Help me decide! - Dialup

If you ended up on this page, you probably need some help deciding how to get started in sharing your dial-up connection
Below you'll find a list of alternatives and a short explanation to help you understand your choices.

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.

(If you'd like to see what we recommend, check this page.)
1) Using a Proxy server

A proxy server is a software application that takes the one IP address that you get from your ISP and routes the data to and from the other computers on your LAN though it.  


  • No monthly cost.

  • Can be expanded to handle many computers.

  • Flexible control over who can access the Internet, when, and where from (access management).


  • Requires that the computer running the proxy program be running for other computers to access the Internet.

  • Need to set the internet applications in each Client computer to point to the Proxy computer.

  • Can be difficult to set up.

  • Doesn't support some applications, especially multi-player web gaming.

  • No products available for Macintosh OS.  See the NAT section below.

Wingate is probably the leading proxy server, and if you have only two computers, it's free!
It runs under Win95, Win98 and WinNT. 
If this sounds like it's what you want, go to this page to get started or go back to the selection diagram.

2) Using a NAT program

NATs are another kind of software application that uses your one IP address to allow multiple computers to access the net.   They are available for Win9X,WinNT, and MacOS.  (The selection is limited for MacOS.  See this page for MacOS NAT products.


  • No need to change the Internet applications onthe Client computers.

  • Handles multi-player web gaming well.

  • Easier to set up than proxies.

  • No monthly cost.

  • Can be expanded to handle many computers.


  • Requires that the computer running the NAT program be running for other computers to access the Internet.

  • Access management may not be as flexible as proxies.

  • Doesn't support all applications. Can be difficult to add services for non-supported applications.

For more information on this method, go to this page, or go back to the selection diagram.

3) Using Linux
(or other Unix variants)

Linux is an (essentially) free version of Unix that is available for both the Intel and Motorola computing platforms.  It can be configured in various ways to allow you to share your dial-up connection.


  • Free.

  • Very flexible.

  • Can run on slow, old (486) machines.


  • Usually requires a dedicated computer.

  • BIG learning curve.

  • Hard, if not impossible, to set up by non-technical users.

I would recommend this option only if you are the type of person who loves to tear down engines or build your own computer.  Go to this page for further info, or go back to the selection diagram.

4) Using NT

If you are using NT Workstation or Server, and your ISP can route multiple IP addresses to you, you can use its built-in routing capabilities.  Routing of multiple addresses (usually all or some of a Class C subnet) is not supported by all ISPs, and if they will do it, you'll be charged an extra fee.  So you'll probably have to use one of the other sharing options.


  • Free (if you're using NT)


  • Moderate learning curve.

  • Difficult to set up by non-technical users.

For more information on using NT, go to this page, or go back to the selection diagram.

5) "Analog" routers

Yes, you can actually go buy a dedicated box to handle sharing your network connection.   This solution may be suitable more for business applications with many users. Prices, however, are coming within home user range, as "home networking" is recognized as a growing market.


  • Very high throughput

  • Doesn't require a dedicated computer.

  • Only need one NIC per computer.

  • Reliable and runs without much, if any attention, once you set it up.

  • May also provide firewall protection


  • Higher cost (>$400 for even the smallest routers) than using a software solution on an existing computer.

  • Still requires configuration.

  • May not support VPN or tunneling at all, or may have only limited support.

Sharing a Dial-Up Connection

The Five Steps to Network Sharing Nirvana!

There are five steps that you'll need to take in order to share your dial-up 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

Got all that?  Good!

Let's get everything connected!

Wiring your Local Network - DialUp

Don't want to run new wires for your network? Check out the information on phoneline and wireless networking products.

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, I recommend you read this CNET article.   It includes a handy interactive Home LAN Decision Maker, that can generate a shopping list of components for your network.

Check your modem 

If you're going to share your connection, you need the fastest connection possible.  So if you don't already have one, go get a modem capable of supporting a speed of 56,000 bits per second (56kbps).  If you try to share a connection with anything slower, you're really not going to enjoy the results. 

It used to be (way back a few years ago...) that there were two standards (K56flex and X2) for 56K connections, but no more.  All 56K modems now sold support the V90 standard or can be upgraded to it with a free download from the manufacturers web site.   Virtually all ISPs have switched over to this new standard, but check with your ISP before you buy your modem, just in case they haven't switched yet!

Remember, all you need is one modem!
Choose Your Cabling Type

You first need to determine the type of cabling to use for your network.  This page from the CNET article gives a short summary of the two types of cabling.
PLEASE NOTE that the text is a little misleading when it says "Thin Ethernet runs at only 10 Mbps, much slower than UTP." 

The more accurate statement is that Thin Ethernet (10base2) can run at a maximum of 10Mbps, while the proper grade of UTP cable can support a maximum of 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 more than 10Mbps components.  In most cases, a 10Mbps (10baseT) network will work just fine.

If you'd like more information on the Pros and Cons of the various kinds of Ethernet cabling, check this page.  This Linksys article is also helpful in deciding what type of cabling to use.  You should 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


Other Options

As of late 1998 and early 1999, other options for wiring your network have appeared in the form of wireless and phone-line networking products.  These products tend to be more expensive than the "normal" Ethernet options and run more slowly.  But they have the advantage of not requiring you to run special cable for your network.   Depending on the setup of your home or office, this can be a great advantage.   For more info on these products, check this page.

If you have a simple two computer setup, with the computers either in the same room or very close to each other, you can consider using Windows Direct Cable Connection (DCC) feature.  This allows you to use the serial or parallel ports of your computers to network them.  For more information on how to set this up, this page on J. Helmig's site provides all you need to know.

A variation on DCC has appeared in the form of a product that uses the Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports of your computer to network them together.  The Anchor Chips ezLink kit can be used if your two computers have USB ports.  You should probably only try this option if your computer is also running Win98, which has good USB support.  (Go here for a PC Magazine review of this kit.)

Finally, if you have WIN98 and USB ports on your machine, you can try one of the USB-Ethernet adapters that are available.  (Unfortunately, there aren't any of these products with MacOS drivers available.)  Check this page for more info or this page for a review of the Linksys product.
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.

Here's a cabling diagram of a simple network for sharing your Internet connection via dial-up 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 - Dial-up

10BaseT for Me!

If you have more than one sharing Client computer, 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.

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 - Dial-up

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 Crossover network - Dial-up

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 - DialUp

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. 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 for the NIC in the computer that will be running the sharing software.  The first 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 DialUpNetworking TCP/IP settings.   You should only have to touch the settings for the NIC that is connected to your LAN.
    The exception to this is to make sure that you uncheck "Log on to Network"  on the Server Types tab of your DialUp Connection Properties.  This will greatly speed your connection to your ISP, and remove a possible security risk to your LAN.  This only needs to be checked if you are sharing Files and Printers on your ISP's network... pretty unlikely!

  5. IMPORTANT! Pay attention to Client (Shared) 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

  1.  Select Microsoft and TCP/IP as shown below

Select Network Protocol - TCP/IP

  1. 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 (LAN) NIC in the Sharing Computer

Enter the following information into your TCP/IP Control panel for the 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 them.

  • 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 - Dialup

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 modem's IP.   This is the second network that connects to your soon-to-be shared computer, and is a subnet of your dial-up ISP. You first need to go on-line before you perform this next check.  So connect to your ISP as you normally do first.

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

You can use the winipcfg command to find out your temporary IP address.  An example winipcfg screen is shown below.  Make sure that you set the drop-down selection box to "PPP Adapter".

You need to be on-line to see this information.

winipcfg - Dial-up

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 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 from your Client computers. 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- Dial-up

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

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.

If you'd like to see what I recommend, check this page.

Sharing Method Selection Diagram - Dialup

Startside ] Opp ] [Søk]

Copyright © 2002 Øyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  13 januar 2019

  Interested in this stuff? Please write to:

HTML Counter            stats counter