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getting my partners MacBook onto our wireless home LAN using AirPort

Posted on 2009-12-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I don't have much experience with Macs but know a bit about basic networking, well enough to set up a home network based on a cable modem, cable router with both wired and wireless PC clients.

My partner has a MacBook which used to be on the wireless network. I had to reset our router and start again. I can get all the PC's back onto the LAN, but not the MacBook.

We are trying to use AirPort. I'm not even sure how/where to open up the network config. settings in MacOS so if we could start there.

I'm ok with most of the networking concepts (just need to know how/where to configure them in the mac)
Question by:zorba111
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LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Philip_Spark earned 1200 total points
ID: 26130420
You can access network prefs via the airport menu
or through apple menu system prefs > network
system prefs may also be found in the dock if it's been put there.

usually when you turn airport on it manages to find available networks by itself.

Author Comment

ID: 26130441
>> You can access network prefs via the airport menu
>> or through apple menu system prefs > network

ok thanks

>> system prefs may also be found in the dock if it's been put there.

wasn't set up on hers so can't find it - never mind, other 2x methods will suffice

>> usually when you turn airport on it manages to find available networks by itself.

airport is on, but not finding our network. Picking up a neighbours though!
Should pick up ours because this PC laptop I'm typing on is picking it up, and its right beside the MacBook.

LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 26130552
Here's some videos



I've only ever used join network through the airport sub menu.

At work, it was easy to join. At home as yourself I currently enjoy the pleasure of my neighbours wifi until my broadband account comes through (middle of January, why it takes 21 days for these things to be set up from activation of phone line is beyond me).

I expect you don't need to be told to password protect your wifi or you'll get crooks like myself abusing your bandwidth.
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Author Comment

ID: 26130723
LOL - all my neighbours are smart enuff to have their networks secured :-)

Author Comment

ID: 26131068
First video assumes we are connecting to an Airport basestation. You have to go in via Finder > Applications > Utilities > Airport Utilities. Then scan for an Airport basestation.

Unfortunately I am using a Netgear Rangemax WPNT834 router, not an Aiport basestation.

Our local wireless network hosted by the Netgear router (naturally) doesn't show up, nor do any of the neighbourhood ones. It looks like they are not Airport basestations either.

The second video also is predicated on using the Aiport basestation also :-(

Author Comment

ID: 26131078
in the router settings under "Wireless Advanced"
Enable SSID Broadcast = YES

I'm thinking it must be some setting on the router is stopping the mac picking up the network's presence. Now we are right beside the wireless router and its still not picking it up!

Under Wireless settings I have :
Region: Europe (choices are Europe, Asia, Australia)
Channel: 01 (choices are auto, 01, 02 etc to 13)
Mode: g and b (choices are "g and b", "g only", up to 126Mbps, up to 240Mbps)

I tried changing channel from the defaults of auto to 01
and mode from default of 240Mbps to "g and b"

still no joy

seem to remember channels had something to do with it, last time we had this working....
but could be wrong

Author Comment

ID: 26131127
We are on:

Mac OS X
Version 10.5.8

(under Apple icon > About this Mac
 ... in case I forget! )
LVL 53

Assisted Solution

strung earned 400 total points
ID: 26131348
Go to:

\System\Library\CoreServices\MenuExtras and double click on Airport.menu

This will add the Airport menu to your menu bar.

Pull down the Airport Menu to Join Other Network, then Show Networks and see if your network appears.

I see you have chosen the Europe Region for your router. Are you in fact in Europe? Is your MacBook also European?
LVL 53

Expert Comment

ID: 26131360
P.S. while you are in the MenuExtras folder, you may find some other useful menubar items to add. I particularly like the Eject menu item which adds an item to the menu bar to eject CD's.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

splait earned 400 total points
ID: 26131393
You said the Mac can't even detect the network.  The only setting you mentioned that could block your Mac from detecting the presence of your network is the SSID broadcast setting, and that's enabled, so the issue has to be with the Mac somehow.

In the very first post on this thread, Phillip_Spark showed a view of the Airport pulldown menu.  It shows a selection entitled, "Join Other Network...".  You get to that menu by clicking on the icon in the upper right of your monitor that looks like four arcs radiating upwards from a point (it will be to the left of the time). Select Join Other Network.

You should enter your network's SSID exactly as set in the router.  Select the security scheme you used in the router, and then enter the security code.  When you click"Join", you should be able to use the Internet.

It shouldn't have to work this way, so if this does get you on the Internet, we haven't really solved the problem, but we've worked around it for the meantime.

Phillip_Stark - What you are doing, siphoning off bandwidth from a neighbor, is against the law in the US.  I don't know where you live, but you need to be very careful!  I know you are getting around the problem set up by your phone company until you get service, but it won't be fun if you get caught.  If you haven't at least gotten a verbal OK from your neighbor, I would do that, if you can.

Author Comment

ID: 26131654

If the airport menu is what philip spark posted in his first image (ie a "radio waves" icon with a dropdown under it), then we have that up already. But good to know about these extra menus, and how to enable it on other machines, so thanks.

Author Comment

ID: 26131692
A few days ago to get the rest of the network going I'd reset the factory defaults on the router. Then I'd upgraded the firmware on the router from 1.041 (i thinnk) to 1.051.

I saw something on the apple forum abut a guy with this router, needing to go back some versions on his firmware to be able to see his wireless network, so I went back to 1.041

Hey presto, now we can see the wireless network!
Joining it is now easy because by now I've disabled security to make it as simple as possible.

Maybe your solution @splait of "forcing" the connection, even without the SSID appearing would have worked. but for now, happy to run with older version of firmware.

I looks like this is why it used to work before I reset & upgraded the router.

Thanks to all, will award points anyhow....
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 26131733
Good thinking, zorba111!  Keep an eye on the router firmware upgrades over time, though.  Upgrading the firmware can speed up your connections sometimes.  Eventually, Netgear will fix the problem and you can upgrade again.

Author Comment

ID: 26131806
cheers @splait!!

I wouldn't bet on Netgear coming up with an updated firmware anytime soon.

1.0.41 dates from May 3, 2006,
and 1.0.51 dates from November 09, 2006

I'd say they've ceased supporting this model :-(

shame that the most recent firmware breaks wireless connectivity with (some) Macs !!!

If I can find the right place quickly, I'll post this on the Netgear site also, might prompt a fix, we can but hope....

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