Mac OS X AirPort Connection with Non-Apple Wireless Router/Gateway

Posted September 21, 2004 by macster in Mac networking

Do you need your Mac and your non-Apple wireless router to peacefully coexist? Out of the box, my iBook did not work with my Motorola broadband router. This tech-recipe describes the steps taken to make the two play together.

I had an existing Motorola wireless broadband router configured with 128-bit WEP using a preshared key. The iBook saw the ssid, accepted the key, and let me know that it made a connection to the router. The router saw the MAC address of the iBook, but I could not ping the router or get anywhere outside of my laptop tpc/ip stack.

After trying many settings, I discovered that changing the router to use WPA-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Pre-shared Key) and using TKIP encryption status allowed my iBook to work and easily send packets to and fro. On my router, this involved logging into the router admin web page, clicking wireless on the left panel, and then clicking the security tab. Under ESS Authentication, I selected WPA-PSK and for Encryption Status, I picked TKIP. I typed a pass key (alphanumeric password) twice in the two fields, and clicked Apply. Then I restarted the router.

When the Mac asked for the password for the wireless network, I entered the same thing I entered for the pass key in the wireless router.

I am certain that there are numerous other modes of configuration for both sides that will work, and I will continue to tinker with this and share what I find. If anyone else has other things to add, please add a comment.

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