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:

Sharing one Internet connection with all the computers on your network can reduce the cost of connecting to the Internet and allows all the computers on your network to be online at the same time.

Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing provides one point of security for your network. Your home or small office network is protected from intrusions from the Internet.

If your Windows XP computer has different types of network adapters installed in it, you can use the Network Bridge to provide automatic configuration of your network without having to manually configure the network adapters to communicate with each other.

Utilizing Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) in your home or small office. With UPnP you can control your Internet connection from anywhere in your home or small office.

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.

Residential gateway

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:

Appears as a computer on the Internet, hiding the computers in your home or small office network.

Shares one Internet connection with all the computers in your network.

One computer does not have to be on all the time to provide Internet connectivity.

Utilizing Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) in your home or small office. With UPnP you can control your Internet connection from anywhere in your home or small office.

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:

Does not require one computer to be on all the time to access the Internet.

The disadvantages of setting up your network using this network configuration are:

Security must be maintained on each computer in your network. The computers on the network running Windows XP can enable Internet Connection Firewall on each connection to the network hub. For computers running earlier versions of Windows, another firewall is recommended.

If Internet Connection Firewall or another firewall is not enabled on each Internet connection, files and folders that are shared can be seen on the Internet.

If you are using Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall or another firewall on each Internet connection, it might block file and printer sharing between each computer in your network.

Other computers and devices that utilize Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) cannot be used on the network.

Certain network configurations could prevent file and printer sharing from working on your network.

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.

Choosing your Internet Connection Sharing host computer

Connecting your computers together

Network Setup Wizard overview

Start the Network Setup Wizard

Internet Connection Sharing overview

Add a network component

Public and private network connections

Enable IPX/SPX file and print sharing on Windows 2000

Enable IPX/SPX file and printer sharing on Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition



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