I'm considering purchasing an iBook with an AirportExtreme card in it so that i can (hopefully) network my pc and my new mac together super easily and still be super mobile. I was wondering, since I have a cable internet connection and leave my pc all pretty much all the time, how difficult would it be for me to get my mac & windows box to communicate so I can share my internet connection and my files between them from anywhere in my home.

I'm also assuming that I can do pretty much all of this from any standard wireless network card that I just plug into my pc.

What worries am I going to have doing this, and what do I need to get to ensure that it all goes together smoothly so I can just come home from uni with my laptop, open it up downstairs and start checking my emails as i relax and not have to worry about walking upstairs to touch my windows machine at all.

Any suggestions on software (open source is preferred - i'm a poor uni student who likes to code) or articles I should get/read would be appreciated as well as your own tips (to tell you the truth I'm hella-excited to be getting an iBook and can't wait to play with osX).

Thanks, n30n.


I would love to help you with this, but need to know more about your setup. I assume that the Mac is going to be OS X, and the Windows XP machine is already there and running. What I need to know is 1) how knowledgable are you with the systems, and 2) how your network is going to be wired.

Once we get that figured out, I can help you with the details.


I know my WindowsXP machine like the back of my hand, I've been using windows for 7+ years. I'm not totally sure about the mac, I don't know much about it's inner workings, etc. but I'd like to learn about them.

I'm thinking of setting up the network with a 802.11g pci card in my pc, and my iBook will have an Airport Extreme card.

So it's going to be an ad hoc network, right? That is- no WAP, just the two machines directly connected via wifi with the XP box acting as your Internet gateway. If that's the case, you'll need to configure Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) on the XP box; many tutorials for doing so can be found online.

There's a lot of useful info concerning OS X -> Win XP networking/filesharing in some of the links returned by the following Google search:



I was hoping he had a Wireless Router so that the XP and X boxes would be peers, and not one dependant on the other.


Yeah, that would be the better way to go IMHO.

hahaha and how many billions of dollars would that cost me?

i am but a poor humble student.


My wireless router cost me ~$89.00 (Buffalo Tech, 802.11g -- works great!). 1 billion = 1 x 10 ^ 9, so your router would cost you 8.9 x 10 ^ -10 billions of dollars, or more properly written 0.00000000089 billion dollars.

If you are getting an iBook with a Airport Card already, you can avoid 2 pizza parties (~$20 each) and 2 cases of beer for two weeks, and get the router. :) That will be easier than trying to get the Windows XP box working with all the firewall modifications and headaches.

It is the smart thing to do.


hahahah i see.

i guess i'm going to have to have a look around at the hardware that i can get then.

thanks for the tips guys.


In all seriousness, it is better to not have one computer (the mac) depend on another computer (xp) for network access. Your best design will be a wireless router that has a firewall properly configured to pipe the internet into the two computers in parallel, instead of trying to get one to act in the middle.

Besides, if you get a good college project going, and friends have to come over with their laptops, you are all ready to go to get on the net and sit at a kitchen table and get wired in and all set.

Good Luck with this.


If you don't have much money to spend on the project, the cheapest way to do it all around, would be to buy, instead of an 802.11g wireless card, buy a 802.11b router, like a Netgear 4 port wireless router
You shouldn't notice any difference in connection speeds while using the internet. The only real speed difference would be on big data transfers between your PC and mac such as a couple gigs of music files.

As an example, newegg.com has an 802.11b netgear wireless router for $45.99 vs. $69.99 for a linksys PCI 802.11g adapter card. If you already have a cable connection then instead of using the ethernet cord to plug into the cable modem you plug it into the router instead.

I've never had 2 wireless capable computers so I can't tell you how nice that setup would be; all I can say is my setup(PC wired & Apple powerbook w/Airport) serves me very well, was inexpensive, and was easy to get going.


True about the 802.11b vs 802.11g issue; the 802.11b performance should be fine for normal home usage.

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