How Can I Connect My Laptop to My Desktop Internet Connection?

Although laptop computers usually make use of wireless connectivity, connecting one to your desktop Internet connection can also be an option. If you have a cable DSL connection, you can set up your Internet connection so that it can be shared with both your desktop computer and your laptop computer. You can choose to connect through either a wired or a wireless Internet connection, depending on your preference.

Hands with laptop computer and printer
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DHCP Configuration

To avoid conflicts with the IP address, it is best to choose the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) setting when several computers are sharing one Internet connection. To enable this, click on the “Start” menu, load the Control Panel page and choose “Network Connections.” Right-click on “Local Area Connection,” choose “Properties” and, on the “General” tab, click on “Internet Protocol TCP/IP.” Under the “General” tab again, choose “Obtain IP address automatically” and click “OK.” Do these steps on both your desktop and your laptop computer.

Wired Networking

Purchase a switch hub. This will allow you to split the connection into several lines so that it can be used by more than one computer system. A four-port switch hub will do since only two computers will be sharing the network.

Obtain three Ethernet cables. Ethernet cables are used to transmit data from your modem to the computers. Make sure that the modem, switch hub and your two computers are turned off as you do the initial procedures. Attach one end of the first Ethernet cable to the modem and the other end to the switch hub. Attach one end of the second Ethernet cable to a port on your switch hub and the other end to your desktop computer. Laptops usually have a LAN port that lets them connect to cable DSL. Attach one end of the Ethernet cable to the LAN port of your laptop and the other end to the switch hub.

Turn on the modem, switch hub/router and your two computers. Your desktop and laptop computers should automatically connect to the Internet connection.

Wireless Networking

If you are more comfortable with a wireless Internet connection for your laptop, it is also possible to share your Internet connection between your desktop and your laptop computer.

Purchase a wireless router. Common brands of routers include Linksys, D-Link and Netgear.

Turn on the modem, wireless router and desktop computer. Attach the first Ethernet cable from the modem to the “Internet” port of the router and then the second cable from the WAN or WLAN port of the router to the LAN port of your desktop computer.

Open a Web browser using your desktop computer, and type This will direct you to the settings of your router. Configure the settings, and provide a WEP or WPA key for Internet security. Restart your computer.

Turn on your laptop. Make sure that it is enabled for wireless connection. Click “Start,” load the Control Panel and choose “Network Connections.” Right-click on “Wireless Network Connections” and then “View Available Wireless Networks.” Click on the name of your wireless connection, and provide the WEP or WPA key. You will automatically be connected to the wireless Internet connection.