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How To Split an Internet Connection Between Two or More Computers

I was asked by a client recently: “Can we use a splitter on one of our internet connections so we can have two computers plugged into one? We only have one internet port in that office, but I need to plug in two computers.”

With the old style analog telephone line we all have in our homes, it is easy to split a line multiple times. This is because only two wires are used for each line in a phone cable. Computer networking is far more complex. Eight wires are used within a single network cable. While it is sometimes possible to couple two networking cables together, it is not feasible to split the connection.

Linksys Wireless Router with Built-in Network Switch.

Linksys Wireless Router with Built-in Network Switch

There are a couple of possible solutions to this problem though, and they are both pretty simple.

Solution 1: Network Switches

Network switches are used to connect multiple computers on a single network. If your goal is only to use a single network wall jack for multiple computers or devices, then a network switch should do the job. Most consumer network switches will automatically uplink to a parent switch so there is usually no configuration needed.

Solution 2: Network Router with Built-in Network Switch

Network routers are used to route internal traffic to another network (such as an internet connection). Most home routers (including wireless routers) have network switches built-in. What this combination of a router with a built-in switch provides is the ability to network several computers and share a single internet connection with them all.  If your network router also supports wireless connections, then you can have a combination of wired computers and wireless computers on your network.

Is this legal? If you remember the days of legal issues when splitting cable TV, then you may be concerned with sharing your internet connection with multiple PCs. Unless otherwise specified by your internet provider, it is perfectly acceptable to share your internet connection with all of the computers in your home or office. Of course this doesn’t mean you can share your wireless with the whole neighborhood.

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About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert... I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then. From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm. Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more. I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS). I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/07/questions-answers/how-to-split-an-internet-connection-between-two-or-more-computers/

3 comments

  1. Agnes

    This is awesome!

  2. Shameem

    Sir I have splitted wifi inernet with the help of switch but if i want to access internet on other computerit gives message that a computer already used this IP address plz contact your service provider.how can solve this problem plz help.

  3. Stefanie

    I really love your site.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create
    my own blog and would love to find out where you got this from
    or what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

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