Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 6.07
July 2000


How To




Download ATPM 6.07

Choose a format:

How To Become a Network Guru in 10 Easy Steps

by Matthew Glidden,

Part 9—TCP/IP Gaming in a Mixed Network

For many people, the main reason for connecting more than one computer together at home is for playing games. Whether playing with or against your friends and family, there are many games that come network-ready, for instance Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. To add even more competitive zest to the stew, there are also several that network across platforms, allowing Mac and PC users to try to get the virtual best of one another.

The good news is you don’t need much hardware to set up a network. One Ethernet hub or switch and a length of Ethernet cable for each computer is sufficient, which should cost you less than $50 in total if you don’t already have them. For one Mac and one PC, it’s also possible to use a single Ethernet crossover cable (as opposed to normal straight-through cable) and avoid the cost of the hub.

Chances are, your Mac is already Ethernet-ready. If not, you should be able to find a 10BaseT NuBus or PCI Ethernet card for under $20.,, and are all good sources. They’re also good places to look for a hub and cables. Most new hubs are 10/100BaseT and will work at either Ethernet speed. Older hubs may be 10BaseT or 100BaseT only, limiting them to networks of that speed. Make sure your hub matches the speed of your Ethernet adapter (for example, all iMacs have 10/100BaseT Ethernet built-in, and will work with either).

To set up the hardware side of your network, connect each computer to one of the ports on your hub, as shown in Figure 1. If you’re using an Ethernet crossover cable to connect a single Mac and PC, it’ll look like Figure 2.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Many network games use and/or require TCP/IP as their connection method. Configure your Mac’s TCP/IP information in the TCP/IP control panel. If you use this Mac for Internet access, you’ll first need to create a new configuration for your home network so you don’t lose your Internet information. Choose “Configurations” under the File menu to create a new one, and call it something like “Home Network.” Set “Configure:” to manually, then enter the IP address and subnet mask. The IP address can be any four-part number from 0 to 255, separated by periods., for example. If you want to avoid conflicting with any Internet addresses, you can make the first two numbers 192.168, the network addresses reserved for private networks. or 0.2 is common. The subnet mask will be


Figure 3

To set up the same information on a Windows-based PC, open the “Control Panel” under “Settings” from the Start menu. Open the “Network” icon, highlight TCP/IP and select Properties. Under the “IP Address” tab, you basically repeat the above steps: set an IP manually, enter the address (it must be unique, so add one to the last number of what you set above), enter the same subnet mask, then select OK. You’ll probably have to restart the PC to complete the change, but that’s it.

To test your connection, you can try “pinging” the other computer’s IP address. Windows PCs can use ping from MSDOS or the “Run…” command line, and Macs can ping with the freeware program WhatRoute (available at file archives like Pinging sends a packet of information to a given IP address and checks to see how quickly it returns. From one of the computers, ping the other’s IP address to confirm your network is connected properly.

If your connection isn’t working, here are some things to check:

  1. Did the computers’ Ethernet ports work properly previously?
  2. Is the Ethernet driver software installed on each computer? If your Mac’s Ethernet adapter was installed by someone, rather than built-in, you’ll need to install the adapter’s software before it will work correctly.
  3. Are the Ethernet adapters and hub all of a compatible speed?
  4. Are the cables connected securely?
  5. If you’re using a hub, you must use straight-through cables. If you’re not using a hub you must use a crossover cable. Crossover cables are labeled as such, although straight-through cables may not be (since they’re “normal”).

Once the connection is up and running, you should be able to select TCP/IP as a connection method in your network games and use the other computer’s IP address for playing. For game-specific network configuration information, make sure to check the game’s instruction manual first.

Copyright © 2000 Matthew Glidden, apple

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (21)

Frank Lazar · July 11, 2000 - 01:01 EST #1
The real challenge right now for TCP gaming is shared DSL and/or cable connections. Some games like Clan Lord will play just fine over masqueraded IP's. On others like the games, the most I can do is chat. Everquest is supposed to properly support spoofed IP's but its not available for Mac at this point.
Bill Whiteley · June 3, 2001 - 23:27 EST #2
I have been fiddling with setting up a LAN in my home, using two Mac G3's and a PC. I had sucess in getting the Macs to "talk" but not the PC. I just successfully pinged the PC from the Mac. I am able to use the three printers on the LAN from the Macs but not the PC. I will solve this problem sooner or later, most likely with someone like your web information. I really appreciated your effort to educate me.
William · July 19, 2001 - 10:54 EST #3
Does anyone knows how to set the network speed of a G4 to 100 full ??? Thanks for your help.
Jamie Ross · July 21, 2001 - 18:44 EST #4
One easy way to add a PC to a LAN with Macs is to install PCMacLan. This adds AppleTalk to the PC network protocols and allows file and printer sharing. I used it extensively until I turned my PCs into Linux servers and it was easy to setup and run. I think it was about $100 but it was a couple years ago.
Simon G · October 6, 2001 - 14:48 EST #5
Hi, I'm trying to connect two Macs to play Unreal. I've got an iMac DV and a G4 350 and a cat 5 cable. I'm not sure if the cable is of the right type. I have successfully transferred files from the G4 to the iMac but can't seem to get the computers to see each other to play Unreal. On the side of the cable it says it's TYPE CM. What does that mean? Could someone please talk me through it from start to finish as I am dying to kick my brother's butt on Unreal. Cheers. Err, I also tried a proper cross-over cable, but still no joy.
DJ Beane · October 13, 2001 - 01:13 EST #6
I tried to connect my PC running Windows 2000 to my Mac running OS 9, both connected to a hub. I followed the directions offered on this site but was still unable to play a Lan TCP/IP game of Diablo 2. The Mac pings the PC, the PC pings the Mac. I even called Blizzard tech support. He told me I needed to make sure both versions of Diablo were the same. They are now. Still they don't connect. This dilemma has had me scratching my head now for 3 days. Any suggestions?
Jimbo · October 17, 2001 - 11:15 EST #7
I have been skunked so far trying to find out how to link a home LAN (2 computers) to one or more computers over the internet. Is this impossible???
Esxadict · January 10, 2002 - 14:58 EST #8
Thanks. Maybe you have solved my problem.
KathyK · February 5, 2002 - 12:45 EST #9
I am trying to find out if there is a way to hook two computers on a home LAN through a cable modem to We are using a Syslink router to share the cable modem with no problems, but only one computer can actually game at a time - the other can only chat. Has anyone figured this out?
Evan Trent (ATPM Staff) · February 6, 2002 - 19:34 EST #10
This is probably due to the fact that the cable modem is broadcasting only one public IP for all computers behind it.
Graham Wright · June 11, 2002 - 22:05 EST #11
That's what I was thinking (about the problem). Is there any way around this problem, Evan? Me and my buddies are DESPERATELY looking for a way to get this to work...we're sick of playing Starcraft comps :(

Please e-mail me if you have a solution.

Denchy · January 26, 2003 - 01:20 EST #12
Hey I've got a bit of a problem and can't seem to fix it :(

I have a 10mbit LAN connecting two computers (this works fine) and a 56k modem to connect to the internet. When I use the internet through the LAN, I can still play online games, but it seems to miss packets. Other people jump around in the game constantly.

When I connect the modem to my computer, online games run fine with no problems anywhere.

If anyone can help me, I'd be grateful. Thanks.
flash2 · October 22, 2004 - 12:55 EST #13
can anyone please tell me how to connect two computers together using a x-over cable and 2 networking cards and how to establish the connection
anonymous · October 22, 2004 - 16:26 EST #14
flash2, just hook the two together, turn on personal file sharing in the Sharing preference pane of one computer, then hit Command K from the finder of the second computer to connect to your server on the first computer, and login with your user name and password.
flyingtiger · October 25, 2004 - 13:15 EST #15

I am a Starcraft player also. I am trying to multi play on my home LAN. I have three computers on my LAN. They all communicate with no problems. I just can't figure out how to get my starcraft to see games created on other computers. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

wayne · February 10, 2005 - 10:02 EST #16
Does anyone know how to play AOE through the internet (not home network)? should i set up ip to play?
Tom Bridge (ATPM Staff) · September 11, 2005 - 15:39 EST #17
Hi Tanvir,

Depending upon the games, this may be possible. If we're talking first person shooters, any realtime strategy game, or pretty much anything except chess, you're not going to like the performance at all. Can you tell me a bit about each machine here? Which machines? Which processors?
nick · May 25, 2006 - 07:13 EST #18
hi guys me and a mate are trying to find a way to play diablo 2 with tcp/ip connection but are trying to do it over the net is this possible if so a little help would be great

and fui i have 2 coms on a router and he has the same the networks work fine on both the internet works fine we just wanna play diablo2 without running but we live 200miles apart
Chadwick · May 25, 2006 - 18:19 EST #19
Yeah - I'm also trying to do tcp/ip games over the net with a couple of friends. I'm on a mac - friend is on a pc. We both have the same version and all that stuff... both on wireless routers. But regardless of who hosts the game, neither one of us can join. There is definitely SOMETHING happening, since the join dialogue hangs for about a minute before giving up, but we have never been successful at getting it to work. Help!!!
fiona · January 12, 2007 - 22:36 EST #20
yep- me and a friend (he a macbook black, me an intel dual 266ghz pc. both have active ethernet ports, however when we connect via a cross cable we don't 'see' each other. i have been looking on and off for days but haven't found any sufficient info. what do i need for this, besides two computers and an ethernet cable? do we need to use appletalk or do i need to turn my pc into a server, etc? i am really unsure of all this, all we wanna do is play each other at halo etc!!! there was some useful info here, which i will carry out later. so thanks already!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 12, 2007 - 23:26 EST #21
Fiona - yes, it's not enough to simply connect the two computers. By the way, you don't need a crossover ethernet if you don't want to. All Mac computers for the past couple years have auto-switching ethernet ports.

So yes, one of the computers has to be a server. If you're file sharing, the easiest thing is to probably use FTP sharing. Windows SMB sharing can sometimes be tricky, but some people have no hitch with it. If it's a game, if one machine "hosts" the game, the other should see it as a server it can connect to, if you're running the same version (just different platforms) of the same game.

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article