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Getting Online: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written By: J. Michael Neal

For years, the Internet has been touted as the biggest revolution to hit PC gaming since the third dimension. The Internet and PC gaming have become so intertwined that itís almost impossible to separate the two. Massively multiplayer online titles have become bigger and more ambitious with every coming year, multiplayer deathmatches have become as standard as 3D acceleration, modding communities periodically breathe new life into nearly every title, and increasing broadband penetration allows more and more gamers to enjoy lag-free fragfests on a global scale. During all this, however, consoles have been a bit left behind. Most consoles have stayed strictly offline affairs until now, and what few systems that have tested the online waters were met with failure.

All this is about to change, however, with the launch of Sonyís Network Adaptor, and the subsequent launch of Microsoftís Xbox Live. These two gaming juggernauts are betting big and rolling high on online gaming, and with millions of users as an install-base, and very deep corporate pockets as a support network, both companies are determined to tough it through a rocky quarter or three in order to lay the framework for later systems.

By now you are probably thinking, "What does all this mean to me?" Well, if youíve been strictly a console gamer all your life it means that you are about to connect with over 30 million others worldwide and bask in the warm glowing warming glow of online gaming. But first, youíll need the right equipment. For the time being, Sony has taken the "free" route, meaning you donít have to pay any extra monthly fees to get online if you already have Internet access. All you need is the official Network Adaptor and an online compatible game or two. Then you just use your existing Internet connection, follow the instructions on the included start-up disc, and youíre online!

There is one in-between step, however, that is never fully illustrated by publications and press releases; itís the step that explains just how the heck you are going to share an internet connection between your PC and your PS2. Well, if you have no problems with daily inconvenience, you can just share one modem between your computer and your Playstation by manually switching the Ethernet cable between the two. If you already own a router, hub, or switch you could just plug the PS2 into a free port on that and youíd be all set. But most of us will be forced to go out, buy a router, and set up a network for the first time. If the thought of this makes your palms sweat, your heart race, and your mind close to the whole Network Adaptor idea, think again! Setting up a network within your home is easier, and cheaper than you might expect, and Iím going to show you how! The following will be a step-by-step guide on exactly what you need to do to get your router and network adaptor out of the box and online in no time.

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