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I have only one port for Internet access in the wall, but I have four computers. What should I use a

At my university I have only one port for Internet access in the wall, but I have four computers (I'm a programmer). What should I use a hub or a switch? The network only will allow computers with a registered MAC Address access to the network, and they wont let me register my router. So I need something that just makes more ports, not a new network or sub-network in this case.
The answer to you question is quite simple.

Since your not allowed to register a router to connect the rest of your machines, and assuming you already have one pc that is registered, by installing a 2nd network card in that pc, you can connect the rest of the pcs to a hub and have them access the Internet via the single PC your using! Here is a diagram on my suggestion:

|          PC
|           |
|           | 
|           PC

S= Socket

All 3 pc's connect to the hub, which in return is connected to the one pc your allowed to use. You university network will not see any additional mac addresses coming from the socket your connected to, but will certainly see more traffic which shouldn't be a problem anyway.

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All that's required is to enable Internet Connection Sharing on the main PC, so the rest can use it as a router, and that's about it!

If your operating system doesn't have any such feature, you can download one of the Internet as there are plenty of 3rd party applications for sharing one Internet connection amongst multiple PC's.

Lastly, you should also be aware that there are special programs on the Internet which will allow you to change your computer's MAC address in the case you need to. This means you can make your computer's MAC address identical to another one which has Internet access. You just need to be careful not to use that MAC address when the original machine is on!

Hope that helps!

This was last published in September 2003

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