Although we think that Apple's spiffy AirPort system is the best technology for sharing an Internet connection among machines which support it, there are situations where this solution is not feasible. You may have older machines, or the machines may be spread out across a wide area, or you just can't afford to upgrade everyone to AirPort. If you've run into one of these dilemmas, then you'll definitely want to check out Pipeline.
Pipeline is a SOCKS v4 proxy server for 68k and PowerPC Macs. For the uninitiated, a proxy server (SOCKS or otherwise) brokers network requests. The proxy server accepts a network access request from a client, sends it on the client's behalf, accepts the response, and then passes it back to the client. The practical offshoot of all this is that you can configure a number of clients, such as browsers and file transfer programs, to use a single machine for Internet access. This is especially useful if you have a cable or DSL connection and are only assigned a single IP address.
You'll need to configure a few parameters before getting started. The first is the port number, which defaults to 1080, where most applications expect to find a SOCKS server. The next is the maximum number of connections. You may want to set this to limit the amount of bandwidth used. The next is a time-out, which is now long you'd like to wait before giving up on a network connection. Finally, you can specify a password before access is granted, to keep out unauthorized users.
See Who is Connecting and What They're Connecting To
Once you've configured all parameters, you can then start the proxy server. After this, you'll need to configure your clients, such as browsers and file transfer clients, to use the proxy server. Almost every modern client has provisions for using a SOCKS proxy server. This option can also be set in the Internet Control Panel, for those application which look there for their network settings. To make sure that everything is working properly, you can examine the Pipeline log to see if connections are being established.
Start sharing your Internet connection for cheap with Pipeline.
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John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at