Can I connect more than one computer to my Cable Modem?

Yes. One of the advantages of the cable modem is that you can connect more than one computer to use your Internet connection. You have several different ways to set up your computers.

Overview

This article does not address setting up a network, just allowing different computers in your home to share the Internet access at the same time. Some of the most common ways are:

  • Ethernet Cable using a Router (GCI Recommended): Ethernet cable can pass data traffic at high speeds. The cable is commonly called Cat 5 cable and it is rounder, thicker and sturdier than phone cable. Bending or crimping may damage the cable. It has a wider plug than a phone cable, called an RJ45 jack, which plugs into the Ethernet cards. ¬†Instructions here.
  • Ethernet Cable using a Hub: Same as above, except GCI recommends using a router instead of a hub for increased security. Instructions¬†here.
  • Wireless Connection using a Router (also GCI Recommended): Parts to set up a wireless network are more expensive, but you do not need cable running to each computer. This type of set up allows for more freedom around a home. Instructions¬†here.

There are advantages and disadvantage to each method used to connect multiple computers and you need to determine which method works the best and the easiest for you.

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Ethernet Connection

Router

This set up uses an Ethernet router and cable physically connected between each computer and the router. This set up is inexpensive, and works best if all of the computers, the router and the cable modem are all located in a close area.

To set this up, you will require:

  • A router,
  • A network interface card (NIC) in each computer,
  • and Ethernet cable (Commonly called Cat 5 cable).

The diagram below shows how to set up this type of configuration.

 

GCI recommends you purchase and use a router instead of a hub for several reasons.

  1. Routers will provide you increased security.
  2. A router is a piece of hard ware with a built in fire wall.
  3. Routers are easy to set up and provide you greater flexibility if you decide to set up a network.
  4. The prices of routers have decreased significantly and are no longer prohibitive for most people.

Although GCI suggests using a router and/or firewall, these are not supported by GCI Internet Technical Support except as provided on these pages. Please contact your manufacturer if you are having problems with your router.

Hub

An Ethernet hub can be used instead of the router shown above, but does expose your computers to a greater risk on the Internet. If using a hub: A critical note is File and Print Sharing should be turned off on all computers you hook up this way. By turning off File and Print sharing you decrease the risk of other Internet users gaining access to your computers.

As with all forms of “always on” Internet connections GCI recommends use of a Firewall application for increased protection.

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Wireless Connection

Wireless communication in the home uses 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n technology. It is a good set up to look at if you do not want a lot of cables running through your house. It easily allows for computers in different parts of the house, or as the diagram shows, works well for mobile / laptop computers. One of the disadvantages to this system is it is more expensive than using Ethernet cables. Security for wireless has some other issues, which are beyond this document. GCI does recommend you secure your wireless router. If you are considering a wireless connection, please read up on those issues.

To set this up, you will require:

  • A Wireless Access Point Router
  • A Wireless PC card in each computer

The diagram below shows how to set up this type of configuration.

 

As with all forms of “always on” Internet connections GCI recommend use of a Firewall application for your increased protection.

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Related Articles

How do I connect my Cable Modem?

 

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Other Resources

There are many excellent sites on the Internet on how to set up a network and below are links to some of these sites. Any system you set up must be able to pass data traffic using TCP/IP protocol, the data language of the Internet.

The links below will advise you more on the different types of networks available to you and how to set them up

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