How to set up a direct connection between MacBook Pro and PC?
July 21, 2007 7:36 PM   Subscribe

How can I set up a direct connection between my older pc that has windows xp and my new macbook pro?

The problem is, my college only allows 1 connection to the internet per person in a dorm, so using a router/splitter is out the question. Since the ethernet slot on my PC is going to be used by an internet hook-up, how can I easily share data between the two sans ethernet (at least without the ethernet slot on the PC)?

Is there a usb-firewire or usb-usb crossover cable out there? I haven't had any luck searching the web.
posted by zenja72 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
er, usb ethernet?
posted by dorian at 7:44 PM on July 21, 2007

USB Ethernet Adapter? Or, put another NIC in a spare PCI slot.
posted by CaptainZingo at 7:45 PM on July 21, 2007

This might work. I have never used one before though.
USB to USB file transsfer cable. I have seen them at Wal-mart before. They carry a different brand there.

Not sure if this link will work. It is not correct in preview.

posted by Climber at 7:51 PM on July 21, 2007

Spend $10 and put another NIC in your old PC, and then enable internet connection sharing on the PC. That's what it's for.

Having said that, that's also what routers and hubs are for. If your college can somehow determine you're using one (visual inspection??), I suppose they'll do the same for another NIC. By which, I mean to say, how the hell do they determine if you've got a hub?
posted by pompomtom at 8:11 PM on July 21, 2007

pompomtom - assuming they're running smart network switches, they can have an SNMP alarm triggered if multiple MAC addresses (the ID # of the ethernet card) appear on a single network port.

OP - you don't want some shonky usb/usb thing, and IP over firewire is a pain... the easiest solution is to buy a little NAT router (most current wireless access points will do the job) and have it be the "single device" your college sees... plug everything else into the LAN side of the router and you're golden...
posted by russm at 8:25 PM on July 21, 2007

well, the school may require some stupid-ass authentication software be running on the pc to even connect to the network. this is becoming more and more common.

using a router obviously would not get around this. a 2nd nic (pci, usb or otherwise) and using windows internet connection sharing most likely would.
posted by dorian at 8:26 PM on July 21, 2007

russm: does ICS not defeat that? I'd've thought the reported MAC address would just be that of the PC connected the the 'wall'.

(OP: sorry if I'm crapping in your thread - but an extra NIC is going to be far cheaper than a router)
posted by pompomtom at 8:36 PM on July 21, 2007

You could also buy a cheap firewall-router (D-link is a good brand) and plug both computers into that. This will give you the added benefit of being able to surf the internet from bed, too, if you spring for a wireless one.
posted by Electrius at 9:37 PM on July 21, 2007

Having said that, that's also what routers and hubs are for. If your college can somehow determine you're using one (visual inspection??)

If you buy a wireless router, make sure you disable or secure your wireless network. Otherwise a whole lot of laptops in a rough sphere around you will start trying to connect through your port.

When I worked for my school's ISP we didn't have a problem with routers, but we had an enormous problem with people who ran unsecured wireless networks. We were able to track them down because the people connecting through wireless would inevitably call tech support to complain about slow speeds. After we knew a router was in the area we would send someone with a wifi finder to walk around, and that person would work over the phone with someone in ops who would check for unusual spikes of traffic in the area, among other things. Generally, it wasn't very hard to find the culprit.

Also, don't plug your router in backwards, unless you want to start serving DHCP to an entire switches worth of customers. Someone did this once in the one of the dorms, and it was almost an entire day of non service before anybody called us. Needless to say, that person wasn't exactly the most popular on the floor after that.
posted by tracert at 9:44 PM on July 21, 2007

Response by poster: So, having the university's rule in mind (and having a standard university's detection ability in mind), would it be better to use another NIC or setup a NAT router?

I should mention that they don't allow any wireless connections/routers.
posted by zenja72 at 9:59 PM on July 21, 2007

Router is fine, just disable or secure the wireless and set it up right. If your school does mac registration, then your router must have the ability to clone your desktops mac address. Your ISP shouldn't be able to tell the difference. (Incidentally, if that works, then you can also use mac address cloning to get an Xbox online for fun times. This is handy if you know anybody who brought one, but doesn't want to buy a router.)

Another NIC + ICS is also fine, but for that your desktop must always be on for the laptop to have connection. Also you need a wire, which sucks.

Since both work, it's up to you to decide what you think will best suit your needs. The router is more expensive, I guess, but not much more. Generally, I'd say get the router, if only because it's more useful than another nic in the long term.
posted by tracert at 10:39 PM on July 21, 2007

pompomtom, odinsdream - yes, I know... I was:

a) assuming the OP is not overly tech savvy (since they asked this question), and may not want the hastle of installing and configuring multiple NICs

b) thinking that since OP has a new shiny apple laptop with wireless built in, getting a wireless base station that will work as a NAT router would solve the connection sharing issue, plus let that wireless card be put to use...
posted by russm at 4:30 AM on July 22, 2007

You can use a firewire cable. No crossover is required. Google "firewire mac xp" and you should find a tutorial rapidly.
posted by Netzapper at 8:36 AM on July 22, 2007

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