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Emulate an Airport Base Station System
"GDIF" has written instructions on how to use your OS X box as a Software Base Station for Airport or ethernet routing.

You can find the page of instructions here:

NOTE: I don't have an Airport, and I have a hardware router, so I have not tested these myself, but they should work as expected...
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Software Airport Base Station
Authored by: DragonsBane on Dec 31, '01 03:13:25PM
I set this up back in October and thought I posted the link here. I must have forgotten. I was at the Palo Alto Apple Store yesterday and the question came up. I tried to find the answer on your site but could not. I am posting this now in the hopes that you will let it stay here for others to use. "Glenn Davis explains how to configure a Mac OS 10.1 box to be an Airport Software Base Station (i.e., a masquerading firewall)..." This is an amazing piece of work =) I am now writing to you via my new Airport SOFTWARE Base Station served from my OS 10.1 G4 over a DSL line!!!! He has a script in this URL that is for a PPP connection. I modified it so it would work over Ethernet. Short version change ppp0 to en0 (for your first Ethernet card - en1 for your second) here is the modified script: #!/bin/sh /usr/sbin/natd -dynamic -interface en0 /sbin/ipfw -f flush /sbin/ipfw add divert natd all from any to any via en0 /sbin/ipfw add pass all from any to any I found the answer to the name of the device here:

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Software Airport Base Station-UNIX ignorance
Authored by: MtnBiker on May 28, '02 03:42:15PM

I ran through the script and things seemed to happen.

But when I typed vi NATd, I got a bunch of ~'s.

I assume this is editing or creating a file NATd and if so how would I do it in a text editor (which I am more confortable with)? Or what should I be doing?

Thanks for any help.

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Software Airport Base Station-UNIX ignorance
Authored by: MtnBiker on May 28, '02 04:25:47PM

Why does clarity often come with posting?

I still don't understand it, but on re-re-reading I think I figured out that one is creating a five line document named NATd which is UNIX script.

By default this ends up in my higher level folder. True? Wouldn't there be a better place for this script?

Thanks again.

PS Is there a way to delete posting? I would just as soon have been able to delete mine. I don't see an option, but this page is very (very) busy.

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Software Airport Base Station-Mail mot working with 10.2.1
Authored by: MtnBiker on Sep 27, '02 04:18:02PM

Having problems now that I'm in 10.2.1. I can get the client to surf the net, but neither Entourage nor Mail works-no receiving, no sending of email.

Any ideas? The server machine can get and send mail. (For someone jumping in the middle of this, the situation is a PowerMac with an Airport card and DSL acting as a (Software) Airport Base Station for a PowerBook (client) with an Airport card. No actual Airport Base Station in the system).

PS the original link for this subject ( is dead. gdif (like me and others) didn't want to pay for the .mac.


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Authored by: Morgoth on Sep 24, '02 10:10:04PM

Using an actual base station you can limit access to a list of hardware IDs (MAC addresses). I'm not keen on an increasingly large 802.11b-equipped laptop population robbing my bandwidth.

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Authored by: eno on Oct 25, '02 12:33:26PM

With 10.2 Apple re-introduced the software base station feature back into the OS. Surely this has some kind of protection built in... doesn't it? Can't find any docs on it though... and until I do I am not going to get a pair of AirPort cards for my laptop and desktop combo.

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Authored by: barrysharp on Oct 25, '02 05:39:44PM

1) Use an Airport network password

2) Don't broadcast your Station ID so that others can't join your network

3) Config to allow only YOUR networked machine's MAC addresses

I don't know how one can see who's on your Airport network -- anyone know what tools are out their for this -- ie just like knowing who's logged into your machine via the 'who' terminal command.

I also don't know how you would stop a smart person from being able to 'sniff' the network. Encryption isn't necessarily safe from a smart person.

IMO I doubt is many home users have really secure data moving acroos home Airport networks -- so all of this network security stuff is of no real importance.

Regards... Barry Sharp

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Authored by: Morgoth on Oct 28, '02 12:02:42AM

I actually went cheap and decided to use my G4 as the base station. This is very easy to achieve: just get an Airport Card and set up sharing in System Preferences->Sharing->Internet. Unfortunately, it is equally easy for anyone in range of my signal to obtain a connection (any 802.11b WiFi device that can be configured using DHCP can get it).

Some notes of joy about Airport networks and Jaguar:
- Internet Sharing allows you to choose the sharing interface and create named networks with encryption
- USB printers are easily shared and automatically appear on connected computers
- Connected Jaguar computers can sub-share the connection providing a mesh network (very useful for offices with sparse layouts)

Some not-so-joyful notes:
- Apple really needs to enhance the Firewall configuration GUI. It only allows port blocking when MAC and IP based connection limiting are also extremely important.
- connected computers can only print to shared USB printers with default options
- Signal is generally weak and cannot pass through chimneys
- Actual bandwidth is nowhere near 11Mbits even without encryption (with Wallstreet Powerbook directly beside G4 I was only getting ~100KBytes/s over AFP)

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Authored by: Jaharmi on Oct 26, '02 08:50:42AM

Overall, the whole firewall-NAT situation seems to have changed in Jaguar. For example, the Internet Sharing feature seems to start a process called "InternetSharing":


InternetSharing seems to be able to start the AirPort software base station up in "infrastructure mode" rather than "ad hoc mode." This is an interesting difference ... with "ad hoc mode," you have a computer-to-computer network. With "infrastructure mode" you have what amounts to a "real" wireless access point.

You could regain some security by configuring the OS X DHCP server (which I assume InternetSharing is helping to start/configure) to only allow certain MAC addresses. Every Ethernet and wireless card has a MAC address, and although many let you modify those addresses nowadays, it's at least one more form of security. Used in conjunction with other security measures, it can be more effective. I don't know how to configure it to do this yet.

To encrypt traffic, you can either turn on WEP, or you can use VPN. There are some tutorials over at that I want to try; they tell you how to operate a PPTP server or IPSec tunnel from Mac to Mac. With VPN, particularly IPSec, all of your traffic is transparently encrypted behind the scenes, and more securely (in general) than WEP. Still, that's not necessarily for those who don't want to mess with the Terminal.

It would be cool to see someone come up with a comprehensive GUI for all this, similar to the way Brickhouse was evolving for 10.1.

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Emulate an Airport Base Station
Authored by: pmolaro on Apr 28, '03 12:07:47PM

Ok, I am confused? Are you all saying that I can make my Mac
a base station so I have wireless in my home without actually
buying an Airport base station? ( I have the card in my PB

Secondly, the link to the instructions is dead. If this is what you
are saying, where are the steps to turn this on? Is it the script
that DragonsBane references, or is there more to it? Is his
script just one long command or are those several commands?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is exciting if it works!

help?!?!?!? TIA

ps - email below is dead. use

Phillip Molaro

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