Win98 Internet Connection Sharing
If you're using Windows 98 Second Edition on your home or small office network, you can now easily share Internet access across your network with the new Internet Connection Sharing feature. In this article, I'll show you step by step how to set up and configure the new Internet Connection Sharing feature on a network. As I do, I'll explain the technology that makes this feature work.
Internet Connection Overview
To begin with, you need to have a basic understanding of what actually goes on behind the scenes when you connect to the Internet through your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Having this foundation will help you to understand the Internet Connection Sharing feature as you install, configure, and use it.
When your computer dials an ISP and makes a connection, the ISP's server assigns your computer an IP address. This unique address is kind of like a conference badge that identifies your computer and permits it to access and communicate with other computers on the Internet. Without this IP address, your computer can't access the Internet.
The Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows 98 allows one computer to establish a connection to the Internet through the ISP and receive a unique IP address. This computer, known as the Connection Sharing computer, then shares this single IP address with the other computers on a network. When the other computers, known as clients, borrow this IP address, they can then use it to access the Internet over your home network without having a direct connection to the Internet or their own IP addresses.
Before you I show how to install the Internet Connection Sharing feature, you need to make sure that all your computers meet certain requirements. Of course, each computer must have a network card installed in it and be connected to the home network.
The computer that you want to set up as the Connection Sharing computer must already be configured to connect to the Internet through an ISP. The client computers must be running either Windows 98 or Windows 95. Each client computer must also be using version 3.0 or later of either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Furthermore, the client computers must have the TCP/IP network protocol installed. (If you need assistance installing the TCP/IP network protocol, point your browser to the article "To install a network protocol" on Microsoft's Web site.)
Installing the Internet Connection Sharing Feature
Installing Windows 98's Internet Connection Sharing feature is a breeze. On the computer that you've chosen to act as the Connection Sharing computer, insert your Windows 98 Second Edition CD. When you see the AutoStart screen, select the Add/Remove link. You'll then see the Windows Setup tab in the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box. Now, scroll through the Components list, select the Internet Tools component, and click the Details button. When you see the Internet Tools dialog box, select the Internet Connection Sharing check box.
To continue, click OK twice—once to close the Internet Tools dialog box and once to close the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box. Setup will then install the Internet Connection Sharing feature.
The Internet Connection Sharing Wizard
When Setup finishes installing the software on your Connection Sharing computer it launches the Internet Connection Sharing wizard, which will guide you through the process of the creating the Client Configuration Disk. You'll use this disk to reconfigure the browsers on the client computers on your home network to communicate with the Connection Sharing computer.
The first screen in the Internet Connection Sharing wizard is the introductory screen and contains a few instructions that you should read over before you proceed. When you click the Next button, the Internet Connection Sharing wizard will inform you that it's now ready to create the Client Configuration Disk.
When you click Next, you'll be prompted to label a floppy disk and insert it into your computer's floppy disk drive. Once you click OK, the Internet Connection Sharing wizard will create the Client Configuration Disk.
After the wizard creates the disk, it prompts you to remove the disk and click OK. You'll then click Finish to complete the wizard. At this point, you'll be prompted to restart your computer.
Setting Up Your Clients
You'll now need to go to each of the client computers on your network and make sure that the TCP/IP settings for the network cards are configured correctly. To begin, open the Control Panel and double-click on the Network icon. When you see the Network dialog box, scroll through the list of components and select the TCP/IP component that's connected, or bound, directly to your network card.
For example, suppose that you have an Intel EtherExpress network card in one of your client computers. If so, you'd select the TCP/IP component that's bound to the network card.Then click the Properties button.
When you see the TCP/IP Properties dialog box you'll need to make sure that the TCP/IP settings are correctly configured. On the IP address tab, make sure that the Obtain An IP Address Automatically check box is selected. Then, click the WINS Configuration tab and make sure that the Use DHCP For WINS Resolution check box is selected. Next, click the Gateway tab and make sure that the Installed Gateways list box is empty. Now, select the DNS Configuration tab and make sure that the Disable DNS option is selected.
To complete the operation, click OK twice—once to close the TCP/IP Properties dialog box and once to close the Network dialog box. You may then be prompted to restart your computer. (If you want more information about the settings in the TCP/IP Properties dialog box, point your browser to the article "TCP/IP Options dialog box" on Microsoft's Web site.)
Running the Browser Connection Setup Wizard
After you've made sure that the TCP/IP settings are correctly configured on all your client computers, you'll then run the Browser Connection Setup wizard on each client computer on your home network. To begin, insert the Client Configuration Disk into the floppy disk drive and access the Run dialog box from the Start menu. Then, type A:\Icsclset.exe in the Open text box and click OK.
In a moment, you'll see the Browser Connection Setup wizard's introductory screen, which contains a few instructions that you should read over before you proceed. The most important instruction here is to make sure that the Connection Sharing computer is already connected to the Internet.
When you click the Next button, the Browser Connection Setup wizard will inform you that it will now check and change your browser's connection settings. To continue, simply click the Next button.
You'll then see the final screen in the Browser Connection Setup wizard. You can then choose to immediately connect to the Internet through the Connection Sharing computer when you click Finish. As soon as you do, the browser on your client computer will launch, connect to the Internet through the Connection Sharing computer and open the home page.
From this point on, you can simultaneously access the Internet from all the computers on your network. To do so, just connect the Connection Sharing computer to the Internet and then launch the browser on the client computer.