BASIC NETWORK SHARING1. The non-shared connection
We encourage you to search some of the setups described by users of
DSLreports. The search box below comes from the Share
Tool page: search on ISP name and/or equipment name and/or operating system.
You'll find some real-life examples of these and far more complex and
interesting setups.. plus you can contact the owner to ask questions or compare
|Simple to setup||Software security required|
|supported by every ISP||Connection is not shared|
|Easy to setup||Connection is not shared|
|Full Security||Dedicated firewalls are expensive|
|Full access to Internet||extra IPs cost money|
|Easy to setup||software security required|
|One box solution||Expensive|
|Hub is usually only 10mbit|
|Simple to setup||ISP may not support this|
|Unlimited sharing||Breaks some applications|
|Basic security||Gateway PC is not protected|
|Two NICs required|
|cheap||Loss of flexibility|
|NIC only needed for sharing||Possible performance problems|
|Works with many providers||Ext. DSL modem reqd|
|Easy to setup|
|Unproven product category|
(thanks to hfb1217 for corrections).
My wife has little patience for my continuing experimentation with PC software and the attendant rebooting so I thought the best thing to do was get a hardware router. My first try was the Linksys BEFSR41, a 4-port router. After running up the learning curve, I got it working satisfactorily. Of course I suffered a loss in download speed, from 4.4 Mbps to 2.6 Mbps but I figured that the independence of connection was worth it. We both had independent connections, I could reboot until the cows came home and my wife's connection was always there. We use ICQ for round-robin family chats and it was shaky with Linky, so we just used one PC connection at a time.
Then came the "troubles". I picked up an Intel Video Phone, with the long-term goal of keeping tabs on my granddaughter on the east coast. Shouldn't be too tough, say I. After installing the video phone software on Max, no go. Would get a video connection but no audio connection with my neighbor, who was also on Sprint Broadband. All worked fine if the router was out of the picture and Max was directly connected to the Sprint broadband modem. First thing tried was to put Max on the DMZ. I experimented with DHCP, manually set IP's, and upgraded firmware to 1.33.1 and a host of other settings without success. After a while, I found out that there is some belief that the Linky doesn't handle UDP transparency through the DMZ. This is consistent with no audio channel, as it is sent on a UDP port. This was particularly frustrating, since the Linksys manual recommended using the DMZ port for applications such as "gaming and video conferencing".
This now became a quest! I read everything I could about video conferencing. I learned that the protocol is called H.323 and it is *very* demanding on routers and almost impossible to get through a NAT (Network Address Translation) router. It turns out that it is a streaming protocol and any packet filtering can cause problems. It was obvious that Linky was not up to the task. The search for an economical alternative was on!
There were a lot of favorable comments about the Netgear RT314 so I asked Netgear technical support if the RT314 supported video conferencing and was assured it did. When I received the RT314, I installed it with high hopes. The Download speeds were a bit better than Linky, up to 3 Mbps. Still below the raw 4.4 Mbps but pretty good. Unfortunately video conferencing was still no go. Email conversations with Netgear technical support were next to useless. There seemed to be little understanding of video conferencing requirements. After trying the RT314 equivalent of DMZ, setting Max's IP address as the default IP in menu 15, there was still no success. Everything else seemed to work well, browsing, email, etc. Also, unlike Linky, both Max and 770 could simultaneously access and file transfer via ICQ2000a. There seemed to be better application tunneling in the RT314. So, aside from the video conferencing and lack of responsive technical support, the RT314 was pretty good. But still no video conferencing. Since the RT314 has a lot of filtering options, I suspected this might have been the problem.
As a last resort, I decided to try Sygate, a software Internet connection sharing solution (www.sybergen.com). It is like Windows 98 SE Internet Connection Sharing on steroids. It looked like it had a lot of capability and the fact that there was a 30-day trial encouraged me to give it a try. I removed the router, went back to my pokey 10bastT hub and added a second NIC to Max, who was about to take on Sygate server duties.
Probably the trickiest part of the installation was installing two network cards in one machine, Max. Since both were 3Com 3C905's, I expected a problem, at least according to some reports on www.practicallynetworked.com. I followed the 3Com manual to the letter and both cards installed cleanly. I insured both cards had their own IRQ. I removed Netbeui binding from the Internet card. Did a renew/release on winipcfg and voila, we were on-line!
The first card was connected to the Internet; the second card was connected to the LAN with a fixed IP of 192.168.0.1. The other laptops were manually configured to their own 192.168 addresses. Sygate 4.0 build 693 was installed on Max as server. Client software was installed on the laptops. Additionally, Sygate Secure Desktop 2.1 build 464 replaced ZoneAlarm on Max. ZoneAlarm was removed from the clients.
It works, it all works! With SSD in medium security, we score 0 on dslreports security scan. All ports are reported as stealth on www.grc.com. This is both from client and server. Probably makes sense, since SSD binds to the Internet NIC. Additionally, SSD does a good job of logging unauthorized attempts to connect to Max. My download speed is back to 4.4 Mbps! ICQ2000a works from Max (server) and 770 (client). VIDEO CONFERENCING WORKS FROM MAX!! Video and audio works completely satisfactorily. With the latest Intel software, I can take advantage of the high-speed connection for true streaming video that is very sharp and very smooth. The fact that Max is the server and has a direct connection to the Internet is key to having a working Video Phone. In essence, it doesn't have to go through any NAT! The firewall software, SSD, seems to allow the necessary dynamic port assignments to work and doesn't block any needed ports or perform any filtering.
For my needs, a software solution works better than a hardware one! (This kinda hurts, after a 30 plus year in hardware engineering!) But, the solution is the thing. I'm happy with the Sygate offering. It lists at around $40, compared to $150 or so for hardware routers. (The second NIC came with the Sprint installation.) Of course, my wife still has to deal with my ongoing reboots, and the attendant loss of her Internet connection. So my workaround for that is to do my tinkering when she isn't on. Not a complete solution, but...
Hope this helps in your search for your home networking solution!
PS In case you're interested, here are some links that I found helpful in understanding video conferencing:
Video Conferencing across Firewalls
http://developer.intel.com/support/videophone/trial21/h323_wpr.htm Getting H.323 through firewalls
http://www.meetingbywire.com/Firewalls.htm NetMeeting and Firewalls