My new laptop (XP Pro) is networked to my home PC (WinMe) using a crossover ethernet cable (ie no hub).

The LAN's icon on the laptop's task bar flashes like a lighthouse (perhaps 40 times a minute, outgoing only) even when both computers are idle. The Status window for this icon shows a massive number of packets flowing out of the laptop and none in the reverse direction. I checked a few seconds ago. It read 28,578,712,nnn,nnn packets and less than a minute later it shows 28,6nn,nnn,nnn packets (n stands for a digit changing to quickly to record). The corresponding incoming packet count is 5,907 and has been static for hours as I'm not using the network at the moment. The Status window shows that the network speed is 10 Mbps.

What is going on here?

I let the Home Networking Wizard set up the connection and, as far as I know, I'm using TCP/IP. I can't find a similar monitoring window on the WinMe machine to confirm the packet count.