How to Bridge a Phone Modem to Ethernet on a PC

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A little more than 10 percent of Americans and 15 percent of those who use the Internet at home subscribe through dial-up services. Dial-up lines involve connecting your computer to an analog modem through the use of a phone cable, then connecting that modem to your household phone line. This works well if you have a single computer that needs to access the Internet, but line sharing for a home network (through a router) requires a more substantial line, such as the use of Ethernet. This transition can be made with a special adapter that normally sells for less than $30.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone-to-Ethernet adapter
  • Ethernet card/plug
  • Disconnect your modem from your personal computer. It will be connected by a standard five- to seven-wire phone cord. You can leave the end connected to the modem in place. Ideally, this cord will not be longer than five to six feet, as any longer could degrade the signal and quality of your connection.

  • Insert the phone-to-Ethernet adapter into your personal computer's Ethernet port. For most models, a red light will turn on the adapter, indicating you are plugged in but not connected to the Internet.

  • Connect the phone cord from your modem into the adapter. This will activate a yellow light at first, indicating that you have an outside connection but it is not active yet.

  • Press the reset light on the adapter. This will perform an IPCONFIG /release and then /renew command line. The button is usually on the front or top of the adapter with an arrow symbol to identify it. The light will turn green when it has successfully accessed the Internet from your modem.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can connect multiple modems and lines as well as cable and DSL connections to your network. Windows XP and newer operating systems will identify that you have several channels to the Internet and route and prioritize traffic accordingly.
  • While you can connect your modem directly to your PC in this method, it is often better to connect your modem to a firewall/router piece of hardware first and then connect your PC to the router. This will add an additional layer of security and can often manage your switches better than the software contained in Windows operating systems. This means that it is faster and takes better advantage of your limited connection.

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