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I found a website that says I can use a USB "bridged" cable for ICS.
( http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Connecting-Two-PCs-Using-a-USB-USB-Cable/248/2 )
My cable modem only has one network plug, so I can't have my desktop and laptop on the internet at the same time, so I hope this works.

Question 1: The problem is I can't find one of those cables on E-Bay. I must be searching for the wrong set of words. I found one ($28) that said it was for transferring files between two computers (link mode). The link above says the cable should come with software for "network mode" - and also lists "link mode" for just transferring files. I did find one USB 1.1 bridged cable (that didn't talk about software/drivers), but I want 2.0.

I would think this would be a sought after item, and would be cheap. I got a USB adapter to hook up an external hard drive w/shipping for a total of $8.95 . This USB cable is considerably simpler, and lighter.

What E-Bay search terms should I be using?

Question 2: Is ICS going to work on my computer, with my cable modem? The following website says the new "improved" Windows XP ICS requires the host IP address to be set to 192.168.0.1.
( www . practicallynetworked . com/sharing/xp_ics/ )
"Ipconfig /all" reports I have a regular IP address (yes it's static), not one in 192.168... (By regular I mean you can address it directly from the internet - I'm not putting it here.) When I right click on the network connection (host computer w/working internet), select properties, advanced, and check "Allow other computer to connect..." (I didn't check "Allow other network user to control...) I get the following error message "An error occurred while Internet Connection Sharing was being enabled. A device attached to the system is not functioning." I didn't bother trying the wizard as I don't have the USB bridged cable yet, and I don't want to screw up the working connection. Nothing is listed under that check box - I noticed on other websites there's an option box for selecting what it's connecting to - maybe when I plug in and install that cable I'll see it there.

Before I buy the cable, is this computer/cable modem going to work with ICS? (Will I be able to get the host computer, with its IP set to 192.168.0.1, working with the cable modem? - or is there other software besides Windows XP ICS that will work.)

If I have to spend $30 for a cable (ridiculous), should I just get a $10 NIC, put it in the host, and connect it to my laptop (it has an ethernet port) - and will that work? (BTW - I am aware I could spend $50+ for a router...)

Thanks

Windows XP SP3, Motorola Surfboard Cable Modem, Realtek PCIe GBE ethernet card.

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Buy another nic. Messing around with USB is silly. –  Zoredache Sep 6 '10 at 20:02
    
@Zoredache: Is this computer/cable modem going to work with ICS, given the 192.168.01 limitation? –  Eric54 Sep 6 '10 at 20:13
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Just buy a cheap ethernet switch. –  Dennis Williamson Sep 6 '10 at 20:19
    
IP Addresses shouldn't have anything to do with it. 192.168.x.x are used entirely within networks for the purpose of organizing computers withing a LAN. It'll work, although it's not the best solution. –  digitxp Sep 6 '10 at 23:54
    
@digitxp - you are saying that the "expert" link above is wrong, and the host IP address doesn't have to be 192.168.0.1 for ICS? Do you have a link confirming that? –  Eric54 Sep 8 '10 at 16:02
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2 Answers

There's no reason to do this. @Dennis Williamson gave the right answer in the comments - buy a cheap switch. It is cheaper, and has a lot more functionality. The PCs can still talk to each other, but they can use the internet connection separately, and you can add more devices. You can add a wireless access point in the future if you want, etc.

You will get better speed, reliability, functionality, and expandability with a switch.

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I found a broadband router w/WiFi on E-Bay for $20 (total including shipping). It says it can share a single internet connection. So I won't need to bother with ICS, and the laptop will have internet access independent of the desktop. I read about the switch recommendation posted here - for an extra $5 this is much more versatile. I was just going to get a $10 ethernet card for the desktop and use ICS, but when I opened the computer I discovered all of the PCIe slots (3) are already being used. The router will work much better anyway.

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