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I have two macs right next to each other. They are both on the same network and I can see both of them with a KVM switch and VNC (when the KVM is too annoying). However, I'd like a faster network connection between them, perhaps with low security. Is it possible to somehow use a cross-over cable to connect them, and then share things ONLY through that connection? Would that be faster, generally speaking, than my Wifi network (router is 5 years old at least)?

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You don't need a special cable, the network cards can do the wire crossing on their own. Also, if you have Firewire on both sides, a host-to-host Firewire cable is a possibility (and might even be faster than Ethernet). – Gilles Oct 11 '10 at 19:24
@Gilles holy cow, I had no idea... that explains why I can't find a cross-over cable at any of the local shops! I was just about to order it... regarding firewire, that's a great possibility too. I'll check that out right now (I hope that a host-to-host cable is not special in any sense). – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 15:14
@Gilles, firewire rocks, but is there any way to STOP the network sharing from happening on the Wifi connection? I only want to share via firewire. – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 15:24
Every FireWire device is expected to be smart enough to control the connection, so there's no such thing as a specific "host-to-host" cable; all FireWire connections are host-to-host. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 12 '10 at 15:40
@Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, thanks! I actually just hooked it up and tried it, worked with a Firewire 400 cable with no setup at all. But now I want to try Ethernet because I think it will be about 2+ times as fast. I only have Firewire 400 on one of the computers. – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 15:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes. To have them share across that connection, make sure you drag the ethernet connection to the top slot in the service order. Go to system preferences --> network. Click the little settings gear at the bottom of the list and choose "Set Service Order". It will likely already be first but it can't hurt.

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So you're saying that the sharing will only happen for the first connection in the service order? – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 17:02
correct... it chooses the connection to use based on the service order and what is available through that service. so if it's able to connect to the other mac with the first service, it uses it. if it tries to connect to the internet, it goes through the service order as well, until it finds the first connection that is valid, which would be the wifi. – Robert S Ciaccio Oct 12 '10 at 17:08
@calavera, thanks for that. I see that I've been unclear. What I'm worried about is exposing the services (VNC and AFP server)... I ONLY want to expose them to the ethernet connection, NOT to the wifi connection. – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 21:29
@Yar: ahh.... let me think about that a bit and get back with you. – Robert S Ciaccio Oct 13 '10 at 1:07
Thanks @calavera, looking forward to it! – Dan Rosenstark Oct 13 '10 at 21:21

The connection will be much faster, and as long as you use the address given to the wired connection (or set the wired connection as the gateway for the other wireless address) apps will naturally use it.

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But I would want apps to use the wifi connection to connect to the world. Do I need to do anything special to split these functions? – Dan Rosenstark Oct 11 '10 at 17:37
No. The default gateway would still be the wireless connection. Only apps connecting directly to the other machine would use the wired connection. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 11 '10 at 17:39
that's perfect. I've decided to go with Firewire, which works, but is there any way to STOP the network sharing from happening across Wifi? I only want sharing with the firewire connection. – Dan Rosenstark Oct 12 '10 at 15:24
That I don't know. Presumably yes, but I don't know where that would be specified. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 12 '10 at 15:39
@Yar: I said how to do that in my answer... – Robert S Ciaccio Oct 12 '10 at 16:31

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