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What IP enables file sharing among multiple computers on different Internet connections?

Learn how to enable file sharing among a group of computers, as well as computers within separate workgroups, that are using four different Internet connections, in this expert response.

I have 12 computers in a workgroup, and three of my computers in this workgroup have separate Internet connections. Now I want share Internet Connection 1 to three computers, Internet Connection 2 to three computers and Internet Connection 3 to the remaining three computers within the workgroup -- as well as enable file sharing among all 12 computers. What IP should I be using to enable file sharing within the network? Which network device should I be using to do this?
While there are several solutions that would fit your criteria, I'll start with the simplest one first. For a single site that has 12 computers divided into 4 computers within 3 workgroups, you will want to have a switch as well as a router. I have simplified the design to only share a single Internet uplink. This design will allow you to ensure all computers talk to one another, minimize the amount of equipment and configuration needed, and allow them Internet access. The router would need to also serve as a DHCP server in the space. That will provide you enough host addresses for al l 12 computers and allow you to have them dynamically allocate private IP addresses. The uplink port should have an assigned route to the Internet. Since most small network routers do not have enough physical ports, the switch would be used to connect the 12 computers together. Most small and medium business ( SMB) network routers come with the appropriate features to allow this type of communication.
DHCP server router and switch network design
If you want a little more complex environment, then you would need to get a managed switch that allows you to segregate the various workstations into separate virtual LANs ( VLANs). The router configuration would also change to understand the VLAN routing decisions as well as potentially load share the multiple internet connections. While you would still need a router and a switch, you may need to investigate more advanced, and pricier models that support VLAN tagging, routing, NAT, and DHCP addressing.
This was last published in December 2009

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