Tip #8: Try a dual channel NIC.
These are expensive (~$200) and  intended for server use, but it may be a solution when there are no other choices.  Here are a few models:

Tip #9: Disable Plug and Play
(This tip courtesy of Greg Ward)

It is important to set the BIOS correctly. Especially with Win95 and when you have limited free IRQs (only one or two), Windows will fall over trying to deal with two NICs IF the BIOS Plug and Play is enabled. It will not be possible to get both NICs to work.

My method of addressing this is first to get Windows configured with only one NIC and the BIOS Plug and Play enabled.

Then go into the BIOS settings, disable the Plug and Play and allow Windows to boot. This will not affect the current settings.

Shutdown the PC and install the 2nd NIC. Windows will in most cases recognize the new NIC and allow for the driver installations. Because the BIOS Plug and Play is off, Windows can now even assign the NICs identical IRQs but different memory ranges. I presently have this configuration and it works flawlessly.

NOTE: Newer computers with newer BIOSes and Win98 have complicated disabling Plug and Play.  You may also have to disable it in Device Manager in addition to the BIOS!  You'll find it under the System Devices branch.  Disable it by checking the box as shown below.

Tip #10: Check Safe Mode
If all else fails, try this before you give up!

Tip #11: Musical Chairs
Reader Jeremy Burns sent in this tip:

I'm using a Dell Pent Pro (200Mhz) with an American Megatrends Bios that cannot disable PnP.

When I inserted a Linksys card, it grabbed IRQ 9, already being used by my 3Com card.  Both were not working unless I disabled the Linksys card.  Moving the Linksys card down a PCI did nothing. Of course, I could not manually adjust the IRQ.  At this point I thought I was SOL and was up to 1:00 am trying to futz with IRQ sharing. Disabling sharing nuked everything, including my video card (also PCI). Of course I could not disable PnP because of the Bios. Dell had no useful suggestions. There were no jumpers on the motherboard to set IRQs on PCI slots.

The next evening I tried something novel, I moved all of my PCI cards to new slots. Call it the musical chairs approach. Bam. The Linksys card woke up on IRQ 3, 3com took 9, and I don't know where the Video card wound up, but it worked.

A variation on this tip is to reinstall one card at a time, but in different slots than before.  Note that you may have to delete the adapters via Device Manager for all the cards that you remove.

Tip #12: Clean up registry TCP/IP info

Bad information stored in the Registry can frustrate your efforts to install a Network adapter.  Go here for help!

Tip #13: Stuck DHCP 

Can't release your DHCP lease?  Go here for help!

Tip #14: VIA chipset IRQ steering problems

If your PC is running Windows 98 or 98SE and uses one or more chips from VIA Technologies, you may have problems adding a second NIC.

Tip: Read the "How do I know if I am using a VIA chipset?" item on the VIA FAQ page if you need help determining whether your computer uses a VIA chipset.

Go to this VIA page and download the the "4in1 driver" utility for your computer type.  Then run the utility, but run only the "VIA PCI IRQ Miniport Driver" Installer.  After you reboot your system, both NICs should now function.[Thnx to Richard Lawrence for this tip!]

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Copyright © 2002 Øyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  13 januar 2019

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