Wireless connection between PC and laptop

  Jackcoms 09:07 21 Jun 2005

I'm completely new to network/wireless, so please bear with me.

Our main computer is a PC downstairs running XP SP2 with 2 spare USB ports. It has a standard 2MB BB connection (using wires, NOT wireless).

We have just purchased a new Dell Inspiron laptop, also with XP SP2, and I want to use the laptop to 'piggyback' wirelessly off the existing BB connection.

The laptop is equipped with a 802.11a/b/g card but the PC has no wireless capability at all.

What piece of kit do I need to plug in to the PC to get it to 'talk' to the laptop and share the BB connection? I'm only interested in sharing the BB connection between the 2 machines, I'm NOT bothered about file sharing.

  John-259217 12:33 21 Jun 2005

What you require is a wireless router.

You may also need an ethernet adapter for your main PC if it does not have one already.

Different routers are used depending on which type of broadband you have.

For ADSL they are available with built in modems which would replace an existing one connected to the PC via USB. (I`ve not come across any routers with USB connections hence the requirement for an ethernet adapter on your desktop.

Assuming the simplest scenario of a cable modem connected to the PC via ethernet, the router would need the existing cable from the modem plugged into a port marked WAN and a new cable connected from the PC to a port marked LAN (usually several available for more than one wired PC connection).

You would then enter your ISP account details into the routers inbuilt software.

The router will now appear to the cable modem exactly as your PC did running your ISP`s software. It will pass requests from any computers connected to it either, wired or wireless, invisibly and does not require your main computer to be on when the laptop needs internet access.

If you post more details on your current broadband set-up I could be more specific but you probably get the idea.


  mgmcc 13:57 21 Jun 2005

To create a wireless network for Internet access and File/Printer sharing, you have essentially two options:

1) Install a Wireless Network Adapter in each PC and create an “Ad Hoc” Wireless Network. This is a network in which the two PCs talk directly with one another, rather than via a Wireless Access Point. “Internet Connection Sharing” is then enabled on the actual Internet connection in the “host” PC and the “client” PC will have Internet access provided the “host” is running and online.

2) The preferred option for connecting more than computer is to use a broadband Router and, with ADSL, this should be a combined “Router/ADSL Modem”. This is an ”Infrastructure” wireless network because the connected PCs communicate via the router’s Wireless Access Point. Again, a wireless adapter is installed in any PC that needs to connect wirelessly, but often the main PC is close enough to the router for it to use a “wired” connection with only the remote PC connecting wirelessly.

With “Internet Connection Sharing” under option (1), when you enable this on the Internet connection, it automatically configures the Local Area Connection with the IP address and subnet mask However, as you will be using a WiFi adapter, you want this address to be allocated to it, rather than a “wired” Ethernet adapter if you have one fitted, so the Local Area Connection should be disabled before setting up “Internet Connection Sharing”. Also, if you run the Zone Alarm firewall in your “host” PC, the Internet Zone Security level must be reduced from High to Medium or “ICS” traffic will be blocked.

With a router, as in option (2), it is the router which connects directly to the ISP and not one of the connected PCs. The router in turn allocates the IP addresses to the PCs, using one of the address ranges reserved for Local Area Networks, usually 192.168.xxx.xxx

Either of these options will additionally allow you to run File and/or Printer Sharing wirelessly across the network.

If you are running software firewalls, the IP addresses of the networked PCs must be put into its "trusted" area to allow them to communicate with one another.

  Jackcoms 14:00 21 Jun 2005

Current BB setup is standard ADSL down the 'phone line.

  mgmcc 14:00 21 Jun 2005

...and the damned forum software lost all of the paragraph formatting from that posting!


  John-259217 14:57 21 Jun 2005

Ok, well my suggestion would be a wireless router with built-in ADSL modem.

This will replace your existing modem entirely.

Connections will be one telephone line wire to your phone socket and an ethernet connection to your main PC plus a mains power adapter.

If your PC does not have an ethernet port available you will need to add one, ideally with a PCI adapter card, but USB to ethernet adapters are available if you don`t fancy the idea of opening up your PC or have no free slots (the PCI card is the better choice).

The laptop already has all it needs to connect to the router wirelessly.

The router/modem will handle assigning network addresses to wired and wireless clients and they are usually fairly simple to set up.

It may be worth checking with your ISP first just in case they have any specific software connection requirements that would prevent normal routers working (possible but unlikely).

They may also offer a suitable router/modem themselves which they are prepared to support if you have difficulties with the set-up.

I don`t recommend any particular maker myself as I find them all pretty similar but if you have one you like have a look at what they offer.

mgmcc covers things in more detail above, including the other option of ICS.

Although this is the cheaper option requiring simpler hardware, it can be fiddly to set-up and, crucially in my view, it requires the main PC to be on whenever you want to access the internet from the laptop. A real pain if you just want a quick google but have to fire the desktop up first!

Overall I think mgmcc and I would say the modem/router is the preferred choice.

  Jackcoms 19:48 21 Jun 2005

Thank you all.

  Taff36 08:20 23 Jun 2005

click here for recommendations. By the way Diodorus is doing the same.

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