How to block Macs from Wireless Network...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by atomiton, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. atomiton macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    Hi there, I have a bit of a problem. My boss's brother uses a Mac laptop (don't know what model) as a teacher at a high school in the US. Other teachers also use Macs.

    Apparently, the IT guy has blocked all Apple computers from the wireless network. The IT guy doesn't like Macs. (Please no diatribe about IT guys hating Macs... after all there is a higher % of MS haters in the Apple crowd than vice-versa)

    I suspect he just filtered out based on MAC addresses... which can be overcome by buying an aftermarket wireless USB fob, which I think would have a non-Apple Mac address.

    But before he tests it by buying a fob, is there any other way with a WEP key to do it?

    I know he is using the second slot of the Wep key (out of 4 slots you normally see on a windows machine).

    Is there any other way to specifically block Mac computers, without using MAC filtering?
  2. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Yeah, but amongst /IT people/, how many are Mac haters and how many are PC haters? :rolleyes:

    Well anyway... I don't have any idea how they would block Macs specifically. It's not like they have MAC addresses they say "I'm a Mac's MAC!" ;), unless there's something I don't know about MAC addresses here.
  3. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    I'm not sure if it's possible to block out a specific computer platform, other than using some non-standard networking protocol, or allowing only certain MAC addresses for computers he already knows will be accessing the network.
  4. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    Well, I'm in IT. We use Macs too. I have one at home and on my desk. There may be some dislike... mostly stemming from Mac Users... anyway.
    but this guy's just virulent.

    As for MAC addresses... the first four octets identify the manufacturer... so it's definitely easy to block Apple computers... but I'm just thinking if there's another way he's doing it... so we can try that first.
  5. matttrick macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2006
    that is very strange. maybe it blocks out anyone connecting with mac OS? do any of them have an intel with windows on it as well to try? i dont know how they would know the mac addresses of all macs to block them..

    edit: nevermind, seems they can do that.
  6. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    why don't all the teachers get together and call BS on the IT guy, and have him explain it to the principal or head admin person. Unless they're using their macs to surf for porn, the principal should be encouraging them. Have the IT guy explain why Macs, but no other brand of laptop, poses a problem for the network.

    If the teachers all go out to get hardware workaround, teh IT guy will probably figure it out, block them, and they'll each be out $25-40.
  7. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    They do. MAC addresses are assigned to manufacturers in blocks. The first six characters are granted to a particular manufacturer who then gets to use every possible combination of the other six characters. All the IT guy has to do is prevent the ranges assigned to Apple and he blocks all Macs.

    Here's the blocks either fully or partially assigned to Apple.
  8. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    ^^^ I agree that it is the solution... and if I knew the guy, I'd suggest the same thing... but it's my boss's brother's school... so I just wanted to offer a suggestion.
  9. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Look, if this guy took all of the chalk out of the classrooms because he thinks white boards and magic markers are better, you wouldn't be trying to find out how to make chalk out of talcum powder and paste. The equipment supports Macs. The computers are used for work. This guy is arbitrarily interfering with your brother's, and his colleagues, ability to do their job. Report him to a superior.
  10. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    But is there any other way to block them?

    He suspected it had to do with the WEP key being on the second line... I know some windows machines have problems with Airports and the PAssword or WPA key... but anyone heard of the opposite?
  11. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    Yeah, I don't know the politics of the issue... I will mention that, though.
  12. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    For the record, white boards and markers ARE better...

    Better for computers, easier to clean, not as dirty, etc. etc.
  13. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    What evidence do you have that he's blocking them? Did he literally say those words to you? It could be that he's set something up which is somehow not Mac compatible just by nature of its design.

    If you want to test your hypothesis, it is possible with certain wireless cards and drivers to spoof a MAC address. I've done this with LinkSys cards under Linux. If you have access to such a machine, try changing the MAC address to the same as one of your Macs and see if it still gets rejected.

    There are probably some other ways to block Macs...I'm not sure exactly. It's possible that the DHCP server can tell what kind of OS DHCP requests are coming from.

    We could probably use some more information here. What happens when you connect from a Mac, and what happens when you connect from a PC with the same passphrase? Is the security WEP or WPA? Maybe he just gave you the wrong WEP key! There are a lot of possibilites.

    Edit: nevermind, I see your post says WEP. What does the key look like? It is a long hexadecimal string or is it a memorizable word or group of characters? On Windows if I recall there is a place where you type in a word and it hashes it out for you into a WEP key. I'm pretty sure MacOS doesn't have the same feature, so if he's giving you a passphrase like that it could cause problems.
  14. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    Very good questions.

    I'm just getting 3rd hand info here... so I don't know all the answers... my boss isn't too tech-savvy.

    1- I'm pretty sure it's using WEP.

    That's what I'm curious about.

    I agree. I can't do MUCH here, as I'm 4000km away... just wanted some ideas... that I could let my boss know.

    It really is annoying the lengths that people go to block them on the network... not co-operating and actively blocking are two separate things.

    I'll see if I can get more information...

    the only way I knew before was using the MAC address... which is probably what's happening.
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I guess if you want a test case of the MAC Address theory, just use ifconfig to set the MAC address of one of the computers with a different leading six characters....

    But this person really ... egh. If you don't want a certain kind of computer on your network, it should be a policy. Not one guy fiddling with settings. And you should have a reason for the policy.
  16. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    tell me about it... the guy's a real piece of work... and apparently not well liked by the teachers.
  17. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2006
    I say. How very...suspicious.

    It rather seems to me that you have tried to cunningly ask how to block Apple computers from a network without knowing the MAC address, so that you can do EXACTLY THAT!

    Are you in fact the IT guy, seeking revenge for something bad that happened to you with System 7 back in the early 90s? Bitter about constant defeats at the hands of the AI in Shufflepuck Cafe?

    A touch! A sting! Your game is called.
  18. ChickenSwartz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2006
    I used to not like Macs. I had to use them for a Summer job. Then I started to like them. I went back to school and starting not liking Macs again. After a while I realized that all the Mac users I knew were pompous jerks, acted like they were better than everyone becasue they had a Mac. I know this is not the case for all Mac owners. I have since met a few that weren't as described above.
  19. atomiton thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    This is so true. It's about recognizing their strengths and weaknesses.

    I have only a Mac and a PC I haven't turned on in a few years at home... and it's an old G4 300Mhz... Still runs, albeit.. forget most of iLife... takes forever.

    I try to preach the advantages of Mac at work... and recently our DB admin got one for home... but recently our Creative Services Manager has NOT been helping.

    Our Purchasing dept tried to get him a Dell Ultrasharp 24" instead of an ACD, and he trolled the internet for specs on the ACD, and eventually, he said he needed firewire in the monitor... and he NEEDs a new PowerMac intel quad core... so frustrating... then he comes in here spouting about now that he can run Windows on his Intel Mac (needed to run our ERP unless you want to use Citrix) he can now join the leagues of people who have to suffer with downtime when there's system maintenance.

    The guy obviously doesn't understand how database locking works and is such a pompous prick and makes my evangelizing job more difficult.

    You really have to be balanced... there is a LOT of businesses which basically COULD NOT run on Macs... period... as they're often too restrictive for their needs... many times, a specific need can't wait for the next mac or a future release... it needs to be fixed or done now.

    To sum up, I tell the rest of the team, the Mac is good at what it does... but just doesn't do what it doesn't. Windows does everything, just not particularly well.

    Anyway, frustrations aside... why would i troll Mac boards for a way to disable macs if I could do it by disabling their MACs. There's more solutions to answers in this thread... than ways to make it more restrictive.

    besides, look at my previous posts.
  20. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Not sure how that is relevant... the Mac can accept 26-digit hex keys or passphrases equally well in the "enter password" dialog box. I've had to do it both ways to satisfy a picky router.

    While the Mac may not have a hashing utility, there are web forms that can take passphrases and turn them into hex keys.

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