While on a trip in Washington, D.C., I came across a situation where I needed Internet for several devices, but the hotel where I was staying charged a substantial fee for Internet for each device. To help alleviate the financial situation, I enabled Internet Sharing on my MacBook Pro, effectively creating a Wi-Fi network for the rest of my devices.
Here's the basics on setting up a Wi-Fi network via Internet Sharing on your Mac. There are a few things to keep in mind with the steps here. First, I am using a late 2010 MacBook Pro with Mac OS X 10.6.7 installed. My devices are an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2. The specs of your Mac and your devices are important. If your Mac is newer and has an 802.11n AirPort card, your Internet Sharing will be in 802.11n only. That means that any other device, including computers, that does not have an 802.11n Wi-Fi card will not be able to access your created network. Just that happened to me when I attempted to connect an older PC netbook.
Now, if all your devices check out and will be compatible, you can get this accomplished. First, you have to use the ethernet cable supplied by your hotel room and plug it into your Mac.
Next, access the Internet with your favorite browser and attempt to go to any page. This should take you to the landing page for your hotel's Internet payment site. After scoffing at the ridiculous fees they would like to charge (in my case, $9.95 for 24 hours of 1MB down speeds) and entering your payment information, you should be connected to the Internet.
To enable Internet Sharing on your Mac:
- Open System Preferences and click on Sharing.
- Click on Internet Sharing in the Service box on the left. You may notice that the checkbox is grayed out. This means you have not set up Internet Sharing options.
- Locate the "Share your connection from:" drop-down menu. Select Ethernet from the list.
- In the "To computers using:" list, check the box for AirPort.
- You should also click on "AirPort Options" to set up a network name and password for your network. Remember, if you set up an unprotected network, anyone within range of your computer can access the Internet from your connection.
- Now that your connections and password are set up, the checkbox for Internet Sharing in the Service list should be clickable. Check the box and you will notice the icon in your menu bar for AirPort turn into an arrow pointing up.
With your network set up, you can access your newly created Wi-Fi spot with your iPhone, iPad, or any other compatible device. You will notice that Mac OS X 10.6.7 can also share Internet connections from AirPort signals, FireWire, VPN, or Bluetooth. Obviously this can be a handy tool in a number of situations--easing your travel bill is just one example.
How have you used your Mac on the go to better your experience? Let me know in the comments!