How To Share Your Internet Connection on a Mac via Wi-Fi

Thanasak Wanichpan/Moment Mobile/Getty Images

Many hotels, virtual offices, and other locations only provide a single wired Ethernet connection. If you need to share that one Internet connection with multiple devices (including non-Mac computers and mobile devices), you can use your Mac as sort of wi-fi hotspot or access point for your other devices to connect (much like Windows' built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature, this capability is built into Mac OS X).

Note that this process shares your wired Internet connection (or 3G modem on your Mac) wirelessly with your other computers and mobile devices, so you need both an ethernet network adapter and a wireless adapter on your Mac; you could use a ​​wireless USB adapter to add wi-fi capabilities to your Mac if needed.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. First, go to System Preferences and click on the Sharing icon.
  2. On the menu on the left, click on the "Internet Sharing" service.
  3. Select where to share your connection from -- e.g., your Ethernet connection.
  4. Check how the client computers will connect to you -- e.g., AirPort.
  5. After making your selections, check the box next to "Internet Sharing" and you'll get prompt about turning on Internet sharing.
  6. Confirm that you want to proceed and then you'll be able to connect to your new wireless network from another wi-fi enabled device. Your wi-fi icon will also change to reflect the shared connection.​​​​

    Tips:

    1. Enable wireless encryption by clicking on the "AirPort Options..." button and checking the option to enable encryption. Although it only uses the very poor WEP protocol, the WEP encryption (choose 128-bit key length) is better than nothing.
    2. You can also change the channel for your wireless network to minimize conflicts with other networks, and also choose a unique name your network.
    1. Note that if your host Mac goes to sleep or shuts down, the clients will be disconnected.

    What You Need:

    • a Mac computer connected to the Internet and another network adapter
    • client computers that are wi-fi capable and can connect to the Internet
    • network adapter for each computer
    • modem for the entire network