Firewire Networking

As I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago I had significant issues with setting up my new Sony TX-690P notebook. Ultimately, I had to do a system restore and start over, but am pleased to report that it all works just great now.

However, from the onset I had an issue to resolve, namely how to get my data from my older Sony S-series notebook onto the new one. That data includes about 4GB of e-mail archives, 17GB of documents, and another 10GB or so of miscellaneous data. The options I had considered were an Ethernet cable (max data rate of 100Mbps, but requires an Ethernet crossover cable or switch), or a peer-to-peer wireless (max data rate of only 54Mbps, but more realistically about half that).

Neither was a great option.

When I mentioned this to the sales person at the Sony Style store (a Sony trainer visiting from New York during CES) he suggested I use the Firewire ports on both notebooks to transfer data. That would be a 400Mbps connection, and as Windows XP sees Firewire as a TCP/IP network connection, it should work.

And work it did – I bought a 4-pin to 4-pin Firewire cable, configured the IP addresses for each notebook’s Firewire port to a local address ( and respectively, with a net mask of, and a gateway and DNS of, and after disabling my firewalls on both notebooks, I was able to see the drives on the other (same user name and password being used on both systems). In Windows Explorer it was a matter of using “\\” as the address to browse the file system on the first notebook from the second notebook (the latter was the one with an address of

From there it was simply a matter of dragging files in Explorer from one file system to the other. With 30 or so gigabytes it still took the better part of an hour, but it was much faster than either the cabled Ethernet or WiFi network solution would have been.

So, if you’ve been wondering what additional use you can put the FireWire port on your notebook to, networking and file transfer are definitely cool and useful options.