View Full Version : Laptop / broadband sharing
29th Mar 2004, 10:15 am
Some advice please,
I am thinking of buying a laptop and I want it to share my existing BT broadband connection that I have to my desktop PC.
I want the laptop to connect to the broadband connection without wires, so I imagine I need some kind of splitter on the broadband so it continues to serve my desktop but also transmits wirelessly to the laptop. The laptop will need a card or something to pick up the signal.
Does this make sense? If so can you guys tell me what I need to buy / ask for.
Also is BT's contract likely to forbid sharing? Even if I'm sharing with myself? Will they ever know?
Advice greatly appreciated!
29th Mar 2004, 03:03 pm
is your broadband via a USB modem or ADSL router / modem? If you've a USB modem then I guess you could just put a wireless network card in your desktop, a wireless card in your laptop and set up a share via Internet Connection Sharing. Trouble is your desktop machine will always need to be on to perform routing duties (though there's no way BT will know you're sharing).
If you have an external ADSL router then you can add wireless functionality to it with a wireless access point. That will plug into the router and add wireless connectivity to it. Will need a wireless card in your notebook, too. You can leave your desktop hardwired to it, but roam around the house with your wireless enabled notebook.
I have an all in one wireless ADSL router modem which plugs right into my adsl phone socket and provides wired and wireless access. Cost about £100. If BT specifically say you can't use a router to share your connection then its possible for them to sniff the line and find you out.
its great having a wireless notebook in the living room though...and now i'm thinking about getting one of these (http://www.slimdevices.com/)
29th Mar 2004, 03:57 pm
Hi Phil, thanks for the reply.
I'm not sure what set up I have really! I got broadband in the early days when a BT engineer had to come and install it, rather than the self-installs you get today.
I have an ADSL / phone socket coming out the wall, and the ADSL wire runs into the back of an Alcatel USB Speed Touch modem then on into the computer's USB port.
I will speak to BT about their terms - I can understand them objecting to me sharing my connection with a neighbour, but surely what I do with my bandwidth within my home is up to me.
From what I describe do you think I can split the signal at the wall socket so my desktop gets the wire and laptop gets wireless?
29th Mar 2004, 04:22 pm
you could split the signal coming into the wall with a router, then connect all your devices to that. the router could be a standalone unit on its own (like my Belkin unit) that you connect to wirelessly or with a network cable.
Alternatively (and more cheaply) you can turn your desktop machine into a router and let the laptop connect to that. There's software built into windows called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) that performs routing tasks and won't really slow down normal operations on that pc. All you need to do then is to network your laptop and desktop. If your desktop is running as a router and your laptop can see the desktop, then your laptop can share the broadband modem connection.
31st Mar 2004, 07:20 am
I've been doing some research and have narrowed it down to a choice of 2 laptops - can you have a look at them and see if they are suitable to use in a wireless home network with internet sharing? I want to keep the cost down, as after all this is a "second" computer.
1. Dell Inspiron 510m (http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_510m?c=uk&l=en&s=dhs) - slightly more expensive then I wanted but has received great reviews. £879
2. Tiny Mediabook M2400 (http://www.tiny.com/packages.php?prodid=7737) - good price but not sure about Tiny's reputation or build quality. £669
Are their specs comparable and both OK for my wireless needs?
31st Mar 2004, 02:08 pm
I'd have to say go for the Dell. Both machines would work fine on your WiFi, though I've always found Dell to be particularly reliable and well built.
The Dell you refer to also has a 3 year next day onsite support - this is a very extensive cover, and though you could save around £200 buy choosing not to have it, you'll be thankful of it if your machine goes wrong the day before a big hand in.
You might find it useful to have XP Pro rather than Home. Amongst other things Pro includes IIS which is obviously helpful on this course.
Also i'd be inclined to upgrade the wireless card to the Dell TrueMobile™ 1300 Wireless (802.11b/g). The G means it's 54Mb/s as opposed to b's 11. Although your ADSL won't be as fast as either of these, a tenner's not much to pay for future proofing yourself (and it will mean faster transfers with your desktop).
chipping it up to 512Mb Ram would help too if you can still afford it.....
don't forget you'll still need to WiFi enable your existing desktop, too.
...of course you could always get a WiFi'd iBook for around £900 all in
31st Mar 2004, 07:30 pm
Thanks Phil, I had reached the same conclusion.
Today I went the the Tiny shop in Tunbridge Wells (now called The Computer World). The assistant knew very little and the best he could do was give me their latest catalogue to browse. So I ruled them out.
My current desktop is a new Dell (bought Nov 03) - my previous desktop was a Dell which was used every day from 1998 to Nov 03 with no problems. I use Dells at work, they are very reliable.
I will ditch the 3 year warranty in favour of 1 year RTB. I'll do the wi-fi upgrade but probably not upgrade the memory right now.
My only hesitation now is that it is awfully extravagant, as I already have a 2.8 Ghz P4 Dell desktop with all the latest stuff on it, and the laptop is more expensive that the desktop was!
But we could do with being a "2 computer household"!
I'll let you know if I take the plunge.
Thanks for your help.
1st Apr 2004, 11:50 am
It's ordered. There's a new deal from today which meant delivery was free.
I ordered the upgraded wireless card and 512 MB memory. I also got them to give me a discount as the system came with a printer which I don't want, so was quite happy with the deal.
8th Apr 2004, 09:55 am
The laptop arrived yesterday and it's superb.
Now, to get me up and running with wireless internet and network, what exactly do I need to buy?
I want a set up like this:
- a wireless network so the desktop and laptop can communicate and share files.
- wireless broadband (I have ADSL) internet connection to the laptop AND desktop if possible
- both computers to work independently of each other - ie I can use laptop only and still get internet connection
I assume I will need some kind of router at the wall, and a wireless card for the desktop (the laptop's is built in I assume).
The laptop has 802.11G capability, so the router and desktop card will need it to.
Is all this possible and if so what do I need!?
Thanks so much,
11th Apr 2004, 08:08 am
Just bringing up the post in case Phil misses it, thanks.
11th Apr 2004, 12:12 pm
the cheapest thing to do would be to nip down to PC world and get a wireless card for your desktop. There's some on sale at the moment for £35, the Belkin internal PCI. Alternatively you could get a USB wireless adapter which is more portable. That could be all you need.
Put the wirless card in your desktop and follow the instructions to set it up. Once it's going (there'll be a little icon in the bottom left corner of your screen) set up the laptop's wireless too. Your machines ought now to be able to see each other peer to peer. At this point I'd run the Internet Connection Sharing wizard. In XP you've got this Internet Connection Sharing tool, which will spot your broadband connection then share it to any other machines in the network (basically turning your desktop into a router). ICS will tell you what changes you need to make to your laptop's network settings (probably just setting the default gateway address to point to your desktop). If all goes well, that's your wireless internet set up. File sharing *can* be a bit more fiddly - it seems either to work straight off, or you have to fiddle about for ages with users, permissions, and firewall settings and stuff.
When setting up the wireless in the first place I'd leave off all security stuff like firewalls and encryption, but do implement it once stuff is working.
Doing it this way means your PC will need to be on for the laptop to access the net. If you want an independant router (and if BT allow it) then you'd need to have an adsl modem, a router and a wireless access point. You can buy these separately and plug them all together, or there's a belkin all in one thing for about £110. This has four wired ports too so you could plug the desktop straight into it without the need to buy a wirelss adapter. Not sure if there's a wireless access point available that you could plug your usb modem into. Probably.
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