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Mac Mini as standalone wireless demo box

935 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2013 8:43 PM by milktease RSS
ChuckPrice Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
May 26, 2012 10:13 PM

I want to enable a Mac Mini's wifi without having any other active network (No cable in the ethernet port). Purpose is to use the box in a portable demo environment, where the demo laptop connects via wireless to the application running on the Mini. Is this possible? The only options that are apparent are via Internet Sharing, but it seems you must share some other port (like ethernet), and if that port is not active, the wireless is not enabled. At least that is the observed behavior.


The use case is this. Sales guy has the mini and his laptop with him. He goes to the customer, plugs in the mini, waits a couple of minutes, fires up the laptop, connects to the mini's wireless connection, does his (web based) demo. The mini does not connect to anything but the wall power. There are good reasons for not putting this application on the laptop itself.

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.7.2), OS X Lion Server
  • Strontium90 Level 4 Level 4 (2,895 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2012 7:55 AM (in response to ChuckPrice)

    Interesting proposition.  But it should be possible. 


    In my experience, you do not need an active connection on the "Share from" setting.  For example, I will commonly set my laptop to share its Wireless connection over ethernet.  Then I will connect my laptop to a raid case or other device in a data center, allowing my ethernet port to hand off a DHCP lease.  Meanwhile, the wireless connection is not connected to anything and is getting a 169.254 bonjour address.


    So without access to a device to try at the moment, the theory should hold that you can set the Share you connection from to the Mini's ethernet port.  Then check the Airport/Wi-Fi port as broadcast port.  This should reveal the Wi-Fi Option button, allowing you to define a simple security and an ssid.


    Now, the one thing you may have trouble with it DNS.  However if the mini is only doing a web demo and you are using relative links, then you should be fine.

  • John.Kitzmiller Level 3 Level 3 (870 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2012 5:29 PM (in response to ChuckPrice)

    It seems to me like it might be easier to host the mini somewhere like, give the sales guy a mobile hotspot, and just have him connect to the web based demo that way.

  • Camelot Level 8 Level 8 (45,670 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2012 9:36 PM (in response to ChuckPrice)

    You might need a two-part solution.


    The problem mostly hinges around the Mini acting as a base station, which it only does under certain circumstances (i.e. when it's sharing the internet connection).


    One solution, therefore, would be to carry a Mini and a small wireless base station of some kind - even the diminuitive Apple AirPort Express would do. The base station would create a small wireless network to which both the Mini Server and the client laptop would connect to. You wouldn't have any issues of the Mini not working due to the lack of en0 connection, and you'd have consistent IP addresses to work with.

  • milktease Calculating status...
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    Jan 2, 2013 8:43 PM (in response to ChuckPrice)

    Hello Chuck,


    I found this through a generic search and it's just what I need, I think.  My use will be to use an ipad as sole interface to a mac mini using wifi.


    So I'm wondering if you've made any changes to this setup in the last 7 months or any other epiphones.  Next I'm looking for the best of the vpn clients for ipad.


    Thanks for posting your solution which beats the **** out of a menu picking applescript for an adhoc network.  I get paranoid that menus will change, timings that are sensitive, etc.


    cheers, happy new year!


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