I have a Dim 4400 with the NIC connect via a crossover cable to my other PC giving me a peer-to-peer network. I need to install another NIC so that I can connect a DSL modem.
Is there any problem with my installing a second NIC? Is there a particular kind I need to buy?
"Is there any problem with my installing a second NIC?" - No, there is no problem whatsoever. Simply install the second NIC following the manufacturer's instructions and connect the DSL modem to it following the ISP's instructions. If you want you can then enable Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) so the second PC can access the internet through the connection on the first.
Having said that, I do not recommend that configuration at all. ICS can be problematic. It works great 95% of the time, but the other 5% can give you heart failure. A much better solution is to install a wired router to share the connection, and you will be able to perform File and Printer Sharing as well. The Linksys BEFSR41 runs about US$40, but there are other brands and you may get them even less. The router will have a firewall in it so you will be protected from internet hacking and each will be independent of each other. Think about it.
Thanks for your reply. I did as you said and had no problem. The NIC installation had no hitches. I used the XP "create a network" wizard to make a "network setup disk" to use on my other PC which is Win98. That's basically how I set up the network originally when I had the dial-up modem. I suppose that setup disk took care of the ICS enabling, etc.
Since everything is working and since I'm lazy (!) I'll probably not switch to a router (hub?) unless something goes wrong. What kinds of things happen in the 5% area? I certainly don't need any heart failure! I can File/Print Share now.
Here's a new question: My ISP's DSL package included filters to put on each of my phones. I haven't installed them and everything seems fine. Are those filters supposed to protect data transmissions from voice or vice versa (as I assume)?
The other 5% is unpredictable, but my experience has been that for whatever reason, ICS just fails to work. Clients experience "Page cannot be displayed" for instance. Or email clients fail to connect to email servers. Usually these issuse can be resolved by a complete shutdown and restart of all PCs in the LAN, starting with ICS host. But often the ICS host is also hosting primary printers, so scheduling a complete shutdown/restart can be a pain.
You should install filters on any analog device connected. That includes phones, fax machines, the analog modems in PCs, answering machines, etc. Otherwise the data signal can affect the quality of the voice communications but sometimes the voice side can impact the digital data signal.