Can I Connect Two Laptops With an Ethernet Cord?

Written by nick davis
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Connecting desktop computers and laptops to a home network allows you to share a Internet connection and files with other users in the house. There are several ways to connect two laptops together. You don't have to use a router or another device--all you need is a Ethernet cable and a few minutes to set up a "mini network" that can share files between your two laptops.

CAT5 Crossover Cable

To connect your two laptops with a Ethernet cable, you will have to purchase a CAT5 crossover cable or you can make your own--see the Resources section below for links to a vendor who sells crossover cables and on how to build your own. The crossover cable has the ability to transmit data between two computers. Regular Ethernet cables will not work because they only communicate one way. Purchase the crossover cable and connect one end to the Ethernet port of one of your laptops and the other end to the second laptop's Ethernet port.

Configuring Laptop I

After the two computers have been connected, open your the first laptop's "Control Panel" and click on "System" then click on "Computer Name." Values should be entered in the "Computer Description," "Full Computer Name" and "Workgroup" boxes. If not, enter a "Computer Description" for this laptop, enter a "Computer Name" different from the second laptop's name and then enter a "Workgroup Name." This workgroup name should be same on both laptops. Click "OK" once the values have been entered. Now click on "Network Connections" then right click on "Local Area Connection." Next, click on "Properties," scroll down to "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click on the box by this option to place a check mark. Now click on "Properties," then click "Use the following IP address" and key in "192.168.0.1" in the "IP Address" box and "255.255.255.0" in the "Subnet Mask" box. Do not enter values in the other boxes. Now click "OK." Close all remaining boxes and shut down the first laptop.

Configuring Laptop II

Turn on the second laptop if it is not running and open the "Control Panel" and click on "System" then click on "Computer Name." Values should be entered in the "Computer Description," "Full Computer Name" and "Workgroup" boxes. If not, enter a "Computer Description" for this laptop, enter a "Computer Name" different from the first laptop's name and then enter a "Workgroup Name." This workgroup name should be same on both laptops. Click "OK" once the values have been entered. Now click on "Network Connections" then right click on "Local Area Connection." Next, click on "Properties," scroll down to "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click on the box by this option to place a check mark. Now click on "Properties," then click "Use the following IP address" and key in "192.168.0.2" in the "IP Address" box and "255.255.255.0" in the "Subnet Mask" box. Do not enter values in the other boxes. Now click "OK." Close all remaining boxes and shut down the second laptop.

Testing the Connection

Turn on both laptops and let the Ethernet connection establish. You should see the "Local Area Connection" icon down in the tray by the clock. Both computers in that icon should be lit. Click on "Start" and "My Network Places" and the second laptop name should appear on the screen. On the second laptop, the first laptop's name should appear on the "My Network Places" screen. If the laptops are not showing, check your connection cables and your configuration. Also make sure the "Workgroup" name on both laptops are the same.

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