Network configurations overview
There are many different ways you can set up your home or small office network. You can use Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), connect your computers and DSL or cable modem directly to an Ethernet hub, or use a residential gateway.
Using Internet Connection Sharing
To take advantage of the security features of Windows XP, it is recommended that you use a configuration like this illustration of an Ethernet network. You can create a home or small office network using this configuration with a home phoneline network adapter (HPNA) or a wireless network adapter. In this network configuration, one computer is the ICS host computer and shares its Internet connection. Internet communication to and from the computers in your network go through the ICS host computer.
The advantages of this type of network configuration are:
Setting up your home or small office network using this configuration allows you to create a secure network using a combination of Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing and Internet Connection Firewall and by having separate public and private network connections. In addition, you can utilize file and printer sharing without worrying if your private files can be seen on the Internet.
The disadvantage of setting up your network using this configuration is that the ICS host computer must be on for the other computers to access the Internet.
A residential gateway is a hardware device that connects the home or small office network to the Internet. Similar to Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing, the gateway allows you to share a DSL or cable modem Internet connection with all of the computers in your home or small office network. The residential gateway sits between your DSL or cable modem and home or small office network.
The advantages of using a residential gateway are:
The disadvantage of using a residential gateway is the additional cost of the hardware.
Individual Internet connections
If you have an external DSL or cable modem, you can connect it to an Ethernet network hub and also connect your computers to the Ethernet hub as this illustration shows. Each computer in the network has a direct connection to the Internet through the network hub.
The advantages of setting up your network in this configuration are:
The disadvantages of setting up your network using this network configuration are:
For file and printer sharing using this configuration, it is recommended that you install a network protocol that is not used on the Internet, such as IPX/SPX, and disable file and print sharing on TCP/IP For more information about IPX/SPX, see IPX To install and enable file and printer sharing using the IPX/SPX protocol, see To enable file and print sharing on the IPX/SPX protocol
For a secure home or small office network, it is recommended that you configure your network to take advantage of Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing and Internet Connection Firewall or to use a residential gateway.