Let's say we have Mary's laptop and Brian's laptop. Brian has a 6 GB movie file on his hard disk that he wants to transfer to Mary.
Both laptops have a NIC with an ethernet port, so obviously it would be a good choice just to connect them with a cross-over cable and use something like FTP or Samba to send the file across.
Anyway, before any file sending can be done, both machines have to sort out their IP address. Because Brian and Mary regularly plug their laptops into different networks to access the internet, they both have DHCP set up for their NIC.
So anyway getting to the crux of it...
We hook them up with a cross-over cable. We run the DHCP client on one of the machines. There's no response because there's no DHCP server, and so the machine adopts a random address in the network 169.254/16. (This is what DHCP is supposed to do if it doesn't get a response from a DHCP server, right?)
We run the DHCP client on the other machine, and again we get a random address in 169.254/16.
Running Windows, we then just go into network neighbourhood and viola there's the other person's computer. Or if using FTP, we can do "ipconfig/all" on each machine to get their IP address, then just do ftp://169.254.5.7.
But here's what I want to ask: Is this method of using "DHCP failure" reliable for giving the machines IP addresses with which they can communicate? Is it really as simple as "Stick a cross-over between them and hit DHCP on both machines"?
On another thing: Can someone please suggest a very simply free FTP server application for Windows? I've searched a bit, even downloaded and tried one or two of them, but they all seemed a hell of a lot more troublesome than they should have been.
Also another thing: If you're connecting only two computers together, would it be more efficient to use something like PPP instead of Ethernet? I'm talking about sending 10 GB files from one machine to another.