Tip: No wireless router? Use your Mac

These days, wireless routers are quite common, and most retail options out there have some wireless capability; however, there still may be times when you are without a router and need to set up a wireless network for multiple computers, iPhones and iPads, or other devices that support Wi-Fi connectivity.

These days, wireless routers are quite common, and most retail options out there have some wireless capability; however, there still may be times when you are without a router and need to set up a wireless network for multiple computers, iPhones and iPads, or other devices that support Wi-Fi connectivity.

To do this, all you need is a Mac with an AirPort card in it. Connect it to an available network with the Ethernet connection, and then set up a shared wireless connection with the following procedure:

Internet Sharing Preferences
The Internet Sharing options are only editable when Internet Sharing is disabled (click for larger view).
  1. Go to the "Network" system preferences.

  2. Select the "AirPort" connection (add it to the list if it is not there), and ensure it is set to "On."

  3. Go to the "Sharing" system preferences.

  4. Select "Internet Sharing" but do not turn it on yet.

  5. From the drop-down menu select "Built-In Ethernet" (or whatever port is the source of the network to the computer).

  6. Check "AirPort" and other ports you may use (Bluetooth, FireWire, etc.).

  7. Click "AirPort Options..." to set a network name, and WEP password (use 128-bit over 40-bit encryption if you can), and then click "OK."

  8. With the AirPort options now set, check the "Internet Sharing" box and confirm by clicking the "Start" button in the warning window.

Now you have an active wireless network; however, though it should work just fine, there are some drawbacks to using this feature.

  • Shorter range:

    Keep in mind the signal will not be as powerful as most standalone routers. Nevertheless, it should have a decent enough range to be discoverable within a few rooms of the host computer.

  • Limited security:

    Another drawback to this is it only has WEP as the password security options, which is not as secure as WPA or WPA2; however, it will be good enough to get you running until a more secure option can be set up.

  • Requires computer to be on:

    Unlike routers that can use relatively minimal power, this setup will require the computer to be on at all times for the wireless network to function.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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