The only software you'll need (in my case at least) is Windows and possibly the disk that comes with the network cards. My setup is very similar to Neils (Jenz).
Who are you getting the broadband from? Blueyonder say they will only support the connection to one PC, so they probably won't conect up your router for you, you'll have to do that yourself when they've gone.
I have recently done this for my uncle using 2 network cards and the cable. Got all the info from talkbroadband.com, step by step instruction of how to set it up on different windows operating systems.
I tried the 2 network cards option using ICS and depending on what you want to do with it it might be ok or not. If you want to play games through it then get a router, if its just for basic web browsing it will work ok but keep in mind you'll have to keep the first computer on.
I now use a router (Netgear RP114) which is simple to use and wonderful, it makes things much easier and does offer the extra layer of firewall, although a software firewall (Zonealarm) is also recommended. It also offers the option of adding extra computers at a later date.
I would go the router/hub route if you can - it's a lot nicer than internet connection sharing, as you'll always need to PC connected to the internet switched on.
We're only on ISDN here (too far from the exchange for ADSL), and I use an ISDN router which has a 4 port hub included. Cabled up the house in various places, and it works beautifully. Switxh any PC on, and instant internet access.
For broadband, it will be a similar setup, except you'll need a cable router as mentioned above. The router will have a web like interface to it, accessed through an internal IP address. Here you can enter the connection details such as usernames, passwords etc. Then set your PCs to connect to the internet via LAN, and set the gateway as the router's IP address. Whenever a PC tried to get internet, it will hit the router, which will then pass on the request to the cable modem, and off you go.
A little more expensive, perhaps (cost of router), but well worth it. Good website for more info is this one - lots of info as well as stuff to buy. http://www.dabs.com always seem to be pretty cheap for this sort of thing.
On a related security note, a handy web site for checking any vulnerabilities is this one - click on the Shields Up link - it will test if your PC is open to any attacks (not viruses). I found my router (which does NAT - Network Address Translation) was a good defence against this sort of thing.
So I've hooked up my Linksys DSL router and the actual network is working fine I think. The thing is, I've just realised my Acatel Speedtouch broadband modem doesn't seem to have an ethernet port and therfore cannot connect to the router's WAN port.....
What do I do now? I don't need to get a new modem do I??!
Which Linksys did you get? It sounds like you got the cable/dsl fastlink. This will only take an Ethernet connection, you need to get a router with a DSL modem in-built, or one which accepts a USB connection. Personally, I would get a router/modem combo as going through the USB modem into the router is likely to cause a little bit of ping disturbance
At present I have one PC linked directly to my cable modem via ethernet. I also have a 4 port hub. If I connect the uplink port of the hub to the modem and any of the four ports to the PC network card the PC can still see the modem. No problem.
If I were to connect a second PC to the hub,
1. would the 2 PCs see each other?
2. would the second PC be able to see the cable modem?
I guess the NIC MAC address in the second PC would have to be registered with the ISP for this to work.
Finally, what is the difference between a hub and a router? Is it just that a router has an uplink port? The documentation for my RS hub never mentions the word router.
A router is an advanced hub (that is the easiest analogy I can think of).
Basically, a hub just connects PCs together, when you send a packet to a hub it distributes that packet to all clients it is connected to. It is up to the client to say it belongs to them.
With a router, it routes the packet to the owner.
Routers are generally more reliable in terms of packet loss etc.
Also, they provide more complex networking abilities like NAT and DHCP etc.
If you run the cable modem into the hub, you should be able to connect both PCs, however you may run into problems when the network traffic gets high as the hub will be distributing the packets to all clients connected to it. I have never really tried using a hub I cannot see why it wouldn't work, just there may be performance issues.
i have adsl modem - hub (uplink) - wireless access point - pc upstairs and pc downstairs
coming out of the hub i can connect my laptop via ethernet cable and they will all see each other and the modem.
oh and i have a laptop with wireless card running redhat 7.3 and that is fine too.
i have the adsl modem set up for nat and all pc's have dhcp and dns set up for auto.
i have not enterd one ip address for any of the pcs and the only thing i have had to do is set up the ID for the wireless network for each of the machines ( having said that i didnt for the linux laptop , it just finds a wirelss connection and jumps on board , oh how insecure things really are ).