Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Netgear broadband modem. I use a desktop and a laptop.

I have connected the modem to the desktop by using their ethernet connectors. But I need internet on my laptop too.

There is another connector on the modem, which uses a USB cable. Can I connect the laptop and modem with a USB cable, and then simultaneously use the internet on both the desktop and laptop?

share|improve this question
For a more exact answer, please edit your question (note the "edit" link underneath the tags) and specify the exact type of the Netgear modem, with a link to its documentation. – Arjan Jun 6 '10 at 13:06
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Whether or not you can use both ethernet and USB simultaneously totally depends on the exact type of modem you have. Like for an old SpeedTouch 530 I once used:

Depending on the SpeedTouch variant you have, various solutions are available to connect your computer(s) to the device:

  • Ethernet connectivity [..]

  • USB connectivity [..]

In case of a SpeedTouch with USB connectivity you can use both local networking solutions simultaneously to form a single local network.

Also, even if there's only a single ethernet connector, your modem might in fact also have a built-in router, which then gives you a home network that knows how to handle internet traffic for multiple computers. If so, then simply hooking up a switch (or even a old hub, if you can still find one) will do.

On some devices, the USB connector is not even meant for internet access, but only for maintenance, or to hook up a printer or external hard disk.

Note that you cannot damage your modem or computer by simply trying / experimenting. But then I suggest to first try both methods separately, just to make troubleshooting a bit easier. (I assume you will need to install some specific USB drivers to get the USB working.)

(For an exact answer we need to know the exact type of Netgear equipment you're using.)

share|improve this answer
i just found an old hub while cleaning out my basement yesterday... – quack quixote Jun 6 '10 at 15:52
@quack, maybe there's a place for that next to the brick. ;-) – Arjan Jun 6 '10 at 15:58

Yes you can use both, provided that your ISP provides your modem with more than 2 IP addresses. But if you have one, try MAC spoofing.

share|improve this answer

Unfortunately for you, Nick is right.

You can however connect your desktop and laptop. If both desktop has two network cards, you can connect laptop to the other port and make desktop act as router. Another option would be to use bluetooth to set up network or firewire cable. You didn't tell us what OS you are using and that may be relevant. It's easier to set up Internet connection sharing on windows than GNU/Linux in my experience. Also, it would be easier to network computers via bluetooth on GNU/Linux. Windows Vista and later don't support networking over firewire, so that could be problematic.

There are also other ways to connect your laptop computer and desktop, like for example using IrDA compliant infra-red transmitters or using serial or parallel ports, but I believe that they are more trouble than they are worth. And they would probably be too slow for modern Internet connections too.

You could also try researching use of USB A to USB A cables. They, with appropriate software, can be used to connect two computers together, but I don't know if they can be used to share Internet connection.

In the end, the cheapest options are to buy a router or to buy a second network card for desktop and use it to share Internet connection. I think that if you have to buy a second network card for desktop, purchasing router instead would be better option because in order for laptop to use desktop's Internet connection, desktop would have to be on all the time.

share|improve this answer

Unfortunately you must pick USB or ethernet, you can't choose both. What you want however is a router

The modem provides your computer with a public IP address, if you were to hook two PCs into the router you would need to get 2 public addresses which would cost more monthly from your ISP most likely even if your modem would support it which I doubt it would. The cheapest solution is to buy a router.

share|improve this answer
Nick's answer is correct except if you hook two PCs into a router, you don't need two public IP addresses. You can use two private IP addresses which share the same public IP address. No need to purchase a second public IP address from your ISP. – Mark Jun 6 '10 at 11:32
Without any details on the type of Netgear modem: that modem might actually be a router too. In that case, a simple switch might do (and keep one from running into all kinds of routing issues). – Arjan Jun 6 '10 at 13:05
Mark is right: You get two internal IP addresses on two different network adapters. The problem is rather Microsoft's inability to use more than one for Internet access. – harrymc Jun 6 '10 at 14:37
Based on context, I think Nick meant to say "if you were to hook two PCs into the modem". – Andrew Coleson Jun 6 '10 at 16:57

Yes, you can use USB and Ethernet simultaneously on some modems without issues. I have a scientific atlanta 2100 and I have utilized both the connection methods to connect two laptops to it. It basically depends on whether your ISP allows two IP's for a single connection.

share|improve this answer
It depends on the hardware. The vast majority allow only one connection to be used. The IP wouldn't come from the ISP unless the device was in bridged mode. – goblinbox Jan 22 '12 at 23:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .