Will WinProxy allow me to use a single modem between my PC and my Mac?

Question

I saw an ad for a program called WinProxy that states you can use one home computer to link all home computers through a single modem and it is both PC and Mac compatible. Have you had any experience with this program or anything else that links PC's and Mac through a common modem?

-James

Answer

This question was answered on June 30, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

WinProxy is a product that we have used for our corporate network clients that allows multiple users to use a single connection to the Internet, simultaneously In most corporate settings, however, the connection to the Internet is not a modem but a high-speed direct connection that can accommodate dozens of users The basic concept of WinProxy is to share a connection using what is called a Proxy Server/Gateway WinProxy is transparent to the users or client machines once it is installed and configured, so it looks and acts as if all machines have an Internet connection If I understand your question properly, you are inquiring as to the ability of this program to connect a PC (Windows based) and a Mac to a single modem connection and allow simultaneous use of it If so, the answer is YES! This program will allow you to use 1 modem, 1 phone line and 1 Internet account on 2 computers, simultaneously If you already have your PC and your Mac networked together, the ability to share a modem for Internet surfing and e-mail is a fairly simple process If you do not currently have them networked, it may be cheaper and certainly a lot less complicated to buy a second modem

The basics of how to make this work are:

-The WinProxy program must be installed on the Windows (95/98/NT  hence the Win in WinProxy) machine so it can serve as the Server/Gateway to the Internet

-The modem or high speed connection (i.e cable modem, DSL or microwave dish) must be on the Windows based computer.

-The connection between the Mac and the PC needs to use the TCP/IP protocol, which is most likely the way you are already connecting

-Once you have installed the program on the PC, you will need to reconfigure the browser and e-mail programs on the Mac to look at the Proxy Server/Gateway for its connection While this all sound fairly complicated, it actually is pretty easy, as long as you remember to change the settings on the Mac programs The program comes with very simple instructions for all of the most popular browser and e-mail programs as well as extensive information on their web site

This same path of installation would hold true for a network of all Windows based machines Install the WinProxy program on the computer that has the modem or the direct connection, then update each workstations TCP/IP configuration and browser/e-mail program(s) Sharing a dial-up connection (56k modem) between 2 computers can work well or be very slow depending upon the usage of the 2 users According to folks that wrote WinProxy, you can expect a roughly 20% dcrease in performance when 2 users are connected at the same time Large file downloads would be the main area where keeping it to one user at a time would be a good idea One of the many added benefits to using WinProxy is that a Proxy Server by nature caches web pages automatically What this means is if one of the machines visits www.support4free.com, WinProxy will cache or keep a copy of the site so that if either of the machines tries again, it will load from the Proxy Server instead of having to reload the page from the Internet In addition to caching, installing Proxy software gives your home or office network an added level of protection because it acts as a kind of firewall This keeps intruders out, which should be a concern for anyone that has a home or office network that is connected to the Internet Some of the other features of WinProxy include site blacklisting (blocking specific web sites), activity logging and time of day access (Big Brother stuff!), and services authorization (Internet usage may be enabled and monitored on an individual and/or site basis).

As long as the computer that has the connection to the Internet is a Windows 95/98/NT based system, the client computers can be running the MacOs, Linux, Unix or any other TCP/IP compatible operating system If you have never dealt with network protocols or dont know your TCP/IP from your elbow, you may have some time invested in getting it up and running But, once you do, I think it will be well worth the effort You might even learn something really valuable!

You can get a free 30-day trial version of WinProxy at www.winproxy.com WinProxy Lite is a 3 user version (supports up to 3 machines) and sells for $59.95 They also have an unlimited user product with different levels of support You can contact a real live human being in the sales department for any further questions at 888-WinProxy (888-946-7769)

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on June 30, 1999