Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing



WinXP LogoInternet
Connection Sharing (ICS) enables a Windows computer to share its
Internet connection with computers on local area networks. It’s
been around since Windows 98 SE, and with the launch of Windows
XP, it’s only gotten better.

Windows XP ICS has some notable advantages over the versions of
ICS in Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Me:

  • It’s easier
    to set up
    . There’s no software to install, and it doesn’t
    add any network components or protocols.
  • It’s much
    more reliable and much less likely to cause network problems.
  • You can create
    a Network Bridge connecting
    two or more local area networks and share the Internet connection
    with the computers on all of them. This is especially useful if
    your XP computer is connected to both a wired and wireless network.
  • ICS
    client computers can use XP’s
    Internet Gateway
    to monitor and control the server
    computer’s Internet connection. If you have a dial-up
    connection, you can connect and disconnect when deciding
    whether to enable ICS.

However, XP ICS is missing some features of those earlier
versions. You can’t disable the DHCP server, change the
server computer’s IP address, or change the range of addresses
allocated by the DHCP server.

Consider these points when deciding whether to enable ICS.

WARNING #1: When you enable ICS, the
network adapter connected to the local area network is assigned
a static IP address of 192.168.0.1. The client computers are assigned
other IP addresses in the 192.168.0.x range. These addresses may
not be compatible with an existing network

WARNING #2: Don’t enable ICS if any
computer in your network is configured as a domain controller, DHCP
server, or DNS server. Don’t enable it if another computer is running
ICS or Network Address Translation (NAT).

WARNING #3: To enable ICS, you must
be logged on as a user that is a member of the Administrators group.

WARNING #4: If you establish a Virtual
Private Networking (VPN) connection while sharing a different connection,
the client computers won’t be able to access the Internet until
the VPN connection is ended.

Preparing for ICS

The ICS server computer must have two network connections: one
for the Internet, and one for the local area network. The Internet
connection may be a dial-up (PPP or ISDN), cable modem, DSL, or
other broadband Ethernet connection. The LAN connection may be a
wired, wireless, or even a USB Ethernet connection. Before enabling
ICS:

  • Set
    up your Internet connection
    and test it so that you
    know you can connect to the Internet.

  • Decide
    whether to allow client computers to control the server’s
    Internet connection using the Internet
    Gateway
    . This feature is automatically available
    on clients running Windows XP. On clients running Windows
    98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Me, you must
    run XP’s Network Setup Wizard
    to enable the gateway. If you have a Windows XP CD-ROM,
    you can run the Wizard from it. Otherwise, create a network
    setup disk containing the Wizard files.

Enabling ICS on the Server Computer

You can enable ICS either manually or by using XP’s Network
Setup Wizard
.

To use the Wizard, see our page on Server
Setup Using the Network Setup Wizard
. You must use this
method if you need to create a network setup disk.

You can also enable ICS manually for
a dial-up Internet connection
or enable ICS manually
for a broadband Internet connection
.

Configuring ICS Client Computers

Now configure the other networked computers as ICS clients. Follow
these links for computers running Windows
95
or Windows
2000 Professional
. For Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition,
Windows Me, or Windows XP, stay with these instructions for XP
Client Wizard.


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