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Guide for a

Computer to Computer via Ethernet Connection

This is a guide to connect two computers without the need of using a router, switch or hub. There
are two methods of networking between two computers: Physically, using a Ethernet wire or using radio
waves with an Wireless Ad-hoc (also known as Computer-to-Computer or Peer-to-Peer) connection.

Since there’s no router, switch or hub in between them there not a DHCP to assign each computer
an IP address Server and a Default Gateway, you will first have to manually specify an Address for the
Connection and a Default Gateway (not for Internet but for File and Printer Sharing). If you don’t do this,
Windows will look for an Alternative Configuration and give it an Automatic Private IP Address (APIPA)
by default, which although will only give you a “Limited or No Connectivity” status in you network.

The pros to a Crossover Cable connection is that the transfer speed is much faster and reliable than the
wireless speed and requires less configuration steps, but you have to get or make a Crossover cable. On the
other hand the Wireless Connection is frees you having to physically connect the computers and limitations
on distance based wire length, but takes more configuration steps and is slower by today’s standarts

Steps to Manually Specify an IP Address and Default Gateway

Click the Start Button.

Open the Control Panel by clicking on the list, and

double click on “Network Connections” (highlighted).
The Network Connections window will appear.

Right click on the device you want to change the

settings – usually named “Local Area Connection”
for the Crossover Cable or “Wireless Network
Connection” for the Wireless Ad-hoc --
and select ‘Properties’.
The Network Connection Device Properties will appear.

Highlight the item named

‘Internet Protocol TCP/IP’ and click on Properties.

Once the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties dialog

shows up, click on the Alternate Configuration tab.
Select User Configured option and specify the IP Address and
Default gateway of your choice between and

Remember that you need to specify a different address

and a common Default Gateway for each computer.

The Subnet mask will appear automatically

once you enter the IP Address.

Note that the IP Addresses in the Computer #1 (left, and Computer #2 (right, are different
and that the Default gateway ( values are identical.

Once you’re finished, click the OK button.

Now you can proceed connecting plugging the wire

or configure the wireless settings for your routerless network.
Computer-To-Computer Wired Ethernet Connection

Once Steps to manually specify an IP Address and a common Gateway for each computer you can
plug the Ethernet Crossover Cable and start using the network.

A Ethernet Cable is actually a group of 8 insulated wires with another plastic insulation sheet
around them with two RJ-45 jacks on each end. An Ethernet Crossover Cable has the transmit and receive
wires inverted between ends. That way, the computers can communicate between themselves faster since
they don’t have to change the signals on each pin.

You can buy an Ethernet Crossover Cable at any Walmart, Office Depot, Computer or even Home
Depot store, or you can do one by yourself. All you have to do is interchange 4 of the wires as shown on the

Signal Pin Color Color Pin Signal

Transmit + 1 Orange / White Green / White 3 Receive +
Transmit - 2 Orange Green 6 Receive -
Receive + 3 Green / White Orange / White 1 Transmit +
Unused 4 Blue Blue 4 Unused
Unused 5 Blue / White Blue / White 5 Unused
Receive - 6 Green Orange 2 Transmit -
Unused 7 Brown / White Brown / White 7 Unused
Unused 8 Brown Brown 8 Unused

Once you got the cable all you have to do is plug the ends on each computer
Ethernet Network port. (Looks like a phone jack, only bigger).

That’s it, unlike the wireless connection there’s no further configuration needed.
Computer-To-Computer Wireless Connection
In order to create and Ad-hoc Wireless Network both computers need to match the wireless
network name (SSID) and channel. The Windows Wireless Zero Configuration only lets you specify the
SSID and seems to use a default channel. Other wireless configuration applications such as ‘Dell Wireless
Configuration Utility’ are more flexible and easier to use.

These are the steps to configure the network settings using the Windows Wireless Zero Configuration.

Once again, open the Network Connections window and

select your wireless device (usually named “Wireless
Network Connection”).

This time click the “Wireless Networks” Tab, locate the Advanced button and click it.
Make sure the ‘Any available network (access point
preferred).’ is selected and click ‘Close’.

Now you we will proceed to specify the SSID and

a network security key so nobody but the people
you want can access the network.

Click the “Add…” button to open the “Wireless

network properties” dialog.

Enter the name you chose for your network On

the Network name (SSID) and then uncheck ‘The
key is provided for me automatically’ in the
Wireless network key section.
Now enter the security password for your network in the “Network key” and “Confirm network key” fields.
I recommend using a WEP Data encryption for backward compatibility, consequently, for WEP encryption
the key can be only 5 or 13 characters long.

Make sure you the “This is a computer-to-

computer (ad-hoc) network; wireless access
points are not used” option is checked and
click the OK button.
That’s pretty much it for the wireless configuration.
Once the Wireless Network properties are set,
the computer should start looking for each other.

A Note about The Connection Process

Once you finished all the configurations and plugged everything you have to plug, you will notice that it
takes a little longer to acquire a network address than it does with a router in the middle. That’s because
both computer are expecting a DHCP server on the other side to assign them such address.

After a minute or two the computers will stop waiting and go for the settings specified in the Alternate
Configuration in the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties, whether they are an Automatic private IP
address (APIPA) or (in our case) an alternate manually configured (user configured) address.

This is true for both wired and wireless connections.