When you sign up for a broadband account you will normally receive a modem from your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most of these will come with a USB cable that connects to a spare USB port on your PC. This means that you will only be able to connect one computer to the Internet.
The best way of sharing a broadband connection between two or more computers is to use a dedicated router.
If, like the situation above, you have a USB modem you will need to replace it with a combined ADSL modem/router.
If you have an ADSL or cable modem with an Ethernet connection then you can buy a separate router which will connect to your existing modem. As a rule try and get a router that's compatible with your existing ADSL or cable modem (the same make is usually a good idea).
Cables - using Ethernet cables between your computers and the router will give you the most reliable connection. It also gives the fastest connection between two or more computers and so is the best choice if you transfer a lot of data between the computers in your home (e.g. backing up all sorts of data and files from one computer to another or perhaps playing computer games across the network).
To use Ethernet cables you will need to have an Ethernet connection available on each computer you intend to connect to the router. Most new computers (desktop & laptop) will have Ethernet ports pre installed. With older computers you will need to buy an Ethernet card suitable for the type of computer(s) you own.
If you intend to use cables to share the connection ensure that the router you buy has enough network ports. Most network routers have 4 ports (connections) plus a modem or uplink Ethernet port (to allow connection to your ADSL/Cable connection) and a wireless connection.
Wireless - using a wireless connection can be more convenient as there’s no need to make holes in walls, floors, ceilings or skirting boards. A wireless connection is not quite as fast as a wired connection but for general use you would hardly notice any speed difference between cabled and wireless network connections (although playing games will be better using cables). Wireless is fine for web and email access for several computers. Again, you will need to ensure that all your computers have wireless capability. New laptops generally have this built in.
It is possible to buy PCI wireless cards for desktop PCs and PCMCIA wireless cards for laptops. You can also buy wireless adapters which connect to a USB port. These can be used with both laptops and desktop PCs.
At QBS PC Help we have both cabled and wireless connections set up and we are strong advocates of Linksys routers. To see the full range of linksys routers click here
However to be even handed in our recommendations PC Pro picked the Belkin Wireless G+ as a great buy. Check out the review.
To see the Belkin product range and get the latest prices visit this Amazon link.
Read more articles about PC repairs, Web design & SEO