When router won’t support wifi, try a different tactic

One of my home clients asked me to provide wireless access to her iPhone. While the wired connection to her iMac was rock-solid, extending the network to provide wifi access proved problematic. After numerous failed attempts and support calls to her ISP, I tried another tact that proved to be successful.

At first glance, it would appear that I would have no problem configuring the venerable Linksys WRT54g router for wireless connectivity. Simply turn on AirPort on the iMac, type the Linksys router IP address ( into a browser location window, enter the default password, and make the necessary adjustments in the wireless configuration pages. Even after making those changes, I could not get the customer’s iPhone nor my device to bring up a Safari web page while in wireless mode, even after a successful authentication.

Digging deeper, I noted that the customer had contracted with AT&T as her DSL service provider and that her iMac was responsible for negotiating a PPoE connection instead of her router or Speedstream 5100 modem. As an experiment, I turned off wireless encryption, but that change didn’t help matters, either. Next, I attempted to install the latest firmware update for her router, which proved fruitless, as the update wouldn’t take. Rejection of the installer told me that her router (a Model 6) already was equipped with the latest firmware.

Next, I considered trying to install my used 4-year-old AirPort Express that I carry in my computer bag, but backed off when I saw that it was one of the older models that only had one Ethernet port and the Speedstream only had one port to offer as well.

Finally, I hit on the idea of sharing the iMac’s wireless Internet connection as a viable solution to the problem. Opening the Sharing pane in System Preferences, I visually scanned the list of choices until I saw the entry for Internet Sharing. Before finalizing the shared connection, I first took the extra step of adding a WEP encryption key by clicking the AirPort options button located in the lower right corner of the screen. After entering the sane key in the two Password fields, I finalized the process by placing a check mark next to the Internet Sharing box and exited out of System Preferences.

Afterward, I successfully tested the connection by walking into different rooms with my iPhone’s wireless mode turned on. I logged onto Safari and found that my bookmarks loaded very quickly. I tried the same procedure using my client’s iPhone and obtained the same results.


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Filed under Apple Software, Third Party Hardware, Troubleshooting

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