Mac Wi-Fi Internet Sharing to Windows 7

Hi Folks,

My family and I took a trip out of town recently. We stayed in a hotel room with a single RJ45 jack (Ethernet plug) that provided access to the Internet. The problem was that we all carry notebooks and we all seemed to want to access the Internet at the same time.

I carry a 13-inch MacBook Pro for travel, and to help solve this “problem” I decided to plug it into the RJ45, and share my connection to the Internet to the rest of my family through the AirPort (wireless network adapter).

Here’s how I did it.

I’ll start with the MacBook:

Once I was successfully past the Hotel’s proxy server authenticating my access to their Internet connection, and successfully opening connections to web pages, I opened my system preferences:

System Preferences

Then I chose Sharing under Internet and Wireless

System Preferences 

On the next screen, I…

1) Clicked on “Internet Sharing”

2) Clicked on “Share your connection from” and choose Ethernet

3) Ticked the checkbox next to AirPort

4) Clicked the button for “AirPort Options”

Sharing

Here’s where things got a little tricky getting my family’s Windows computers authenticating to my Mac for Internet Sharing.

1) I had to choose a short Network Name. (I used all lower case jdw)

2) I left the Channel to Automatic, but if you find that you’re having intermittent connectivity, you may try other channels, and see which work best for you.

3) Windows machines will easily authenticate with no encryption selected, however, I was not interested in making it easy for folks other than my family to piggy back on our Internet connection. So, I ticked the box next to “Enable encryption (using WEP). Although WEP is extremely easy to beat, it is better than nothing! (Right??)

4) This part was a bit of an oddity to me; apparently only hexadecimal passwords will be accepted. That means I could only use letters from A to F, and numbers from 0 to 9. Also, I had to prefix a $ (dollar sign) onto the password. That means if I want a password of 123ABC, I needed to type $123ABC into the password field. (Note: The $ (dollar sign) will not be typed on the Windows computer attempting to authenticate – more on this later)

5) Click OK.

AirPort Options

After clicking OK, I had to tick the checkbox next to “Internet Sharing” on the Sharing screen. This brought up a confirmation screen where I had to click “Start”.

Start Internet Sharing

And that’s it for the Mac configuration…

Let’s move on to Windows.

With Windows, among others, there always seems to be more than one way to accomplish something. Your mileage may vary with connecting to a Mac that’s been set up as I’ve described, but for me, this was a solid, sure-fire method for connectivity.

In the Windows 7 system tray, I clicked on the Internet access icon (the icon that looks like it represents a wireless’ signal strength), and although I was able to see my “jdw” network being advertised, I went ahead and clicked on “Open Network and Sharing Center”

From there, I chose “Setup a new connection or network”.

On the connection options screen that displayed next, I chose “Manually connect to a wireless network”, and clicked Next.

Next, I was given the screen to enter the information for the wireless network I wished to add. (Note: here is where I had to exclude the leading $ (dollar sign) when entering the password):

1) Network name: I gave it jdw

2) Security type: I chose WEP

3) Encryption Key (remember, no leading $): I entered the password

4) Then I clicked Next

 

On the next screen I chose to “Change connection settings”, because although in the previous screen I was able to choose WEP as the security type, on the Wireless Network Properties windows, under the Security tab, it’s appears to set to “No authentication (Open)” (See the screen after the following…)

 

I clicked the Security tab on the Wireless Network Properties window that came up, and this is where I had to click the drop down next to Security type, and choose “Shared”.

I clicked, OK, and then Close on the next window.

Last, I clicked on the Internet access icon in the system tray, clicked on jdw, and then Connect.

This worked well for me and my family, and if you’re in a similar situation, I hope it this bit of information can help you too.

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