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Author Topic: I'm so lost (Mac wireless internet help)
Dr Strangelove
Member # 8331

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Ok, to make a llooonnnggg story short, am I wrong in assuming my Mac is magic?

Basically, my roommate got comcast cable internet a while back. For some reason it, and therefore the wireless for the rest of the apartment, stopped working a few months back. Tonight I finally grabbed the modem and plugged it into my Mac. It worked. Yay! Internet. So then I tried to get the wireless back up and running by plugging the modem into the router and the router into my computer. No dice. So I plugged my computer back into the modem directly. But now there's this wireless network named after my wireless router which doesn't work if I unplug the ethernet cable from my Mac, or if I unplug the power source of the wireless router. However, the router is only, and I repeat only, plugged into a power source. There is ethernet cable plugged in at all.

Unfortunately, I can't test this phenomenon by seeing if it shows up on anyone else's wireless network because I don't have access to any other computer. And I guess I don't really need help. After all, I have internet. I'm happy. I guess I'm wondering A: How the heck does this work? and B: Is there any way for me to secure this wireless network, assuming it can be seen by others? I can't seem to find anything about setting up a wireless network through the help section on my Mac.

Anyhoo, any wisdom would be appreciated. I'll just be sitting here on my blazing fast internet connection. [Smile]

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The router doesn't require an internet connection to set up a network. The only reason you need the internet connection is if you want to connect to the internet through the router.

Why it goes away when you unplug your mac from the Ethernet cable, i have no idea.

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Member # 9116

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Your Mac isn't magic. It is, however, a very fast, reliable machine.
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Not if it's doing something he doesn't want it to.
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Member # 11624

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Maybe the answer will be given in seaon 5.
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Buy a PC. (Sorry. Couldn't help it.)
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Dr Strangelove
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So now my question is, how do I secure this newfound network? I don't know how I set it up, so I'm not exactly sure how to secure it/name it at all.
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If you're connected directly to the cable modem, and nothing of yours is connected to the router, there's no need to secure it. Nobody can do anything to you if there's no route to you. In fact, there's no reason to have it, so I would just put away the router.

And I'd turn off your airport card on your computer while you're home, since it isn't doing anything and you can save a good amount of power that way.

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You have Internet connectivity through the modem. If you unplug the Ethernet cable, that stops working.

You have a wireless connection to a wireless router. That does not have anything to do with your Internet connection.

Normally you configure wireless routers by bringing up an administration web page that is hosted on the router. (The router contains a small web server.) In my experience the address for the router home page is either or - if neither of those work, check the documentation for the router.

If you're connected to the router through an unsecured connection, it's *conceivable* that others could compromise your machine by also connecting to the wireless router and through that, to your machine. I don't know how likely this is. But if you aren't using it for anything, better to unplug it. If you want to have it there just in case you want to connect to another computer over the wireless network, then you can set up some security settings through the configuration web page. You can probably just turn on WPA security with an access code of your choice.

It'd probably work as a wireless router that ALSO gives access to the Internet (via Ethernet cable connection to the modem) if you managed to configure it correctly - I'm guessing it didn't work right off the bat because it and the modem were both set up to provide DHCP services and probably using the same subnet mask/IP address range, and were conflicting with each other. However, that's just a guess.

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Member # 1549

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Click on system preferences.

Then click on sharing.

Name your computer something random. Use letters and numbers.

Then click on those things you don't want to have shared. If you want to keep other people from catching a ride on your wireless signal from your Mac to the router, turn off the radio button next to "Internet Sharing".

That won't prevent someone from contacting your router directly, but it will eliminate them from using your Mac as a conduit to the router.

To make things more secure, open system preferences again and click on the Security icon.

Set up your firewall. The middle button takes care of most problems.

Open System Profiler again and click the Network Icon.

See what connections have green icons next to them. Assuming Leopard is your OS, but Tiger, Panther, and Jaguar all have the same general method. If a connection is active, it has a green indicator.

Turn off the ones you don't use. Meaning if you are using firewire but nothing else, you disable the ones you aren't using. If you turn off a connection type- no one else can misuse it.

In addition you can set varying levels of security.

As to the router, every router has some facility to turn on some sort of security. Apple computers will be able to access the router and will prompt you for a password- assuming you set the router up to use one. Macs will do the whole hog 128 bit encryption.

We just set up our two new Apples. One is directly connected to a dsl modem. The other uses airport to connect and share the first computer's connection. As far as the network its 128 bit.

My neighbors on the other hand all have various wireless networks- all of which are completely unsecured. So far I have had to block 5 separate networks. At some point I'll go knock on their doors and inform them their setups are completely vulnerable. Until I had manually blocked each one, both of my computers were connecting to their networks and allowing me to connect to the internet. Once I figured out that I had to prevent them so that I could establish a peer to peer with my own computers, i was then able to get my dsl working correctly.

Anyway if it helps great- if not its because its late.

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