Dual Nic Laptop Mod

[Robert] opened up his old alienware laptop and installed an Intel Pro 100 mini-pci ethernet card. Then He replaced the modem port with the second ethernet jack. The hardware side is pretty simple, but getting the port soldered to a new custom cable and fitted to the case was the hard part.

26 thoughts on “Dual Nic Laptop Mod

  1. alex: If you would have read the article, they wanted to use it as a network appliance (router or firewall) which requires two ethernet ports, one for the inside and the other for the outside.

  2. alex:
    Getting a two port USB hub totally defeats the purpose. The idea is for this to act probably as a firewall or something on the network. A USB hub would simply let traffic flow around it.

  3. @alex — that quadruples the traffic on your lan by routing from outside to router to firewall to router to client and also requires the purchase of a router…

    this solution has the elegance of a laptop-turned-beige box networked appliance and a clean hack.

    well done.

  4. I’ve always wished that my laptop came with two NICs instead of the completely useless (to me since 1998) modem. I do a LOT of network programming and, for testing, this mod would really come in handy. I doubt the company would like me to soldering on this thing (not that I could do the fine work anyway) but I might consider trying it on my older personal laptop. Good job.

  5. I borrowed a laptop from somebody, and the nic was bashed in and doesn’t work. Not sure whether its the port something worse. Shows up under linux though.

    I’m considering doing something like this (but will have to be pulled in through pcmcia, stupid dell)

  6. Not to defend Alex, who clearly misses the point of a good hack — but it could be done with a usb nic. Still, a dual internal nic laptop would be nice. I have a linux vm that I load which provides dhcp & nat routing services while I connect to the net over EVDO — which amounts to the same thing for the most part.

  7. ok, if not usb then why not pcmcia or something? heck, why did it have to be nicely integrated at all? The machine was left in a big pile of cables and boxes, what difference does one more add?

  8. Hey guys! Let’s all bash a well-executed hack because we think we know how they could’ve better used their own time!

    Yeah, that’ll make us cool. I can’t wait to tell my friends at lunch.

  9. pcmcia was also flaky on his machine as well as usb.

    *it was one of the reasons why he pursued this hack in the first place!!!

    it actually improved the usefulness of an otherwise less than useful machine _with existing hardware issues_.

    what exactly is the problem here?

    it’s pretty well known that independent nics allow for other, better functionality for applications such as his.
    he was very clear about these functions not being supported by other means.

    anyone having any problem whatsoever with this hack should get their head examined

    it would have been cool to do even if it was only for shits and giggles, ya dimwits!

  10. cool hack.
    I agree, this is exactly what you want for a router.
    The closer you bolt the Network to your OS the better.

    USB, PCMCIA, external Ethernet HUB all move the network farther away from your Router OS.

    I too lament the addition of a useless telephone modem on my laptop. Even more odd is the fact that it (IBM Thinkpad) has a Parallel Port but no Serial Port. Talk about useless interfaces, do people still use the Parallel Port? Yeah old software dongles and it is great for a block of Programmable I/O, but really who uses the Parallel port?

  11. Agreed. I’d take a serial port over a parallel port any day. So much of our i.t. gear requires a nice db9 serial telnet session to get going. Its annoying to have to carry a USB to serial adapter everywhere. Whine, whine, whine. I guess I shouldn’t have chosen a dell XPS laptop for work… are we O.T. yet?

  12. Great job.

    Clarkconnect (the distro he is using) is really sweet. Its a fully functional router, firewall, proxy server, content filter, packet shaper, sql server, samba server and ftp server that installs in a few clicks. The best part is that it has a slick web interface to adjust the settings for pretty much anything on the server. I have a box running it at home that has been up for about 6 months now.

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