December 1998--I have found
something worse than arguing over the TV remote, the "good" spot on
the couch to relax in, or any other commodity: high-speed Internet
Once you have experienced a high-speed connection,
you never want to go back. So how do you determine who gets the
access and at what time? That's a tough question. One way to bypass
this question completely is to install software that allows all
users connected to a LAN to use the same connection at the same
time. This month, we'll examine how to achieve that goal using
Windows 95 or Windows 98.
There are a number of alternatives to choose from:
Proxy Servers (Wingate), modem
sharing software, and NAT gateways (Sygate).
I had the opportunity to look at Wingate version 2.1d and Sygate
Version 1.2 and 2.0.
My cable company recommended Wingate as the way to
have more than one computer share the same IP address. At the time I
asked, multiple IP addresses for one cable modem were not possible
with my cable company. In fact, some cable companies may require
that you purchase a separate IP address for each machine that will
access the Internet via the cable modem.
But I digress. I downloaded Wingate and began
reading through the installation/configuration information. It
became obvious there was going to bemuch configuration needed for
the computer connected to the cable modem and the applications that
would use this connection. After much reading, I concluded this was
complexity beyond my scope.
A friend recommended I look at Sygate. I visited
their site, downloaded their version 1.2 evaluation software (it
allows you to transfer up to 75MB of data over the connection), and
scanned their short, page installation instructions. Most of the
instructions dealt with configuring the IP addresses of the other
computers connected to the Net. Version 2.0 has added a "Mini-DHCP"
server, which eliminates the need for most of the manual IP address
configuration, making the installation process even simpler. Once
the IP addresses were configured and verified (the instructions were
very clear on how to do this), it was a matter of installing the
software. The software immediately recognized if it was running on
the computer connected to the cable modem or on one of the other
computers on the LAN. It doesn't get much simpler than this.
Once the software was installed, all Internet
applications recognized the connection and were available for use.
No manual configuration/intervention was necessary, as it was
according to Wingate's documentation. (Note: According to Wingate's
Web site, a new version of their software should be released soon
that may address some of these configuration issues. I have not seen
the new version yet).
One additional note: In order for this type of
connection to work, two separate Network Interface Cards (NIC) must
be installed in the computer that's connected to cable modem. This
separates the LAN from the Internet connection for security
purposes. It sounds complex, but it really isn't. Both cards need to
have TCP/IP bound to them using the Control Panel Network control.
Your cable company will supply the information needed for the cable
modem and Sygate supplies the information needed for the other NIC.
It took about less than 10 minutes to configure everything.
If you are considering high-speed Internet access
and would like to have all the users on your LAN to have access to
this connection, I recommend you take a look at the products I have
discussed. My personal favorite is Sygate, because of its simple