Using Mac mini as wifi router

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I have a Mac mini (leopard/4gb ram/2.0ghz core duo) that is currently acting as my NAS and is also connected to my tv as a htpc (netflix, eyetv, etc.). I’m wondering if I can get rid of my wifi router (its broken) and use the mini for this task. An Apple TV and 2 laptops would connect wirelessly to this network. Few questions:

  1. Does the internet connection sharing of Mac OS X have ample security for this (wpa2? any special firewall configuration options? etc.)
  2. Any 3rd party apps that would be better than what is built in?
  3. Is this advisable? I know there isn’t any physical separation of the firewall and my inner network, but it seems if I configure this correctly, there wouldn’t be issues.

(I guess I could go harder core and run two VMs — one for routing, one for my “regular” tasks, but that might be too much for the mini to handle)


If your mini can connect to the internet via LAN, then it could concieveably perform the function of a basic Wifi Router.

Let’s assume your setup is like this:

WWW -> Router -> Ethernet -> Mac Mini

If that’s about right, then you can use Internet Connection Sharing to share your Ethernet Connection over WiFi.

  1. Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Sharing
  2. Ensure “Ethernet” is selected for your source.
  3. Place a tick in “Airport” – this will enable wireless sharing:
  4. Click “Airport Options” to configure the ad-hoc wireless network that will be created.
  5. Once you’re done, place a tick next to “Internet Sharing” to turn it on. You’ll recieve a warning, click “Start”

Unfortunately, it appears that ad-hoc networks created in OSX only support WEP, not WPA.

You can also use your Mac Mini as a router by using PPPoE to connect to the internet, and sharing out over Wifi. I wouldn’t reccomend this however, because it will directly connect your Mini to the internet without a hardware based NAT Router. If you do this, ensure you have the firewall turned on, and a strong administrative password set.

Internet Sharing on Leopard and Snow Leopard only supports WEP, as shown below.

If you fancy setting up your own hotspot, then see (Based on the no longer active ChilliSpot, which is also used in FON’s Fonera.)

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Mac OS X Mountain Lion supports WPA/WPA2.
This question answers that.

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