Internet Connection Sharing allows a 802.11 card or a cellular laptop card Internet connection to be shared. USB laptop Internet cards are used for more than laptops. Sometimes, they are the main access for a business or home for Internet. In these cases, there may be other computers or devices that need Internet access as well. With Internet connection sharing, these devices can connect to the Internet through the ethernet port of the primary computer. The computer can be set up as a router or bridge, using Internet connection sharing or connection bridging.
The easiest option is to use Internet Connection Sharing. Open your network connections in control panel, right-click the laptop card, select the advanced configuration, and use the advanced tab to set the checkbox marked “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Then, click on the settings box, and check all of the services that you want to share. If you don’t know, just check them all.
Internet Connection Sharing causes the primary computer to act just like a router. It will assign IP addresses on the local network to every device that you plug in. It is the easiest way, because you just turn it on and it works. In some cases, it may cause a problem for the device to be on a secondary network.
If a routing solution won’t work, you can build a bridge within the primary computer. Building a bridge still allows sharing, but the IP that comes through is the same IP that was assigned to the main device. The two devices share the same IP address. This one is good if you are at a location that connects through a menu, such as some coffee shops or hotels. If you have a plug-and-play device, it may lack a screen and keyboard for you to log in. If you add a bridge, the plug-and-play device will share the same IP that the computer already obtained.
The bridge can often be a problem. The wireless card will often refuse to cooperate, and you will end up having to do some geek work. To set up the bridge, control-click the connections you wish to bridge. Then select “Advanced” and “Bridge Connections”. It takes time to build the bridge, and much longer if you decide to delete it. Once it is set up, your secondary device should be able to share the same IP as your main device. If the wireless card in the main device won’t connect to the Internet, move on to the next step.
Open a command window, and type in netsh bridge show adapter This will show you the number of the wireless adapter. We want to force compatibility mode to enable for the wireless adapter. Assuming it is adapter 1, the command would be netsh bridge set a 1 e This is telling the system to set adapter 1 to enable. After this command, do the show command again to be sure that the change took. After this, your wireless connection should work.
This is great stuff, as long as you don’t expect it to work as fast as a router solution. If you are setting up a permanent home or office network, you may want to call your cellular company for a router recommendation. Expect to pay $100-$200 for a router that can use an air card for a WAN.