Setting up a Linksys router to share your broadband at home

Using a G3 Powerbook Pismo (year of manufacture 2000) 400 MHz 40GB Hard drive 640 MB RAM by Peter Phun

Now that you have broadband at home, DSL in my case, or cable modem, here's how to set up a router to connect your Macs and PCs.

Shopping for routers is quite an chore especially for us Mac users. Ask questions, surf the net check out Apple discussion boards, do your homework.

If you can afford it, the Apple base station and airport cards is definitely the way to go

It's probably easiest to set up but bear in mind it costs a lot more and you may be disappointed with the wireless range you might get.

Being a glutton for punishment and cheap, I opted for one of those "other routers" which don't provide any support and documentation for Macs at all. They don't even mention Macs on their boxes! You may see MAC.

One sales associate at a prominent store pointed that out on the box and was trying to convince me that they did support Macs.

Now, don't confuse this with MAC(all uppercase) that you might see on the boxes. MAC stands for Media Access Control it is your computer's unique hardware number.

If you want to know more about that, go to and type MAC in the search field and you should find some answers.

Below is a picture of the router that John recommended, it was on sale at compUSA for $80. The model # is the BEFW11S4.

A linksys wireless capable router

So you open the box take it out and as expected, there are no instructions for Macs. On the back of the router you will find 5 RJ45 ports. One port will have WAN over it, the other 4 will say LAN over it. We don't need to get into what that means to set this router up.

If your Mac is already hooked up for DSL or cable modem, unplug the RJ45 cable from the Ethernet port and plug that into the port that says "WAN," then launch your browser. I use Internet Explorer.

There should be some directions there that tells you to enter http:// 192.168......(these numbers will vary according to which router you buy. After you enter the numbers then you'll see the screen below:

interface for Linksys Router Administration

Generally these routers use an Internet browser for setting up. Their instructions will be similar or some variation of this.

Under the WAN connection Type, select PPPoE then enter your account name that you got from your ISP e.g. "" and also the password you used to connect via your dsl provider .

Select "enable." Then click "Apply" That is the basic set up. What's left is for you to set up your computer to get an IP address automatically from the router when you plug in the RJ45 cable into the ethernet port of your computer.

OS 9 users
Under the Apple menu, go to Control Panel then toTCP/IP.
A dialog box will appear that looks like this on the right.
Click on the Connect Via and choose DHCP server. And that’s it. If you have another Mac and are running OS 9, the above directions should get you set up. You may leave the Search domains box blank, I just happen to have "" in mine
Then connect the RJ45 cables: one into the ethernet jack of your computer and the other into any one of the other 4 LAN ports on the router and you're ready to surf the net.

OS user's TCP/IP dialog box

OS X users
Under the Apple Menu, select >System Preferencesand click on you should see the dialog box on the right.

Under theLocation field select new and give it a meaningful name e.g. Linksys router.
Thenclick on theTCP/IP tab. The dialog box will look different PPPoE is selected in picture on the right.) Under Configure Using DHCP. Now your Mac which is running OS X is ready to go. It will select a range of IP addresses assigned by your router.
Just plug your RJ45 cable into that computer’s Ethernet port and you’re ready to do some web surfing.

OS X DHCP dialog box



Back to Learn Mac Page