I have what appears to be a cable modem plugged into the wall with only one ethernet port on it. Therefore I can only connect one computer to it. Also, the modem has no wireless capability.

I have to dialup the connection and enter a username and password on my laptop. But how can i share this internet connection between two laptops running Windows 7 Ultimate? I have spare ethernet cables. Would that help?

  • "dialup the connection"? Cable modems provide always on connections. There's no dialling up. Either you're doing something else and not dialling up or you don't in fact have a cable modem. Describe what you have, and what you are doing, correctly. If you don't, you'll mislead people into giving you the wrong answers and waste everyone's time. – JdeBP Jun 16 '11 at 13:13
  • @techie007 -- Not a duplicate. But this question is about a modem with an Ethernet port, plus two WiFi ready devices. It is not quite a duplicate, IMO. – zero2cx Sep 21 '12 at 10:18

What you need is a router. There are dozens or hundreds of routers available from various companies, and with varying features. You can buy one at your nearest computer store, or even Wal-Mart.

If you already own an ethernet hub or switch, your cheapest option would be to buy a stand-alone router, which you will plug into your cable modem, and into your switch. You will then plug each laptop into the switch.

If you don't already own a switch/hub, you'll want to buy a router that has a built-in switch. These are quite common, and probably don't cost much (if any) more than a router without a switch. You'll plug the cable modem into the router, then you'll plug each laptop into the router as well.

The most flexible option will be to buy a router with a built-in wireless access point. This will allow your laptops to connect using their built-in wireless network adaptors, and you won't need to use an ethernet cable at all (except between the router and modem).

For more detailed information about what types of routers exist, I suggest doing a simple google search for "SOHO Router", and reading up on them before going to the store.

You can also likely buy a router directly from your ISP. This will likely be a router/modem combination, which would replace your existing modem. You'll likely pay more this way, but you'll be guaranteed that it will work with exactly the type of Internet service they provide.

  • if i plug both laptops into the hub only one can dial up the internet, the other can't if one is connected... – danielgratzz Jun 16 '11 at 11:43
  • That's why you need a router. The router will allow both laptops to connect simultaneously. – Flimzy Jun 16 '11 at 11:46
  • the object im connecting them both to says 'wireless broadband router' on it. it has a config page at – danielgratzz Jun 16 '11 at 12:03
  • 2
    It sounds like you already have a router then. It will be a matter of configuring it. Hopefully you have a manual that came with it that will explain the steps necessary to configure it. If you need specific help, your best bet may be to contact the technical support department at your ISP, or for the manufacturer of the router. – Flimzy Jun 16 '11 at 12:09

I am with MBraedley and Flimzy when then say get a router...it is the best way.

If you are hellbent on sharing your Internet connection, called ICS in Windows, read/watch this:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Using-ICS-Internet-Connection-Sharing (says Vista, but also works for Windows 7...does not work with a wireless connection, even though not applicable in this case)



You can use an ad hoc connection to share your internet connection for two or more laptops. I've done this many time when we do overnight making projects.

I've created a guide, How to Share Wireless Broadband Internet Among Two or More Laptops. You'll follow along to see how to connect one laptop to the internet (skip to step #2, use your Ethernet cable here), and connect your second computer to your first computer wirelessly using a password protected ad-hod WiFi network that you create.

  • Can you summarize the most important steps here, please? – slhck Mar 22 '12 at 7:59

You need a router in order to do this efficiently. You can do other stuff like bridging the wireless and wired connections on one of the laptops, but that becomes complicated when you want to move the computer, and your wireless card might not even support doing it that way anyway. The router is the quickest and easiest method of sharing a connection between multiple computers.

If your ISP uses PPoE for authentication, then there are routers out there that will automatically authenticate you, and keep the connection alive. Once that's done, it's trivial to set up the laptops to connect to the router, and to add more devices down the line.

  • i have an ethernet/wireless hub and i connected both laptops to it plus the cable connected to the modem. However only ONE laptop can dial up to the connection. When the other tries it doesn't work... – danielgratzz Jun 16 '11 at 11:24
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    Which is why you need a router that supports whatever dial-up protocol your ISP uses. The router makes the connection for you, so that you don't have to do it from the computer. – MBraedley Jun 16 '11 at 19:11

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