Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have been a Windows XP user for the last few years, but I recently bought a 15'' MacBook Pro for research purposes. I would like to set up a no-hassle Mac/PC Network at home so that I can access the internet on both computers and hardware between computers (i.e. a harddrive, or a mouse/keyboard with Synergy).

Unfortunately, I live in a dorm with silly network restrictions so a solution is not straightforward. In particular:

  • The dorm has a wired and wireless network, both which provide an internet connection.
  • The wired network provides way faster internet (download speeds of 15 MB/s vs. 2 MB/s on wireless), so I would like to somehow exploit this, at least on my PC for Bittorrent :)
  • Multiple devices can connect to the wireless network, but cannot "see" each other on the network (so software like Synergy would not work).
  • Only 1 MAC address can connect to the wired network at a time.

Ideally I would just connect a wireless router to the wired network and then have both the Mac and the PC on that, but the 1 MAC address restriction will not allow the both computer to access the internet simultaneously. I cannot think of a way to bypass this restriction (though I'm not network savvy), so I am planning to create a private no-internet network to allow the devices to see each other and share hardware.

Here are some thoughts. I would appreciate any feedback at all!

If I build a private wireless network: (first choice)

  • I will use a wireless router that is not connected to the internet. My PC and Mac will be connected to each other wirelessly. I can then connect the PC to the internet via a wired network, but then the Mac will not have internet access as its wireless card is already in use. In this case, could I stream internet access from the PC to the Mac via the wireless network? Or could I buy a USB wireless card for the Mac so that it can connect to both my private network and the dorm network?

If I build a private wired network: (second choice)

  • Then both the PC and the Mac will connect to the internet wirelessly, which means I cannot take advantage of the faster download speeds.
share|improve this question
Why not use a router to connect to the internet and connect your PCs to the router? You could even use a old PC and run a linux on it to act as a router, if you don't care for the time consumed for configuration and the cost for the power the system uses? – Darokthar Mar 5 '11 at 22:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you use an actual wireless router (not an access point), your other devices' MAC addresses aren't exposed to the outside. It will appear (almost) as though there's just one device: Your router.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for this. Using a router was my first thought, but the Residential IT people argued that it would not work due to the MAC address issue. I should have not trusted them (they were very anal about setting up a private network within the dorm) and gone ahead and done it anyways. – Berk U. Mar 6 '11 at 5:52

Use a wireless router. Only the router's MAC address is exposed on the network. I'm at UC Berkeley and we have a similar network setup. I recently purchased a Netgear WNDR3700 to connect to my wired network. I use DD-WRT firmware so I can expose my local network DNS-SD (aka Bonjour) services to the rest of the dorm network. This works really well for me.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for this. I ended up getting a Cisco/Linksys E2000 router to use with DD-WRT. Hopefully it'll just work and simplify my life. Go bears! – Berk U. Mar 6 '11 at 5:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.