Is it practicable to share an internet connection w/o setting up a network?

I'm trying to share the internet connection from my cable modem with my housemates. We already share the cable bill for TV, but until now I was the only one who wanted the broadband cable internet so I've been carring that part on my own.

Now that we would like to make the single connection available to each of our computers, I'm in the funny position of trying to come up with a way of doing that without linking our computers together. For pretty good reason I'm more worried about my housemates accessing my files than a random hacker on the internet, so I don't want to set up something that makes my system any more vulnerable to them than it would be if we lived in 3 seperate homes and had three seperate interent connections. I'm also pretty worried about getting a virus or two from them, since they are not careful what they download and were always having problems with viruses before we got the house.

It really doesn;t matter if it is wired or not (but my landlord would probably be happier if I don't drill any holes), so if it is cheaper wired or is only available as a wired product that would work.

If it can be done wirelessly, is there some sort of system that can be setup where each of three computers can have acces to the internet over a single cable connection where it would be comparable to 3 guys who didn't know each other sitting in a wifi hotspot?

If wired, could a single cable connection be setup so it is comparable (without concer over loss of speed) to 3 next-door neighbors each getting cable internet?

This may be a totally stupid question that anyone sould be able to figure out. But from what I've been able to find out about routers, it's not clear if I can use one just for internet sharing without some sort of more involved networking. If possible, I'd rather not just set up a network that doesn't allow file sharing but does share the internet connection, as that would provide one more possible route into my computer than us all simply being on the internet at the same time. Because of the layout of the house, it is very likely that I would have to have any router type hardware in a physically accessible spot.

Thank you for any one who can help me figure out how to do this.

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Setup each PC in it's own Domain, and don't share any of your files. If you aren't sharing them then no one can view them. If you really worried setup a firewall to block incoming connections. How tech savy are your roommates?

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Yes. Use a firewall.

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Axel Hammerschmidt

one of my housemates is pretty savvy, which goes without saying that he is more savy than me. We work for competitors and I know he would like to see some of my work at home files as much as I would like to see his. If either of us are going to end our friendship during a few weeks of intense pressure, we should do it the old fashion way - either an irrate girlfriend and a cheap bottle of wine or kick the bedroom door in and pull the hard drive.

If I set each PC up into its own domain, am I doing this in the router itself or in software "post" router? If I am doing it downstream from the router, it's like locking the foxes in the hen house and trying to make the hens' stalls secure. It would probably work, but isn't it better to keep them out of the hen house in the first place and make the henhouse and stalls secure?

I understand enough about the cable connection to know that you can't just split it into 3 seperate connections, but I am looking for a way to make it as close as possible. I know there will be issues about security of the internet packets between our computers that wouldn't apply if we really had 3 connections, but we are all such perverts that we probably are all looking at pretty much the same stuff any how. Besides the possiblility of intercepting an occasional boring email to a family member I don't think there would be any draw to any of us trying this.

It's really just the extra potential being part of the same "closed" system has that I'm trying to control. Is there any kind of router that can function without being connected to any of the PC's (even it initial set up requires a direct PC connection) and can be set up to "serve" only the internet among the authorized computers?

I know that my cable company is doing it and I assume (which may be a bad idea) that the library and internet coffee shop are doing it. Of course they have hardware that is way out of my price range and ability to even learn how to setup. If I can't get it close with a router, could it be done through some sort of a wireless/wired access point.

BTW, 2 of the computers run Windows XP home and one runs 2000 professional if that matters, which I'm hoping it doesn't since I'm trying to stay away from any software dependent solution.

HotRod wrote:

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You can set up a wireless router in Client Isolation mode. This blocks traffic between wireless users. You will be separated from your house mates and won't have to mess with any domain setting. I'm not sure if all routers have this feature, but I'm pretty sure the Linksys WRT54 series does (or if you use a 3rd party firware you most definitely will be able to enable it).

Also, like a previous poster mentioned, if you use a firewall to block all traffic from the local network (most good firewalls allow you to set address ranges in the blocking rules) your house mates will not be able to access your computer (nor will their viruses).

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Bryant Smith

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I agree with Bryant. Linksys WRT54G allows users to isolate WiFi clients but I'm not really sure how effective it is. I only enabled client isolation but never really tested it. Double your security with a software firewall (Zonealarm free version does a great job) installed on your PC and set the security settings to HIGH. That's my current setup at home. I don't trust any other WiFi clients in my house. We ain't sharing anything other than internet connection thru DSL.

Since you live under the same roof, I think you should also be worried about physical access. I mean, what good is all of those suggestions if your housemate can just walk up to your computer, turn it on and use it. Be sure no one (other than yourself) can physically touch your PC. Have a bad ass dog sit next to it 24/7 :-)

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and set up login security on the machine, secure the admin password and periodically change the password.

it is also a good idea to look in the machine event logs periodically to see if anyone tries to access the machine

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