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I am going to be buying a MacBook Pro within the next few months (hopefully an updated version if it comes out) for university this autumn.

I am wondering, due to the Uni halls having only wired Internet, whether using the hotspot feature of the mac is appropriate for extended periods of time? This would be for the use of my iPhone and iPad which do not connect via Ethernet obviously.

I know I could buy a wifi router but was just wondering as this method (via MacBook) would be cheaper and more portable.

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What would be the downside of using if for a long time? Why do you think it would be a bad idea? –  daviesgeek May 1 '12 at 21:57
    
I'm not sure really, I was just worried that in the long run it may affect the reliability similar to a light bulb 'running out'. I see now that it is better to get a router anyway. –  Clayton Jones May 4 '12 at 16:46
    
Ok, understood. Yes, I would agree. A router is best. –  daviesgeek May 4 '12 at 17:53
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Internet Sharing "hotspot" feature does work well for this. However, it is WEP only and you are stuck with the default IP address range unless you do some hacking. I use an Airport Express and I find it's very convenient, supports "more" secure connections(WPA), and is configurable. It's also always available, never goes to sleep and never drains a battery. It can become a pain always having to have your MBP available for your iOS devices.

Being in an University environment, I would want to use something a little more secure then WEP.

Also, you can adjusts the signal strength on the AE. Turn it down if you'd like it to just cover your room. Turn it up if there is a lot of other WIFI going on. I'm not sure what kind of range you'll get on the MBP and how many connections it will handle well.

The MBP will work in a pinch. I'd get a dedicated device to save yourself time, and hassle.

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WEP only, for now. Perhaps it won't stay that way forever (wink, wink). –  Cyrille May 2 '12 at 9:33
    
Thanks for the great reply. I didn't know about changing the strength and the different security settings. Will take advice on board when I move in –  Clayton Jones May 4 '12 at 16:48
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While you can certainly use your laptop as your Wi-Fi hotspot, you will find certain limitations. Obviously, you can only have Wi-Fi available when your computer is powered on, and connected to your Internet source via Ethernet.

I've done this before on business trips. And it's not hard to setup. But, what I found was it was much easier having a dedicated device (Apple Airport Express) to serve my Wi-Fi constantly than worrying about having my laptop powered on, or connected to the Ethernet cable.

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Thanks! I will be sure to take this on board :) –  Clayton Jones May 4 '12 at 16:47
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