How to Share a High-Speed Internet Connection Among Several Computers

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Many people now connect their homes to the web via a high-speed, or broadband, connection. Users with several PCs may also employ a router with a high-speed Internet connection. In this piece, I’ll explain how to set up a router for networked computers. To make things more precise, I’ll use how your computer is linked to the Internet as an analogy for where you live.

Why do we need an IP Address?

IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers in the format nnn.nnn.nnn, where nnn ranges from 1 to 3, and the last set of digits is always nnn. Like your home has a specific address, each machine on a network has its unique IP address. Your ISP is the one who gives you an IP address so that you can access the Internet. You can connect multiple computers to the Internet if your Internet service provider (ISP) gives you more than one IP address. However, as we’ll see in a moment, sharing an IP address among numerous machines is still possible.

Linking Together a Solitary PC

It’s easy to hook up a single computer to your high-speed Internet connection. You need only plug a cable into your modem and another into your computer’s network adapter. After that, your Internet service provider (ISP) will give your computer an IP address. If your Internet service provider gave you the IP address 24.24.50.17, for instance, it is the address your computer will use.

The server you’re requesting from knows your IP address because it’s included in the request for the service you’re seeking. The data is subsequently relayed back to your machine via the Internet. This is a lot like getting mail delivered to your house. Your mail will be returned to your home rather than a post office or other location because of your address.

Networking Several Computers Together

If each computer is given a unique IP address, how can it communicate with one other? How does the server know which machine requested a specific Web page? Let’s extend the house metaphor a little further. Let’s pretend you don’t own a house but rather an apartment. Your apartment number is included in the address when mail is sent to you. This is a private number, used only within your apartment building, and each unit has its own. The same holds for computers; if each has its local IP address, they can all connect to the Internet. A router can take care of this for you.

A router is a piece of hardware that plugs into your modem to facilitate network connectivity. When using a router, the modem is not required for each machine. Your ISP’s given IP address is now associated with your router rather than your PC. In this case, your router represents the complex where people live.

A router’s strength is its ability to hand out private IP addresses. Like each apartment has a unique phone number, each computer connected to your router will be given a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. The same Internet service provider (ISP) IP address is used, but now the router receives the request for a web page. The router picks up the demand for the Web page and delivers it locally to the client’s computer.

The router has a local address equivalent to the computers’ local IP addresses. Your ISP has given your router two talks: one for use on the Internet and one for use within your network. Because of this, the router may communicate with the wide-area network and the Internet.

Be aware that IP addresses beginning with 192.168.xxx.xxx are set aside expressly for use on LANs.

Taking Care of Your Network’s Web or FTP Server

Let’s examine this hypothetical situation. A router allows numerous devices to share an Internet connection. But now you’re thinking about making your Web server or FTP. Sure, no sweat. Someone from outside your network learns the local IP address of your FTP server and then attempts to connect to the computer on your network where the appropriate software has been installed. They then find out that communication is impossible. Why? It’s the equivalent of having something mailed to you with only your apartment number listed as the recipient’s address.

Your computer’s IP address is private and only used within your network. That machine is accessible from within your local network but not externally. For someone on the Internet to connect to your FTP server, you must provide them with the IP address that your Internet service provider gave your router. Since an IP address is supposed to be one-of-a-kind, how can your router and another computer share the same IP? The correct response is that they can’t, but that’s okay.

A router’s port forwarding feature sends data from the router to a specified host computer. A port is a logical connection in a network that is identified by a number. It is intangible because it is a virtual channel for transmitting and receiving data in grids. The standard FTP port is 21, however, this can be changed if necessary.

Find the port forwarding option in your router’s configuration menu. Enter the FTP server’s internal IP address and port number and save the changes. Users will now need to use the IP address issued to their router by your ISP to connect to your FTP server. Once the router detects data received on port 21, it will immediately send it to your FTP server. It’s the same for a Web server, though typically, port 80 is used.

Remember that a router’s usual behavior is to dynamically issue IP addresses to the devices attached to it. As a result, the first computer to connect to the router will be assigned the first available IP address; the second computer will be given the second available IP address, and so on. If you’re in charge of an FTP server, assigning the computers a static IP address might be more straightforward so that the server always uses the same IP address.

This article explained how to share an Internet connection among multiple PCs. The following should be kept in mind:

Your Internet service provider (ISP) will designate the IP address for the device connected directly to the modem.
When you set up a router, your Internet service provider (ISP) will give its IP address to the router itself. The router will provide local lessons to any PCs linked to it.
The IP address of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a separate local IP address are assigned to a router. Because of this, it may hook up to your local network and the wider web.
Use the router’s IP address to configure a computer as an FTP, Web, or other server for Internet communication. The next step is to open the required port on your server.
The Technically Easy blog has more details.

Paul Salmon is a technical systems analyst who has worked with computers for the past two decades. He has worked in hardware design, software engineering, and quality control for computer systems. His current project is the tech support and knowledge site Technically Easy.

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