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How to Network and Share an Internet Connection With Windows 98 Second Edition
Last updated: 07/30/03

INTRODUCTION.  A local area network (LAN) consists of one or more computers networked together, with cables and networking hardware and software components, in a small area such as home office, building, or even a group of buildings, such as a college campus.  An example of the simplest of LANs is  two Windows 95/98 computers, each with an Ethernet network interface card (NIC) and connected together with a twisted-pair crossover cable. The next step up is a network consisting of three or more computers and a hub.  Each of the computers is plugged into the hub with a straight-thru cable (the crossover function is performed by the hub).  A LAN allows you to share disk drives, printers, and play multi-computer games.

This is known as a peer-to-peer network.  There is no dedicated file server controlling the network. A small network consisting of Windows and DOS computers is also known as a workgroup network.

A Wide Area Network (WAN), as the name implies, generally covers a larger geographic area.  It is usually larger than a group of networked buildings and uses terrestrial, microwave, and satellite links.  A company with offices located in dispersed geographic locations may be networked with a WAN.  A WAN may connect LANs together.  WAN may be connected to WAN or be a subset of a larger WAN(s). The Internet is a WAN of immense size.

Windows 98 Second Edition (Win 98 SE) includes Microsoft's Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) adapter and protocol.  ICS is one way to connect your Windows LAN to the Internet and share an Internet connection with other users of the LAN.  A Win 98 SE computer, running ICS, provides a LAN to WAN gateway to the Internet for other computers on the LAN.  The other computers can be running Windows 95/98/98 SE and Internet Explorer 3.x and higher or Netscape 3.x and higher.  With this gateway, all of the users of the computers on the network, including the one serving as the gateway, will be able to browse the Internet and download files simultaneously through a single Internet connection. This article will show you how to set-up a Windows 95/98 workgroup network and interface it to the Internet with a Win 98 SE PC, ICS, and a dial-up MODEM.

Notes: In case it wasn't absolutely clear above, you only need one computer with Win 98 SE to interface a LAN to the Internet.  The other computers can be running older versions of Win 95/98.

Before purchasing Windows 98 SE please be sure your computer meets at least the minimum requirements for the software.  I am seeing customers who have purchased Windows 98/98 SE whose computers do not meet the requirements--available hard disk space in particular.  Once you have opened the box and broken the CD seal, you will not usually be able to return the product.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.