TCP/IP Over FireWire

A few years ago I noticed that OS X started offering “FireWire” as one of the tcp/ip connection types, alongside ethernet and modem. Sounded intriguing, but couldn’t imagine a situation where it would be useful.

The brilliance of this arrangement dawned on me over the past couple of weeks, as I found myself in a house with a DSL connection but no router — DSL modem feeding their eMac directly. To get my laptop online without taking their machine off the network, just enabled connection sharing on their Mac, connected a FireWire cable from it to me, and I was online, slickr-n-snot. All of my posts here over the past two weeks were made over FireWire.

Heck, you could even plug a laptop into the back of an external FireWire drive. Effortless.

7 Replies to “TCP/IP Over FireWire”

  1. Man… I too have never understood that… I mean… abut the time they introduced FireWire networking as a standard part of the OS Gigabit Networking was coming out… I just didn’t understand why one would use Firewire..

    It is a spectacular idea you have posed here, and It brings to mind some ideas… I will have to work with this a bit.

  2. Firewire was how I updated my Boss’s HP Laptop every month, while the DVD-ROM drive was Bung.
    Share my iBook Combo Drive with SMB, Hook it up with a 6-4pin Firewire Cable and Voila! Instant External DVD-ROM Drive.

  3. Daniel, I thought I could use a similar trick to upgrade an old Mac with no DVD drive to Panther. Mounted the installer DVD on a laptop and booted it in target disk mode. The old Mac was able to mount this as a “virtual” DVD via FireWire, but then the installer complained that the remote disk was not bootable. I’m still thinking there should be a way to pull this off, but not sure what it is.

  4. @Scot – Did you try booting the old Mac (without DVD) in Target Disk Mode, mounting it on the laptop (that does have a DVD drive), then installing to the mounted volume?

  5. D’oh! No, I didn’t try turning the whole thing inside out. That works? Never would have thought of that, but it makes sense now that I think about it.

  6. Re: Installing OS X without a DVD drive. I always copy the DVD image to a (newly formatted) iPod using Disk Utility on some other machine. Connect the iPod to the old machine, set the Startup Disk to the iPod-cum-install-dvd, reboot, voila.

    Yeah, you have to wipe your iPod; save everything. The technique works, it just takes a while to erase, copy install image, install, erase, re-sync to iTunes.

  7. Nate – Sounds like a good reason to keep a blank FW drive around (so you don’t have to go reformatting your iPod every time you need to do an install on an older machine).

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