> >>Are you using a crossover cable or hub instead of a regular cat5 or whatever to connect them?
> > I use a CAT5 cable to connect them directly, i.e., I plug 1 end of the
> > cable into xp box and the other into freebsd box.
> Ah, so here's your problem. You can't use a regular cat5 cable to
> directly connect two computers (the wires in the cord don't go the right
> place). You'll either need a hub, or to buy or make a crossover cable.
> Things should work then.
Hold the two RJ-45 connectors side by side, oriented the same way with
the cable* down and the retainer clip away from you. The left
most two wires, pins 1 & 2, (check their color) should end up on pins 3
& 6 on the other connector and vice versa. Ignore 4,5,7&8. If the
colors end up on the same pins, you have a straight cable, which you can
only use between a NIC and a Hub or Switch. Cross over cables (NIC to
NIC direct) are pretty easy to come by, or buy yourself an RJ-45
crimping tool and make your own.
If you have any plans to add another computer in the future, buy a small
hub and another straight cable. If you're lucky enough to have computer
shows in the area, you can probably spend <=US$20.