advice on running two computers with one cable modem

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by greendragon, May 6, 2007.

  1. greendragon macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2006
    is this possible, or do i need to go wireless? i have a dell desktop and a macbook, on its way finally, just bought it friday, going to be running in the same room but would like to have internet access on both instead of just one. what should i do? thanks
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    You don't need to do the wireless thing (and if you don't actually have a need for wireless, by all mean steer clear because wired Ethernet is still more reliable), but you probably will need a router if your cable box doesn't have one built in. If your cable box does have a built-in router, a cheapo switch would do the job.
  3. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2006
    On one of my Macs of course
    Aloha greendragon,

    You can go either wireless or wired, but you'll still need a router between you two boxes. The router will be providing what is know as network address translation, which is a fancy way of saying that the cable modem gets its IP address from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), and the router provides an internal, private, set of IP address to your network. That way, your ISP doesn't have to provide but one address (and they won't know how many computers you have sharing the same internet connection).

    In a wired scenario, all you need is a router, some ethernet (network) cables, and a bit of time to set up your router. It's fairly simple to do, but if you need any assistance, zag me an email at:

    For a wireless scenario, there are a few more steps, but it's not really that difficult. I have both wired and wireless clients in my home network, and am also in a mixed (Mac/Windows) environment. Zag me an email if you get stuck, and I'll gladly assist you in getting your network off the ground.

    One other thing to remember is that most wireless routers also have ports for wired access. The Apple Airport Extreme has only three ports, whereas most wireless routers have four, but as you're only talking two clients, that should be plenty. Of course, the Airport Extreme is a bit pricier than some of the alternative, but it is also 802.11N for the wireless, which pushes up the price a bit. Do you know whether the Dell laptop has a pre-N card in it (the MacBook definitely has the 802.11N card)? If not, you can save some money and just get an 802.11b/g router.

    I hope I haven't confused you too much, but I don't know where you stand, with respect to your networking knowledge. If you need me to explain anything in more detail, please let me know.

  4. blackstone macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Yes, you'll need a router. This would be a good idea anyways, since without a router, your computers will be exposed "naked" to the Internet without the protection of the router's hardware firewall. In such a situation, the Dell would likely end up getting hacked unless it's running something other than Windows.
  5. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Most routers don't have any hardware firewalls just a NAT firewall...big difference.;) One has stateful packet inspection one doesn't.
  6. unixfool macrumors 6502a

    Jan 21, 2006
    Northern VA
    I agree with trainguy77.

    Most SOHO 'firewalls' rely on NAT as a security measure. You don't see too many of these gateway devices actually having firewalling capabilities. In fact, I've only seen one of these, Verizon's Actiontec gateway router/firewall, which they lease with their FiOS product. Netgear also sells a VPN gateway, but I believe it is considered an enterprise device.

    Also, I believe its perfectly fine to plug your Macbook directly to your internet connection, as it has a REAL firewall (ipfw), although since it only has one ethernet port that kinda makes internet sharing difficult, your best route would be to invest in a SOHO router.
  7. greendragon thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2006
    very confused here... what should i buy? sounds like a router, so which brand?

    all i want is to plug my macbook into the internet, and still have my dell desktop wired. any simple newbe tutorials around?

    thanks :apple: friends
  8. greendragon thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2006
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    linksys is fine, and pretty easy to set up. i have a linksys wired/wireless router for our PC desktop and my two macs upstairs. works like a charm.
  10. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    i have a linksys as well and it works perfectly fine..
  11. MalcolmJID macrumors 6502a

    Nov 1, 2005
    Most routers are generally hardware-independant, meaning it would work with almost anything with an ethernet socket.

    I use a Linksys router for my home network, and I use it with my MacBook and an older Compaq desktop PC. It works brilliant, just don't use any software that comes with it. Most routers are good to go out of the box.

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