Ad hoc networking

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The trouble with Bluetooth

Bluetooth adapters are a standard feature in PowerBooks and an option for iBooks. The more widely available version of Bluetooth pushes 1 Mbps of data across a short-range network; the newer Bluetooth 2.0+EDR runs at 3 Mbps. Bluetooth has some advantages in moving files around, but its speed might limit its utility.

Because Bluetooth requires special software, you cannot mix Bluetooth with one of the other connection methods discussed in this article.

To connect machines over Bluetooth, you first must pair them. The pairing process securely makes sure that both computers want to talk to each other. Once that’s accomplished, the two machines use Bluetooth File Exchange (Applications: Utilities) to transfer files.

Unlike with the other aforementioned ad hoc networks, only two computers can exchange data at a time; however, you can set up pair relationships between multiple computers.

Impromptu Internet

Hooking up your ad hoc network to the Internet turns it into a standard LAN (local area network). Because you can use only one Ethernet or Wi-Fi interface at a time, if you’re connecting to the Net via Ethernet, you’ll have to share access with your ad hoc network via Wi-Fi (and vice versa). (Adding a second Ethernet port via a PC Card will work, but OS X can’t seem to handle a second Wi-Fi adapter.)

To connect to the Internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, follow these steps:

1. Open System Preferences, select the Sharing icon, and click on the Internet tab.

2. Choose your Internet-connection method from the Share Your Connection Using pop-up menu.

3. In Panther, you then have to select just one other network over which you’ll share your connection. In Tiger, you can choose one or more interfaces.

4. Click on Start, and you’re ready to go.

This method provides assigned but private addresses to computers on your ad hoc network—these computers can send data but can’t be discovered from the rest of the Internet—so it creates a passive but effective firewall.

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