Internet Connection Sharing on Mac OS X

August 21, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have a Mac and a single modem device in your home, you might find that it can be a bit of a chore to keep unplugging your Mac and connecting a different device to the Internet.

However, you’re wasting your time – you don’t need to keep disconnecting your computer from the modem if your other devices have wireless networking!

Thanks to Internet sharing in Mac OS X you can easily turn your computer into a wireless router for other devices, thereby improving connectivity options and saving a lot of messing about with cables!

Internet Connection Sharing on Mac OS X

Configuring Internet Sharing in Mac OS X

Begin by clicking the Apple button and opening System Preferences…, and click Internet & Wireless > Network to confirm your Mac’s connection type. Next, click back and open Sharing, and bring up the Internet sharing window by clicking the text on the left hand side. At this stage, don’t check the box, just the text.

On the right hand side you can then select your connection type, as identified earlier – so for an Ethernet connection, select Ethernet from the list – and then select how you want to share the connection.

Your Mac has wireless networking built in thanks to the AirPort card, so you can use the device to share your Ethernet connection wirelessly around your home. As with any wireless connection, however, you might like to secure it.

Securing Your Wireless Internet Connection

In order to ensure that no unauthorized persons are sharing your Internet connection, you will need to secure it with a passkey.

To do this, first check the AirPort box, and then open AirPort Options. Give your network a name, select a channel (automatic works best in most cases) and assign a password. When you’re done click OK to confirm the changes, and you will be back on the Sharing screen, where you can now check box for the Internet sharing option.

What should happen next is that your Mac will ask you if you wish to turn on the AirPort connection, so agree to this, and then click Start when prompted by the Internet sharing dialogue box.

When you’re done, you will be sharing your Internet connection wirelessly to other devices in the vicinity, such as an iPad or a mobile phone, or perhaps a laptop.

Connecting to Your Wireless Internet Share

Sharing is only half the job, of course – you need something to share the connection with, like a mobile device or another computer! The best way to take advantage of this is to use the connection to off-load some mobile data traffic.

For instance, if you activate Wi-Fi on your iPhone, you should soon see your Mac listed as a wireless router, so to connect to it, tap the option and enter the passkey.

The same pattern can be followed on any other device – do a scan for wireless networks, select the one with the name you assigned and enter the passkey to connect!

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