Sharing is Good
In the past, networking used to be a cryptic technology that was only implemented in a business setting, power users, and gaming geeks that hauled their computers out on the weekends for some LAN fragging fun. Nowadays many computer households have more than one system in use in their homes.
You might remember the good ol' "hand me down" days gone yonder when the younger kids 'inherited' the older kids outgrown clothing. It appears that same "hand me down" tradition is alive and well today; Dad buys a new computer, the old one goes to the wife, and then kids.
The problem here becomes that Internet access can be rather expensive for more than one computer at a time. While every member of the family might have their own computer, they are all fighting to use the one that has the Internet access. Of course, the internet computer usually turns out to be Dad's shiny new Dell Pentium III 550 that he bought to play Rogue Spear.
The dilemma is that Dad can't play Rogue Spear
because the wife and kids are hogging up that Dell playing Slingo
or downloading Pokemon stuff because the Dell is the only computer that has Internet access.
Solution? Connect all the household computers in a LAN, and have them share the connection instead of having the whole family fighting over the single computer with Internet access. Computers on the LAN can be configured to give all systems access the Internet at the same time. You can share files and printers, and have some fun fragging loved ones in multiplayer LAN play.
It's not too difficult
With a reasonable investment in networking hardware and the right information, you can easily set all of your computers up to share the same account. This can even be done if you are using a modem dial-in account, but don't expect the performance to be great.
First you need to setup your LAN and have at least one computer with an Internet connection. Then you would install Proxy Server or NAT Software such as Wingate or SyGate. These programs allow your internal network computers to access the Internet by using the computer with the Internet connection as the gateway.
With the Release of Windows 98 SE, you have the option of using the Windows Internet Connection Sharing(ICS). Windows ICS does the same job as Wingate and Sygate, but it's already integrated into the Windows 98 SE operating system, and allows for seamless operation without any user intervention outside of the initial setup. This can, admittedly, be a trial for a first time installation, but once you know what to look for, the setup can be quick and painless. This guide is going to walk you through the steps to get the ICS up and running on your home LAN.