My laptop (Yosemite) is now 'PPPoE' connected over wifi, what is this and what does it mean?

  • Previously I was just connected by wifi (there was no mention of wifi)
  • My AirPort base station connects to my cable-modem via PPPoE (using an ethernet cable)

Should I be worried? It seems to have happened since Yosemite.

Everything seems to be working fine, but I noticed this when I was recently tightening security on my AirPort.

Edit: given comments that only the router needs PPPoE, I'm concerned PPPoE is being used to bypass the protections of my Router (AirPort).

Some screenshots: airport PPPoE PPPoE in wifi on the Laptop

  • who is your Internet provider?
    – Ruskes
    Dec 4, 2014 at 23:52
  • @Buscar BT (UK) - it is fibre to the end of the street, looks like ADSL to the house.
    – Stephen
    Dec 5, 2014 at 0:23
  • The critical issue is where the network authentication occurs. With a simple DSL modem this is downstream of the modem i.e. a directly connected device. Most ADSL modems have this inbuilt (and thus require to have username/password entered into the modem), but can be configured to operate with an external client.
    – Milliways
    Dec 5, 2014 at 6:25
  • I've never known BT to use PPPoE, though it's been a while since I was with them. Presumably, if it's using PPPoE, you'd need to provide a name & password, otherwise anybody passing by could use it too.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 5, 2014 at 8:01
  • @Tetsujin Screenshot to prove it.
    – Stephen
    Dec 5, 2014 at 18:52

2 Answers 2


It was probably there before Yosemite but you did not see it.

Usually when your Internet service provider requires it it will be used.

PPPoE stands for Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet. PPPoE has become a favorite technology of broadband Internet service providers, who use it to save time and money. DSL and cable modem subscribers, on the other hand, have reason to be less enthusiastic about PPPoE.

PPPoE Client Overview

PPPoE combines two widely accepted standards, Ethernet and PPP, to provide an authenticated method of assigning IP addresses to client systems. PPPoE clients are typically personal computers connected to an ISP over a remote broadband connection, such as DSL or cable service. ISPs deploy PPPoE because it supports high-speed broadband access using their existing remote access infrastructure and because it is easier for customers to use.

PPPoE provides a standard method of employing the authentication methods of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) over an Ethernet network. When used by ISPs, PPPoE allows authenticated assignment of IP addresses. In this type of implementation, the PPPoE client and server are interconnected by Layer 2 bridging protocols running over a DSL or other broadband connection.

You can set up a new PPPoE or check the current set up.


  • "Usually when your Internet service provider requires it it will be used." really? this is the connection from my laptop to the Airport (time capsule).
    – Stephen
    Dec 5, 2014 at 0:24
  • To Quote you: My AirPort base station connects to my cable-modem via PPPoE (using an ethernet cable)!
    – Ruskes
    Dec 5, 2014 at 0:47
  • 1
    Do Macs normally show PPPoE info when the base station is handling the PPPoE connection? This certainly is not the case on non-Apple routers.
    – Chris A
    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:38
  • 1
    If the router (apple or non) is doing the PPPoE, the local machines will have no need to do so, getting their info from the router's DHCP system. I think it is possible to have a local machine use PPPoE to "tunnel" through the router, effectively bypassing the router's activities.
    – j-beda
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:04
  • 1
    It might been hacked if you use 2 letter password ! Your computer must not use the PPPoE to connect to the Apple Airport (check on that). Your Apple Airport might or might not need the PPPoE to connect to the BT modem (check on that)
    – Ruskes
    Dec 5, 2014 at 19:03

Generally speaking, only the router should need any PPPoE login credentials, and all the devices on the local network would get their connection through the router (in your case the AirPort base station), with the router giving them local network information via DHCP. If other devices on the local network are working properly with "standard" wireless and wired settings, you should be safe in giving your laptop the same standard settings.

I would create a new "location" in the "Network" System Preferences, and set up the laptop without any PPPoE settings and connect it to the router (in your case the AirPort base station). If that works, you can safely change the old "location" settings to remove the PPPoE setup, or just delete the old "location" setting. I do not recall if deleting the old "location" setting will also delete any saved wireless passwords that you might have - so if you delete the old "location" setting, you might have to re-enter Aunt Tilda's wireless password when you visit her over the holidays.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .