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I live in a building that has wireless internet. How do I use it while also having access to my wifi network, which connects my Mac to my other devices (Philips Hue, Belkin Wemo, streaming music from my Mac to my Apple TV, etc).

I'm using the latest version of macOS/OSX on a Mac Mini, plus an iPhone and an iPad. I also own an Apple Airport Extreme, which I'm using to serve my local wifi network. I also have a 1st gen Airport Express that I haven't used in ages, but it's old enough that the OSX Airport Utility app can't configure it (I think it's from 2006?).

UPDATE: I answered my own question. See answer below (tl;dr: I bought a new Airport Express & added it to my setup)

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You can connect your Mac Mini to the building's wireless network, and then via Ethernet to your AirPort Extreme. Then setup Internet sharing from Wifi to Ethernet and you'll be able to have both internet from your wireless provider and a local wifi network for your IoT devices and streaming setup.

  1. Connect the ethernet cable to the Mac
  2. Launch “System Preferences” from the  Apple menu and click on “Sharing”
  3. Click on “Internet Sharing” from the left menu
  4. Select the pull-down menu next to “Share your connection from:” and choose “Wifi ” or "AirPort"
  5. Alongside “To computers using:” check the box next to “Ethernet”
  6. Click Ok

Then open Airport Utility and configure your AirPort Extreme unit as follows:

  1. Open AirPort Utility, located in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. Select the base station you want to set up, then click Edit.
  2. Click Network, and then choose Off (Bridge Mode) from the Router Mode pop-up menu.

With NAT and DHCP turned off, the base station acts as a simple bridge between the wired and wireless computers on the network.

Only your Mac Mini should connect to your building wireless network; if any other device of yours connects to it you won't "see" it on your local network.

  • Interesting! This works like a charm. So, basically what this does is add whatever I've set up to share in my Mac's Preferences/Sharing to the local wifi network on my Airport Extreme... correct? – 2oh1 Sep 2 '16 at 19:35
  • It converts your Mac into a router that can assign DHCP addresses to a local network. Then your AirPort Extreme takes one of those addresses and on its turn does the same to create yet another network, this time with a wireless access point. You may have some trouble to reach your Mac Mini when connected to the AirPort Extreme network (I'm thinking on a printer connected to it for instance, and trying to print from one iOS device). – Jaime Santa Cruz Sep 2 '16 at 19:40
  • I can't help wondering if there's a better way to accomplish this. Is there an Ethernet wifi gizmo I can buy to plug into my router? Sometimes, this setup works. Sometimes, it'll drop a device - usually Hue, which has a hub that must be connected to the router by ethernet cable. Sometimes, my Mac can see Hue but my iPhone can't. Other times, my iPhone can, but my Mac can't. I've had Hue since 2013 and it's been flawless until now. Also, some iPhone apps that connect to my Mac (BTT Remote, for example) aren't reliable anymore. – 2oh1 Sep 3 '16 at 1:30
  • Ah, shoot. It looks like this won't work. My iPhone and iPad can connect to my Apple TV, but my Mac cannot, presumably because my Apple TV is on my wireless network, but my Mac is not. – 2oh1 Sep 3 '16 at 1:46
  • I'll add configuration details – Jaime Santa Cruz Sep 3 '16 at 2:28
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UPDATE: I answered my own question as follows:

I bought an Apple Airport Express and set it up on my building's wifi. Then, I connected it by ethernet cable to my Airport Extreme's WAN port. My Airport Extreme is still functioning just as it always has, broadcasting my local wifi network. I've been testing this for over a week now and it's been flawless. Best of all, the current Airport Express model can be found on ebay for under $40 shipped.

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