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FireWire point-to-point link for networking

forged (206127) writes | more than 11 years ago

The Internet 12

Windows ME and XP support FireWire (ieee1394) for networking. Linux too says this page. I never really thought about the usefullness, until this morning.Windows ME and XP support FireWire (ieee1394) for networking. Linux too says this page. I never really thought about the usefullness, until this morning.

Out of the 5 in total, my main 2 computers are on separate networks: one for VPN to work (my email), and one directly attached to the ADSL router for my wife's personal email and browsing. The problem is that the PC's cannot see each other since they are in different networks, yet they stand two metres apart and I wanted to share my printer and scanner for the other PC to benefit.

This morning I bought a 4.5m FireWire 6-6 cable for 25 in order to connect the two PC's back-to-back using the firewire ports. The setup was very easy: assign a static IP address each from RFC1918, and the link was useable just after that at 400Mbits/s. The joy of copying files at OC-3 speed at home is great =)

Anyone else has tried this yet ? If not, and if you ever need a quick, cheap, reliable and easy to setup networking solution for a couple of PC's, think about it. These guys have thought about it for quite some time, it seems.

Update 13 May: Someone posted Apple: IP over Firewire Updated.

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12 comments

just pt-to-pt, right? (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716055)

This is just for pt-to-pt, right?

Still, its very nice for sharing a printer over vpn (an issue I currently have...)

however my VPN machine is a P166 win98 beast... its just not worth putting fire-wire in there.

yes (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716156)

Sorry I replied [slashdot.org] but used the wrong button.

Yes, only p2p (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716098)

That's right the connection is point-to-point, and a firewire card is not expensive nowadays (sub-$100). But win98 has no support for IP over 1394, that's only starting with ME and of course in XP.

In your particular case, you could get away for cheaper by just adding a second NIC to your PC's, or by moving the cables around when needed (that's what I did for months until today ;)

Firewire hub (1)

bubblegoose (473320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716103)

At work we tested 4 computers on a cheap ($30) Firewire hub, the setup worked great.

Then I tried to hook two computers into the same firewire drive, don't try this at home folks. The firewire drive started making a loud beeping noise and never worked again. Played dumb and got the manufacturer to take it back. Their newer drive only include one firewire port now.

Knew it was fast (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716396)

I knew it was fast, I just didn't know it was that fast:) I might have to pick up a firewire card for my Linux box. After I figure out what card to rip out... Sound card, maybe?

Nah, screw it. I'd rather put the money into a new processor and video card for my game box. Still, it does sound interesting. Maybe if I ever replace my current server/firewall/gateway machine.

Re:Knew it was fast (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5716973)

Well 400 Mbits/s sounds impressive in theory, in practice though it's only marginally faster than FastEthernet. Practical transfers I have played with (100MB worth of a file transfered in 6 seconds) show an actual transfer rate closer to 150-200 Mbits/s, which is only somewhat better. I guess the difference between theoratical and practical can come from the CPU available, protocol (encapsultaion) overhead, ACKs, packets fragmentation, etc.

People really serious about performance will consider GigE with a hardware TCP/IP implementation onboard the NIC, but in my case all I wanted to do was share some files and a printer ;)

Re:Knew it was fast (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5717115)

Links to said hardware TCP/IP implementations:

*sigh* now I want one...

Re:Knew it was fast (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5717459)

If it is only a hair faster than FastE than I am definately going to save the money for a new video card:)

Yes (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5720498)

The video card will thank you ;)

Re:Yes (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5721245)

Right now, I've got a GeForce 3-500. At the time, it was much cheaper than the 'real' GF4 options, and much better performance than the dumbed down GF4MX or whatever it was. I don't think it's causing any problems or slowdowns. I just want it:)

The extra RAM I threw at the machine a month or two ago was quite helpful. Probably moreso than an incremental video card or CPU update will be:) But, I've got some other extra parts. With extra parts from the coming upgrades, I can put together a new machine, possibly for the wife (if the braille IO device is forthcoming from the state).

OS X, too (1)

phyxeld (558628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5747282)

There is a beta "IP over FireWire" kext available for Mac OS X, too. I tried it shortly after it came out, to connect my iBook to an iMac in a room with only one ethernet cable. I installed the beta on both machines, and checked the Internet Connection Sharing box on the iMac. And it worked! I went on AIM, and started telling people about how I was connected to the internet over a firewire cable. Then, I started copying some files between the machines, to see how fast it was.

Then the iMac had a kernel panic.
(A window saying "You need to restart your computer" in several languages, plus my MAC address).

I haven't really played with it too much since then, but I hope it's out of beta soon, and doesn't kernel panic when you transfer lots of data :)

Re:OS X, too (1)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#5747364)

Too bad for the crash :(

I tried the Linux implementation (eth1394) which didn't work for me. The FW link was seen as eth1 after the proper module was installed, I could configure an IP address, but no luck pinging the other side which was the XP machine. Between the XP and ME machines, it just works (and feels almost not right ;)

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