I have a friend who has several PCs in his basement ... one each for him, the
wife, each kid.  They are all networked so that any PC can use any printer,
but in practical reality they do not have spooling.  It is "Hey Dad, can I
have the use of the graphics printer" & "Mom, I am done with the regular
printer now & you can use it now."

They have a nice big warm basement.  Around the outer wall are book cases
containing software products & computer books & sundry other stuff you
normally find in a well stocked basement such as a refrigerator with
refreshments, and a couple couches, and toilet.

A success story where a technology company funded itself by selling stock to
employees, then went public, stock skyrocketed & that particular employee
diversified his stock holdings.

The PCs are in a circle, or more like a rectangle, such that people sitting
at them have their backs to the basement walls & they can have family
conversations with each other over & between the monitors etc.  The printers
are in a cluster ... they have a graphics printer, a decent speed letter
quality printer, a backup printer because something is often down.  To me,
this arrangement bespeaks a level of management challenge that probably is
more than the average family wishes to add.

I have cable modem on my home PC.  Got it about 6 months ago.

This means I theoretically am connected to internet ALL the time, but I not
actually using internet stuff all the time.  Main reason I got this was that
my old dial up connection was EXTREMELY FLAKY and so slow you would not
believe it.  Now this new deal is A LITTLE FLAKY so I kept my old connection.
 This means that 2-3 times a month I flip from the new deal to the old deal
because the new one is currently down.

When the cable connection goes down, usually rebooting my PC solves it.
Sometimes just using the old connection for about 1/2 hour is like kicking
the tires on the new connection & it rebounds.
We can "reboot" the cable connection by pulling the plug on the cable box &
reconnecting it.
When all else fails, I call tech support at the cable company.

As one PC connected to one Cable Modem, having a software firewall seems
satisfactory.  I did toy with the notion of also getting a hardware firewall.

So one alternative for your friend, assuming his budget is such that he does
not want to purchase multiple copies of internet connection so you paying
$60.00 a person PC, is to think in terms of the Cable connection going to an
external firewall hardware then A/B switches with extension cord connections
to the various PCs so that only ONE person in the household at a time can be
using the internet ... they would have to research how long you can have a
signal cable & have it still work & where splicing is a practicality.

Think in terms of cable from cable company comes into the household to some
kind of a box that you buy from someone other than the cable company, like
Radio Shack.  Then from there there are cables through the house to the
individual locations where the various different PCs located, like kids
bedrooms or whatever.

I do not know if this is doable, I just throwing out the notion that I think
the technology supports a cable like from cable TV company going a heck of a
longer distance (it looks a bit like twinax) than the signal cable from modem
to PC.

You need to use the internet.
Walk to where the box is located.
See to whom it now is connected.
Go visit that person PC location.

Hey Mom, I would like to use the internet.
Well, I will be about 2 hours & I will let you know when I am done.

Then by family concensus, you flip the connection so the cable is now talking
to a different family member PC.

There may be some contractual & legal matters with respect to the cable
company & IP addresss.

MacWheel99@aol.com (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac)

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