[OT] Routerless Network?

Bill Marriott wjm at wjm.org
Tue May 9 13:11:57 EDT 2006


You can do it but it may be more time consuming than it's worth because of 
the potential "gotchas."

First, not any Ethernet cable will do; you typically need to have a 
"crossover" cable. Most modern routers and switches (hubs) auto-detect and 
compensate for cables of either wiring flavor, but most Ethernet adapters on 
PCs do not. An appropriate cable can cost $20.

The second gotcha is configuring the network on both machines. If the Mac is 
currently working fine with the wireless network (you say there's one in the 
area, but not whether you use it), it may be a hassle to undo those settings 
and configure them for the PC-to-PC net you would create. Each computer will 
need to be on the same subnet (e.g.:, and each will need to 
have a static IP address. For example, and

While they are hooked up to each other, neither computer will have Internet 
access unless the one machine has a second net connection and you set up 
Internet Connection sharing. (Third gotcha.) Setting up ICS is fairly 

On the other hand, good USB WiFi adapters can be had for under $30; I've 
even seen them as low as $20. They do work with Airport hubs. I've found 
these little guys can be extremely useful. If it's a choice between getting 
the correct cable and getting a WiFi dongle, I'd go with the dongle.


Scott Rossi asked,
> Apologies for the OT question.  I have an XP system and an OSX Mac sitting
> near each other that I'm wondering if I can network without using a router
> [...] 

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