wireless

Share Your MacBook's Internet Connection with Your iPhone or iPad

Some hotels are greedy and charge for internet connectivity, or even worse they limit internet to a single wired connection per room - like the hotel I'm staying in right now. They only have a single Ethernet cable in the room and no WiFi.

Fortunately I'm using a MacbookPro which makes it's fairly easy to share the internet connection with my iPhone and iPad. Just turn on Internet Sharing and the built-in Airport will act like a wireless access point that you can connect to from any wireless device, just like you would connect to your wireless home network.

Here's the step-by-step:

1. Make sure an Ethernet cable is plugged into your Mac and you can browse the web.

2. Make sure your Airport is also turned on, by clicking the wireless icon in your menu bar and selecting "Turn Airport On".

3. Open System Preferences (click the Apple icon on the menu bar and you'll see it as a menu option) and select "Sharing".

4. Click "Internet Sharing" and make sure "Ethernet" is selected in the "Share your connection from" dropdown, and "Airport" is selected in the "To computers using" listbox.

5. Click "Internet Sharing" one more time and you'll be asked if you're sure you want to turn on Internet Sharing. Click "Start" to turn it on and start sharing your internet connection with your iPhone or iPad.

That's all it takes to share your Mac's internet connection and then you'll be able to connect your iPad or iPhone to it the same way you'd connect to any other wireless network.

How to Connect your iPad to a Wi-Fi Network

According to Apple only a "very small number of iPad users have experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity", and that a patch is on the way, yet I see articles all over the web that indicate the problem is much wider spread.

Sure enough, the iPad I brought home just yesterday was also having problems connecting to the same Wi-Fi network that my other devices and computers have connected to for months without problems.

Turn off wireless security

The only reliable, guaranteed fix for connecting my ipad to my Linksys home wireless network was to disable security.

At first I was able to get my ipad to connect to my Linksys WRT120N Wi-Fi router without problems, but not when I tried it again after the iPad had been on stand-by. It recognized the wireless network and would appear to connect, but then would lose the IP address within a few seconds (instead giving me a bogus address of 169.254.108.158).

You can check your ipad's network settings by tapping Settings -- Wi-Fi and then tapping the blue arrow next to the Network you're connecting to. You will typically see an IP address that starts with 192.168 instead of 169.254, and most of the other network fields should have values (Subnet Mask, Router, DNS, etc).

I tried several things that I've listed below, but the only thing that really worked was to turn off wireless security for my Linksys router. It's not as big of a risk as you might think, because my wireless router signal hardly even makes it out to the edge of my small backyard.

How to force your Sprint Overdrive to only connect at 4G speed

Sprint caps their 3G data plans at 2 GB a month, but 4G connectivity is unlimited and way faster too. Even at a low 20% signal strength I can watch a streaming Netflix movie with no pauses or frame drops, and without having to worry about exceeding the 2 GB limit that Sprint places on 3G connectivity.

The trick is to ensure that you're only connecting to the 4G network, which is one of the settings that can be easily configured on the Sprint Overdrive.

Here's how to force your Sprint Overdrive to only connect at 4G speed:

1. Open the Overdrive's admin console

The admin console for the Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G is a web page located at http://192.168.0.1. You can open this link in a web browser from any device that's connected to the Overdrive's wifi network, including your mobile phone if it has a web browser.

2. Log in as Admin

Enter your admin password and click OK to access the Overdrive's setup screens.

Hopefully you wrote the password down somewhere when you first configured your Overdrive, or you can also find it in the original contract you received from Sprint (which they also sent to my email address).

3. Set WAN Mode to "4G only"

Click the "WAN" tab in the admin console, and choose the "4G only" option from the WAN Mode dropdown.

I found that selecting "4G Preferred" doesn't connect at 4G very often, and tends to stay connected at 3G even when a 4G connection is available. For example, the Overdrive was able to find a 4G network right away when I changed to "4G only", even though it was running on 3G before I made the change.

Connecting a Linksys Wireless Router to a Comcast Modem

I upgraded my wireless home network this weekend from an old Netgear 802.11b router to a shiny new Linksys WRT120N router sporting the latest 802.11n technology, and a much sleeker design.

The network speed difference is very noticeable and significantly faster on the newer router, and the units were on sale for only $39 at Fry's so it seemed like a steal of a deal... until I tried to install it.

I have Comcast internet at home with a standard-issue Motorola cable modem, and it turns out that Linksys routers don't naturally connect directly with these modems.

The Network Magic software that comes with Linksys routers failed on the first setup screen with an "Error 321", claiming it could not detect my ethernet network adapter. Apparently the Linksys routers require you to connect through a separate router that sits between the Comcast modem and the Linksys router (or at least that's what I found hidden somewhere in the documentation) - and in fact, it worked fine if I connected through my old Netgear router to the Comcast modem.

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