Home and small office networking components overview

Network Setup Wizard

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure. 

With Windows XP, setting up your home or small office network is greatly simplified with the Network Setup Wizard. After the network hardware is installed and your computers are connected together, run the Network Setup Wizard If you are using an Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) host computer, the wizard is first run on this computer. During the wizard, you choose which connection is your Internet connection, and then the wizard enables Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and Internet Connection Firewall (ICF). This computer becomes the ICS host computer and directs Internet traffic to the rest of the computers on your network. After running the Network Setup Wizard on the ICS host computer, run the wizard on the rest of the computers on the network. These are called the client computers. After you answer some basic questions, the wizard configures the computers to operate correctly on the network.

New Connection Wizard

With the Windows XP New Connection Wizard, you can easily create Internet, dial-up, virtual private networking (VPN), incoming, and direct connections.

The New Connection Wizard replaces the Internet Connection Wizard, found in earlier versions of Windows. Creating a connection to the Internet using your dial-up, DSL, or cable modem is simplified using the New Connection Wizard.

To create a new connection, open Network Connections Then, under Network Tasks, click Create a new connection. The wizard guides you through creating the connection.

Local area connections are automatically created when a network adapter is installed in the computer. After installing the network adapter, you can configure it to access the Internet or communicate with your home or small office network. For more information, see To make a local area connection

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) connects multiple computers to the Internet using a single Internet connection. One computer, called the ICS host, connects directly to the Internet and shares its connection with the rest of the computers on the network. The client computers rely on the ICS host computer to provide access to the Internet. Security is enhanced when ICS is enabled because only the ICS host computer is visible to the Internet. Any communication from client computers to the Internet must pass through the ICS host, a process that keeps the addresses of client computers hidden from the Internet. Client computers are protected because they cannot be seen from outside the network. Only the computer running ICS is seen from the public side.

In addition, the ICS host computer manages network addressing. The ICS host computer assigns itself a permanent address and provides Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to ICS clients, assigning a unique address to each ICS client and, therefore, providing a way for computers to communicate with other computers on the network.

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF)

Windows XP  offers small networks that are connected to the Internet the added security of firewall protection. Internet Connection Firewall protects the computer on which it is enabled. In most home or small office networks this will be the ICS host computer, but the firewall can be enabled on any Internet connection. The firewall checks all communications that cross the connection between the Internet and your computer and is selective about what information is received. Internet Connection Firewall protects this computer by allowing or denying communications that are addressed to it.

Network Bridge

Network Bridge simplifies the setup and configuration of small networks that consist of mixed network media types, such as Ethernet, home phoneline network adapter (HPNA), wireless, and IEEE 1394 devices. Each media type is its own network segment. You can create a single subnet for the entire home or small office network by using Network Bridge across mixed media segments. Network Bridge offers increased flexibility by allowing a mixture of media types and by automating the difficult configurations that are normally associated with mixed media networks.

When the Network Setup Wizard is run, it detects if there are multiple network adapters installed in the computer. It then asks if you want to create the Network Bridge. Network adapters that are connected to the Internet, such as an Ethernet adapter connected to an external DSL or cable modem, should not be added to the Network Bridge.

ICS Discovery and Control

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) provides Discovery and Control as a method that allows ICS clients remote access to information about the networks Internet connection. ICS Discovery and Control uses Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). ICS clients can discover the ICS host, control the connection status of the ICS host to the Internet service provider (ISP), and view basic statistical information about the Internet connection.


To start the Network Setup Wizard, click Start, click Control Panel, click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Network Connections. Under Common Tasks, click Network Setup Wizard

Internet Connection Firewall overview

Network Bridge overview

Home and small office networking overview

Internet Connection Sharing overview

Choosing your Internet Connection Sharing host computer

Using a mixed network environment

© 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Contact Us |Terms of Use |Trademarks |Privacy & Cookies