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How do I set up my network's Internet connection?

I have four networked computers running in my auto shop connected to a hub and am looking to purchase two more. I also plan on getting Internet access via one of the cable companies. Would it be better to purchase a router or a switch for this connection?
When purchasing cable high-speed connections for small businesses, I highly recommend buying a router with a built-in firewall to accommodate your needs. While other alternatives exist for sharing the Internet connection through methods like Internet connection sharing, the most secure way to provide Internet access to all the computers in your network while keeping out malicious attacks from the Internet is to utilize a broadband router with built-in firewall. Several products are available on the market for selection. The best one to fit your needs would supply about 10 connections to the Internet so that you can grow your business without purchasing new equipment. You will also want to ensure that the router is a broadband router with built-in firewall.

Once the purchase is made, follow the instructions to share the Internet connection through the network address translation (NAT) protocol. Then ensure the firewall is set up to allow only Web and Internet connections outbound and that no inbound connections can be established. Each firewall will have its own set of rules and administration but many products have been simplified to ensure the right type of firewall protection is enabled.

To ensure that all of the internal users are able to adequately share the Internet connection, purchase a single broadband router that has available ports for the computers in use. Set up the Internet connection sharing using the NAT protocol and limit access from the outside world through the built-in firewall features.

This was last published in September 2005

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