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How To Share Your High Speed Internet Connection With Your Family
March 25, 2002

You're a greedy one aren't you? You've got your computer tucked away in a special room somewhere, downloading god-knows-what at blazingly fast speeds while your poor wife & kids dial in with their 14.4 modems to an ISP in Latvia.

Well what if every computer in your house could share that same high speed connection? What if you didn't have to run a single wire to accomplish this? What if your laptop in the living room could share the high-speed connection with the computer downstairs?

Well it can. Easily. You might be surprised to learn that your home is already built for networking. How? The phone line of course! Using the pre-existing phone line wiring in your house, you can build your very own high speed network.

This technology was developed by the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HPNA). All you need are some HPNA products. Many different manufacturers are allowed to make HPNA products, including Intel, but my favorite are the Linksys ones.

For the computer that already has the High Speed Internet, you need...

  • A Linksys HPN200SK HomeLink Phoneline 10M Network Card Kit.
  • A free PCI slot to put it in!

    Click here to see the HPN200SK @ Linksys.com, and click here to find it on Ebay! Of course you can also find Linksys products at your local computer store. Just call around and ask if they carry the Linksys HPN200SK. A good price for this product is about $70 U.S.

    This Network kit will include two PCI cards & some software. You install one PCI card into the computer with the Internet connection, and the other PCI card into the computer you want to network with. The kit will come with instructions on how to set everything up.

    And what if I want to share with more computers?

    You can buy single PCI cards from Linksys, their product code is HPN200. Look for them on Ebay and Pricewatch. They go for about $40 U.S.

    Once you've installed a HPNA network card in each computer, all you have to do is plug each computer into the phoneline and they'll be able to talk to each other. The Linksys HPN200SK cards have 10MB transfer speeds, which are much much more than adequate for sharing high speed Internet connections, and really decent for file sharing between computers.

    I actually have the first generation cards, which are only 1MB, and even those are more than adequate for net sharing. If you're not planning on doing much file sharing, and just want to share high speed internet, you can save some money and go for the HPN100SK kit. However, it's only about $20 cheaper, so if you can afford it, go for the HPN200SK.

    Can I buy components from other HPNA manufacturers, and 'mix and match'?

    Yep, any product that conforms to the HPNA specification will work with any other HPNA product.

    So once I set up my 'server computer' with home phoneline networking, every phone jack in my house becomes a place I can hook a computer up to the network?

    Yep, exactly. Just remember, to share the Internet, your server computer will have to be powered on!

    I've got ADSL, which uses the phone lines, will it work with Home Phoneline Networking?

    I can personally verify that it does, because I have ADSL. The HPNA specification states that it specifically uses different frequencies on the phoneline than ADSL for this reason.

    And I'll still be able to talk on my phone at the same time right?

    Of course! And for those wondering about interference, I haven't had any at all.

    What about laptops? I can't plug a PCI card into one of those!

    Linksys has an HPNA PCMCIA network card available. The product code is PCM100H1. I bought mine for 30 bucks on Ebay. Plug it into your laptop, and you can plug your laptop into any phonejack in your house and surf the net, share files, etc! For laptops with USB, you can also buy the USB100H1 which allows you to make any computer with a USB port a part of the home phoneline network.

    Where can I learn more?