Connection Sharing (ICS) enables a Windows computer to share its
Internet connection with computers on local area networks. It’s
been around since Windows 98 SE, and with the launch of Windows
XP, it’s only gotten better.
Windows XP ICS has some notable advantages over the versions of
ICS in Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Me:
- It’s easier
to set up. There’s no software to install, and it doesn’t
add any network components or protocols.
- It’s much
more reliable and much less likely to cause network problems.
- You can create
a Network Bridge connecting
two or more local area networks and share the Internet connection
with the computers on all of them. This is especially useful if
your XP computer is connected to both a wired and wireless network.
client computers can use XP’s
Internet Gateway to monitor and control the server
computer’s Internet connection. If you have a dial-up
connection, you can connect and disconnect when deciding
whether to enable ICS.
However, XP ICS is missing some features of those earlier
versions. You can’t disable the DHCP server, change the
server computer’s IP address, or change the range of addresses
allocated by the DHCP server.
Consider these points when deciding whether to enable ICS.
WARNING #1: When you enable ICS, the
network adapter connected to the local area network is assigned
a static IP address of 192.168.0.1. The client computers are assigned
other IP addresses in the 192.168.0.x range. These addresses may
not be compatible with an existing network
WARNING #2: Don’t enable ICS if any
computer in your network is configured as a domain controller, DHCP
server, or DNS server. Don’t enable it if another computer is running
ICS or Network Address Translation (NAT).
WARNING #3: To enable ICS, you must
be logged on as a user that is a member of the Administrators group.
WARNING #4: If you establish a Virtual
Private Networking (VPN) connection while sharing a different connection,
the client computers won’t be able to access the Internet until
the VPN connection is ended.
Preparing for ICS
The ICS server computer must have two network connections: one
for the Internet, and one for the local area network. The Internet
connection may be a dial-up (PPP or ISDN), cable modem, DSL, or
other broadband Ethernet connection. The LAN connection may be a
wired, wireless, or even a USB Ethernet connection. Before enabling
up your Internet connection and test it so that you
know you can connect to the Internet.
whether to allow client computers to control the server’s
Internet connection using the Internet
Gateway. This feature is automatically available
on clients running Windows XP. On clients running Windows
98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Me, you must
run XP’s Network Setup Wizard
to enable the gateway. If you have a Windows XP CD-ROM,
you can run the Wizard from it. Otherwise, create a network
setup disk containing the Wizard files.
Enabling ICS on the Server Computer
You can enable ICS either manually or by using XP’s Network
To use the Wizard, see our page on Server
Setup Using the Network Setup Wizard. You must use this
method if you need to create a network setup disk.
Configuring ICS Client Computers
Now configure the other networked computers as ICS clients. Follow
these links for computers running Windows
95 or Windows
2000 Professional. For Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition,
Windows Me, or Windows XP, stay with these instructions for XP