Quick Hack To Connect A Remote PC Using A Wireless Laptop

I had an interesting problem recently. I have my little computer lab way down at the far end of the house in a small bedroom. Way down at the opposite end of the house (it’s a long house) is my music room. The man who built the house intended it to be a dining room, but I can eat food anywhere. I don’t need a special spot for that. I do need a room for musical instruments and a practice room, so there it is.

I put a desktop PC in there because it’s also going to be my recording studio. The problem was getting on my local network– I didn’t want to run 75 feet of cable, and it was going to take a few days to order a wireless NIC. So I came up with a quick slick hack to get connected using a wireless laptop.

The quick slick hack, as you’ve probably already guessed, was connecting the wireless laptop to the PC with an Ethernet patch cable, and then creating an Ethernet bridge between the wired and wireless NICs on the laptop. It worked like a charm, and I didn’t even have to hassle with finding a crossover cable because you don’t need one with Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. (GigE for cheap- I love modern times.)

There are all kinds of bridging howtos all over the Internet so I’m not going to repeat them. This is a pretty good howto: Creating a bridge device. Give your bridge device an IP address that matches your network, and that is the default gateway for the other PC.

Another bit of good news, I bought a USB wireless NIC and it works perfectly. Total plug and play, and the new PC picked up all of its address and server information from my local DHCP server like it is supposed to. I got a Rosewill RNX-G1W for $20 from Newegg, which uses the Realtek 8187 chipset. It comes with an antenna, supports 802.11b/g, WEP, WPA/WPA2, and it is small and cute.

I also bought a batch of 2GB thumb drives- at $6 each. Six bucks!! Younguns, I remember the first gigabyte hard drive way back in the last millennium, and it cost a few hundred dollars. This is amazing. Which reminds me- why do some PCs still have a floppy drive, and does anyone use them?

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