3G internet connection sharing via Airport

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by batbear, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. batbear macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    I have an interesting challenge. Basically, several computers sharing the same 3G internet connection. Some background needed to see what I have to work with:
    • I am at a location where there is no fixed line - neither phone nor cable TV. Only internet connection is via mobile / 3G.
    • Some friends and I want to pitch in and buy a 3G modem (most likely USB), and share the connection. One subscription with a high limit is much cheaper than several subscriptions with low limits. Plus, reception at ground is poor. I'll have to fix the 3G unit on a mast, and probably run it down to a router / computer with a USB extension cord.
    • The connection should be shared via my Airport Extreme, but other routers also possible. Thus, wifi. Much like at a wifi hotspot. Of course, several users should be able to surf at the same time.
    • We should be able, for all the users, to monitor bandwith and data usage. Perhaps also limit it.
    Some possible configurations:
    • 3G USB modem - connected directly to the Airport Express. Postings in other forums say this will not work.
    • 3G USB modem > mac mini (or other computer) via ethernet > airport extreme WAN port. I guess the mac mini would need to run hotspot software?
    Anyone out there done something like that? Input would be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. jimmyjoemccrow macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2009
    The Airport Extreme won't know what the hell a 3G dongle is so your best bet is to share the internet connection on the Mac Mini.

    However, 3G usually gives awful speeds so don't be expecting several people to be able to download from iTunes all at once.
  3. kkurtz macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010
    3g Connection for African NGO

    Hey, just wanted to say that I have the need for this exact same setup and I have tried it with no luck. I am trying to set up an internet connection in northern Uganda where phone lines and sat. are near impossible. I am sharing my 3g internet (Orange connection via usb dongle) then using an ethernet cable to connect to my airport extreme. I have tried all kinds of different settings but I can't seem to get the connection to work. In the mean time I have been sharing my connection via my laptop and creating a wireless network. This works ok but I would like to have the shared drive that is connected to the airport extreme on the same network. I have heard of this working with other routers but someone said you have to put the ethernet cable into one of the outgoing ports rather than the typical ethernet connection in. I can't figure why that would work but i don't really know much about this stuff.
  4. WildGuess macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2010
    I have set up and used a Cradlepoint mbr1000 using a USB AirCard with complete success. Download its operating manual and check out what it can do.
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I set up some friends in a rural area with the Cradlepoint MBR1000 that WildGuess mentions. It's an excellent unit.

    They're using the Sierra Wireless Mercury.

    I've had 2 PCs and my MBP sharing their 3G connection (AT&T), and it works. Is it great? No. But it definitely works.

    When I first got it going, the signal strength wasn't too good, and varied a lot (even though the unit was in a fixed position).

    So I got them a high-gain directional antenna, and that made a big difference. The antenna setup wasn't cheap, though.

    I have found this outfit to be really helpful.


    Not affiliated, etc. Check out their antenna pages.
  6. svenwillmann macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    My setup

    Sharing my 3G connection here in Africa with the following setup

    - USB 3G modem (huawei)
    plugged into a router
    - Dovado UMR
    plugged into
    - Airport Extreme
    via ethernet

    I am running the AE in bridge mode and let the Dovado hand out the IPs.

    For quite a long time I was trying to find an adequate USB mobile broadband router. The Dovado had the biggest support for most of the USB 3G modems, supports hot plugin, is not network bound and emails to their service have been answered immediately. Thats why I went with this option.

    Running this for about a year now and never had any problems.

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