Yep, if your using a computer as a host machine, using ICS or other NAT/Proxy software, then it HAS to be one for the others to have connectivity. It is a DHCP server and the other machines are in fact looking for it and an IP. If it isn't available then yes, it will take some time to login after the DHCP timeout.
As for the speed issue. What OS? Stack might need to be optimized. Also could make sure you have the most up to date firmware on the Access Point though I doubt that is it at all.
If your have ICS and your computer is connected to the modem, setting static IPs won't help. You should go out and just pick up a wireless router. It's money, but you won't have to deal with ICS and having your computer on so everyone else can get on.
If you did set the static IP, the time out problem would go away.. I guess that answers your question instead of thinking all computers needed internet.
I don't mess with ICS too much.. I find it bothersome.
But you should be able to make a diskette that will do all the work for you. You run the ICS on the main computer. It'll create a diskette that you take to the other computers and follow some steps.
All it's doing is setting the other computers IP address and I think it sets the gateway to the main PC, 192.168.0.xxx which is the first PC ICS was run on to make the diskette.
So you should have something like:
IP: 192.168.0.1 (your computer
Other PCs I think should look like:
192.168.0.2 & 3
I haven't used ICS in a while though.. it just needs to make the PC on the same network (IP and subnet) and then use your PC as the gateway, which when it sees it's trying to hit certain ports, it'll forward it out via your modem.
If you're using Windows XP SP2 pings might be blocked..
Yeah you're not having any luck with this thing.. Have you made the diskette on a Win XP computer? You should be able to use that diskette on all computers and it'll configure them all use to the one computer. I'll look into it some more to see what settings are all adjusted when using ICS.
You can try setting your NICs to 100mbps/Full Duplex.. that will make your network operate at the fastest speeds over Wire.
You might want to use Cnet.com or toast.net to check the performance of your internet connection to make sure it's not the problem.