Back in 2009, when Windows 7 was introduced, the newly included Wi-Fi hotspot (Virtual Wi-Fi) feature hogged enough limelight. But this feature has been present in Mac OS X for a long time under the name Internet Sharing. This built-in service let’s you share your wired or USB internet on Mac with other devices like iPhone, iPad, android and Windows PCs.
Internet Sharing on Mac: iDevices vs Windows
Recently, I have had some issues with my primary internet connection and I was looking to get my iMac (which uses the secondary USB internet connection) share the internet with my iPhone, iPad and my Windows PC. I found tons of articles describing how one can setup and use Internet Sharing feature of Mac OS X. We shall see that in a while, but it is important to note that, getting the iDevices to connect to the shared internet was straight-forward and simple. But to get the Windows 7 PC connected was a tedious task. Not anymore!
Guide to use Mac Internet sharing with Windows PC
Note: This tutorial is based on iMac using Mac OS X 10.7.4 & tested on iPhone 4S (iOS 6 beta), iPad 2 (iOS 5.1.1) & Windows 7 Ultimate (with SP1).
1. On your Mac, go to System Preferences -> Network, and connect to the internet.
2. Now go back to System Preferences and then click on Sharing.
3. On the list of services to the left, you’ll see Internet Sharing. Do not check it yet. We need to get the configuration done before that.
4. On the right pane, choose the internet connection you want to share and then check Wi-Fi. Note: On Mac running 10.6 and older OS, you’ll see Airport instead of Wi-Fi.
5. Then click on Wi-Fi options. In this window, you must provide a name for the Network. It is advisable to have a smaller name without spaces. Then choose the security to be 128-bit WEP. Provide a 13-character password and click on OK.
6. Now check the Internet Sharing box on the left. If Wi-Fi is disabled, you will be asked to enable it. Else, you will see a dialog box to confirm turning on of Internet sharing feature. Click on Start.
This should be enough to get the internet working on your iPhone or iPad or other Mac devices. On Windows 7 PC, you’ll be able to see this new Wi-Fi network, but you won’t be able to connect to it, no matter how many times you try. For that, you need to setup a profile first.
7. On your Windows PC, go to Start -> Control Panel -> Network & Sharing Center.
8. Click on Manage wireless networks link on the left.
9. Now click on Add button and you will get a pop-up dialog box asking you how do you want to add a network. Choose the first option, i.e Manually create a network profile.
10. Here, enter the network name exactly as you had set on Mac, choose security type as WEP & enter the same password as you had set on Mac. Click on Next.
11. In this screen, click on Change connection settings. This will open a new window. Click on Security tab and choose Shared as the Security type. This is very important to get the internet working. Then select WEP as the Encryption type and enter the same password for Network security key. Click on OK & Close.
That’s it. You should now be able to browse the internet on your Windows PC using the internet sharing option of Mac OS X. If something isn’t clear still, shoot your queries through the comment section and I’d be happy to help.