"This week I'll address one of the hot-button issues,
installation. First, here's the simple conclusion of my previous
column: When faced with the problem of using DHCP to make a
connection to the Internet via cable modem or DSL, neither Linux
nor Windows made the process as easy as it should have been.
Windows had the edge in my case, but my problems with Linux were
self-inflicted, since I choose to run the Debian unstable branch.
The easiest way to connect was to hook up a dirt-cheap appliance. I
used a SOHOWARE NBG800. It's a couple years old, and the latest
product is NBG800/A. There are plenty of other dirt-cheap around
you could use, as well, such as the Linksys Etherfast Cable and DSL
router. The various routers run between $50-$100 depending on
features and discounts.
"The easy setup is only one benefit to using cheap routers
instead of a direct connection. Another is that you can easily hook
up multiple computers to your broadband connection. Perhaps the
most important benefit is these routers are better firewalls than
just about any average-to-dummy user could set up on Windows or
Linux, and all the computers in the home or very small business
benefit from the single cheap firewall. All of the units I've tried
use network address translation (NAT, or IP Masquerading) to give
your computers access to the Internet. That isolates your computers
from the 'Net..."