Making a WiFi network with my iMac?
May 30, 2013 11:38 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to connect my iMac to my Blu-Ray player and laptop via Wifi, but I’m lost in the wilderness.

What I have:
Late 2007 aluminum Intel iMac. Running OS X Lion. It has an AirPort Extreme card built in (according to the specs), but I do not have an external Wifi router, a Base Station, or any kind of hardware. I am thinking of buying a separate, external WiFi router, but I think that may be overkill. Assuming the AirPort extreme card works, that is.

I have a high-speed DSL connection. The phone line connects to the DSL modem, then an Ethernet cable to a small Ethernet hub, then to the iMac. Another Ethernet line spans the room to the Blu-Ray player. (sorry if this is obvious. I just want to be thorough).

I also have an LG Blu-Ray player that has WiFi and can stream media via Ethernet cable or WiFi. This latter is what I would like to set up. I have video and audio on my iMac I would like to stream to the player (which are about 15 feet apart, if that matters).

I have a Sony Vaio laptop running Windows 7. It is wifi ready. I also have a Kobo ereader that is Wifi ready. And my iPhone. So I have no shortage of toys that I can use to test the signal.

So…I can create a WiFi network with my iMac, but nothing really happens. It shows that a network exists, with the default name “[my name]’s iMac”, but when I check it in Network Preferences, there’s a yellow light next to it—not green. It says “Wi-Fi has the self-assigned IP address 169.254.180.124 and will not be able to connect to the Internet.”

And that’s where I hit a brick wall. I don’t know what to do at this point. I should point out that I have been able to get the Blu-Ray player to connect to the iMac, but this is sort of unreliable—doesn’t always connect. That connection is via the Ethernet cable I have snaked across the living room (to my wife’s chagrin), but there’s no Internet connection, even through the Ethernet.

Any clues as to what I should be doing? I have the feeling that I’m close to getting it right but just missing a step or two. Or, do I need to go out and get a dedicated WiFi router to transmit a signal? Thanks in advance, and thanks for reading all this.
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
To confirm, it sounds like you have an Ethernet cable going from the hub to the iMac, and a separate Ethernet cable from the hub to the BluRay player, correct?

When you created the network, were your other toys able to see it and connect to it?

Here is the Airport Extreme user manual. On page 4 it says there are three ways to create a wifi network. It sounds like you probably did the first way, but it sounds like you wanted the second one - "Using the Internet pane of Sharing preferences" (which will share your internet connection to the new wireless network).
posted by jacalata at 11:58 PM on May 30, 2013


jacalata--to your first question, yes, my setup is just like you said.

My laptop and my Kobo reader both see my WiFi network, but when I try to connect they say "Unable to connect" or "Connection error". Same thing happens with my Blu-Ray player.

On my System Preferences > Sharing, I have Internet Sharing checked. "Share your connection from:" and I selected my DSL connection. Or as it's listed, a PPPOE connection.
posted by zardoz at 12:15 AM on May 31, 2013


Yes, the "Sharing" panel of the system preferences is what you want (it gets rearranged every OS release or I'd be more specific). You can tell your iMac to act as a wifi router/access-point, letting the laptop connect to it over wifi and then to the internet via ethernet->DSL. I think the language Apple uses is "Internet Sharing".

[On preview: hmmm, that sounds like it should work. Does the triangular wifi icon in the iMac's toolbar have an arrow in it, or is it the more usual concentric-curves symbol?)

If you just turn on the iMac's wifi in the normal way, it will try to connect to the internet via wifi, and probably let other devices talk to it, but it won't route other devices' traffic through to the internet via its ethernet cable, which it sounds like is what you want. That's what the "sharing" setup is for.

FYI, it might not work quite right for a device on your wired-Ethernet segment to talk to a device on your wifi segment— but resolving that might be a question for another AskMe.
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 AM on May 31, 2013


"Share your connection from:" and I selected my DSL connection. Or as it's listed, a PPPOE connection

Oh wait, I'd think that from the iMac's point of view, it has a plain old ethernet connection (not PPPoE, which is handled by your DSL modem). In the network preferences panel, which connection has the green dot? I'd expect it to be Ethernet. The iMac can connect to the internet fine, right?
posted by hattifattener at 12:23 AM on May 31, 2013


Does the triangular wifi icon in the iMac's toolbar have an arrow in it, or is it the more usual concentric-curves symbol?)

It's an arrow.

In the network preferences panel, which connection has the green dot?


Actually, both. The PPPOE is lit up green at this is where I enter in my ISP username and password to log on, so I guess that's my actual internet connection(?). And the Ethernet has a green light next to it as well. I've always been confused by why I have both. But yes, I can connect to the Internet no problem.

And I should point out one more thing: I'm in Japan, and my Internet is blazing fast. Though I wonder if my ISP and/or my router has some sort of limitation that's causing these problems. I really hope I don't have to deal with my ISP...
posted by zardoz at 12:45 AM on May 31, 2013


Hmmm, I probably don't understand how PPPoE is set up in this situation, then; I haven't used a setup that works like that, although it doesn't sound too strange. It seems like what you've done should work, though; I've done pretty similar things many times.
posted by hattifattener at 1:32 AM on May 31, 2013


What happens if you try sharing your Ethernet connection,instead of the pppoe connection?
posted by jacalata at 1:54 AM on May 31, 2013


In Sharing I've turned on Internet Sharing, and have both Wifi and Ethernet boxes checked.
posted by zardoz at 2:11 AM on May 31, 2013


Just buy a cheap wifi router, it will make your life a thousand times easier.
posted by empath at 3:50 AM on May 31, 2013


Do you have any kind of security set up on the Mac WiFi sharing? We have a Mac Mini at work that is used to share network with a couple of Wndows7 systems, and under no circumstances was I ever able to add any security that the Windows computers could handle. I had to turn it off completely for them to connect. We also have an iMac in another area sharing connections, and it has security enabled, but all connecting systems there are Apple-based.

But definitely get a router. It's the easiest way.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:08 AM on May 31, 2013


We have a Mac Mini at work that is used to share network with a couple of Wndows7 systems, and under no circumstances was I ever able to add any security that the Windows computers could handle.

I think this is it.
iMacs are limited to only WEP for security with their onboard wifi. Before I got my dedicated Airport Extreme router, I tried setting-up a temporary wireless network using my iMac's built-in wireless. Macs and iPhones could connect fine, but no Windows computers could ever log-in. They could see the network, but authentication always failed, even though Windows supposedly could talk to WEP networks. I think it might work if you didn't use a password, but that's not a good idea.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:42 AM on May 31, 2013


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