Can I connect my RPi A+ to my Macbook Pro with this setup? If so, how?

My goal is SSH/VNC. The Pi A+ is already set up to accept SSH/VNC connections. The Pi A+ can connect over USB to my router with this USB to Ethernet adapter. And my Macbook can connect directly to a Pi2 using the Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter connected to the Ethernet port on the Pi2. But so far, no luck connecting the Macbook to the Pi A+ directly (i.e without going through my network).

Thunderbolt to Ethernet to USB

2 Answers 2


You can.

1. Direct connection: The problem is your ethernet cable.

To connect two computers directly you need to use a "crossover" ethernet cable OR use a switch. Normally both sides of the cable are wired identically, but if you want the cable to run directly in between it needs to be rewired into a crossover cable or use a crossover converter (essentially moving the wires around so the transmitting part on one computer is linked to the receiving part on the other).

Adapter: http://www.usbfirewire.com/Parts/rr-et-crossoveradapter.html

Make your own cable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_crossover_cable

You can also use a small 4-port switch, which does this for you but it needs electricity. http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-SF1005D-5-port-100Mbps-Desktop/dp/B000FNFSPY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426062657&sr=8-2&keywords=4+port+switch

After this you may need to have each computer assign a manual ip address to itself so they can talk to each other.

2. Managed connection: With a router in between to give both computers ip addresses. It needs electricity (a wall plug) and assigns ip addresses automatically.

  • I tried a crossover cable, and also a 4-port switch. It did not work. My understanding was that crossover is no longer necessary because the ethernet chips auto-detect. Is that wrong? Any other thoughts on how to get sharing to occur from USB to Thunderbolt?
    – BretW
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 19:44
  • Most manufacturers do, but implementation is option.
    – unom
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 10:37

I was able to achieve a direct connection using a standard ethernet cable without using a cross-over cable or switch.

Rather than specifying a specific IP address when connecting via SSH or VNC, which is a challenge when you don't have a laptop/keyboard/mouse connected to your RPi, you can use a more general address:

[email protected]

Therefore, for SSH: make sure your ethernet cable is connected to your laptop and run:

ssh [email protected]

For VNC, the "VNC server" should be


Try port 0 if 1 does not work.

If the VNC doesn't work, installation of Dexter Industries "Raspbian for Robots" may assist. Directions here. If you don't want to wipe your existing SD / harddrive clean to re-install a new version of Raspbian, you can install their packages over your existing version of Raspbian.

Here are directions for connecting with SSH and VNC the way I've explained.

  • The reason you don't need a crossover cable is contemporary ethernet interfaces can detect when they are connected this way and simply switch the TX and RX lines (old style crossover cables had them reversed).
    – goldilocks
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 2:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.