Can I link all the macs up in the office?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by yalag, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. yalag macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    We have 12 macs in the office that currently talks to a mac mini over our wireless network. We found that it's extremely slow accessing the network drive. Would it be possible to link up all the macs with a hub over ethernet but still route all the internet traffic over the wireless to the router?

    P.S (our mac mini is not wired either so no, we can't use that as a router).
  2. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Yes. You could link all the Macs via a Switch. Is the MacMini running OS X Server? You should then be able to use it as a DHCP server for the 12 other Macs. To force them to connect to the shared drive via the wired connection, you'd just have them connect via the IP assigned to the ethernet port of the Mini.

    That is just a quick an dirty way of doing it. I'm sure there are smarter ways, but it has worked for me in an environment of 6-8 workstations before.
  3. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    Yeah Wireless sucks Majorly!

    Do you have internet? How is it connected?

    You have a lan cable for internet eh?

    Well Buy a router (plug in the wan to the internet connection) then plug in and set it up

    and then 16 port hub\switch and connect all of the other computes via lan,
    you all can use the mini server as a server still it will be much faster over lan cable.
  4. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007

    All my macs and the mini is connected wirelessly right now to the router (which is at a corner of the office and I can't move it).

    How do I join all the macs in a LAN together but continue to use the router for internet?
  5. pismobrat macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    1) Buy a 8 or 16 port Gigabit switch.
    2) Find a spare port on the router - should have 4 of them
    3) take on ethernet cat5e cable and hook one of the spare ports from the router to the switch
    4) hire a cabling fellow to run ethernet cables from all the workstation to the switch.
    5) your router will assign IP addresses to the lan computers just like it does on wireless
    6) Nothing to configure on the workstations, LAN/Ethernet connections will automatically take precedence over the wireless.
    7) welcome yourself to a proper network without having to spend a fortune on a high end wireless system.
    8) Might be worth having an IT Consultant hired to provide assistance. There are usually things you forget to connect or need a slightly different configuration.
  6. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    I can't link the router to any device. I thought I've said that, 4 times by now. If I could I would it done it already. This is why I'm asking on the forum because it's a tricky situation.
  7. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    plug the other macs in the router

    A router will be from 3-4 ports,

    If your "router" only has one its a modeom

    Then buy a true router, and a switch
    You will need a switch to add more ports and then wire them up with lan cables,

    This will be much faster then wlan,
  8. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    Why can't people understand that I can't wire to the router. This forum is hilarious. It's free bumps I guess.
  9. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    well nothing will speed up wireless in a mac mini its your only alternative and its not that hard to do,
  10. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    well it will speed it up if I wire all the macs with the mini, just not with the router.
  11. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    You can do that if you want,

    why wont you wire it up to the router? I dont understand why?

    Also why not get a usb to enthernet adaptor to plug the server mini to the other minis

    So it would be

    Itnernet - usb adaptor - Mini Server - lan port to hub - other minis

    and dis conect all minis from the wifi and leave the wifi open for ipads and such?

    any usb enthernet adaptor will work. but I would get the apple one, it will work, I know of it working just fine
  12. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
  13. Major.Robto macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2012
    Then your out of luck you can not seed up wifi,

    Wifi with 11 computers is going to be slow its a over load,

    higher a IT consoultant, you need to at this point, so he can figure the best way to do with with your crazy restraints
  14. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    This thread never fails to make me laugh. I'm not trying speed up wifi. I'm trying to connect my macs to the mini ROFL
  15. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    So OP wants to connect all the macs to a switch that is connected to the mac mini to access data?

    Then use the wireless router for external internet traffic?
  16. deadshift macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2011
    add a router, still use wireless

    There are lots of terrible ways to do this, like buying a wireless access point and asking it to be a client to your current wireless router, or bridge to it, and then run a wired network from that which falls in the same broadcast domain as your wireless network ... or set up a wired network with a different IP range than your wireless network, but no default gateway, so default gateway (internet) communication still goes through the wireless even though it would generally not be the preferred route.

    I think the real solution is to have a router. You can keep your old wireless connection to your internet router if you like to, or need to, fine. But the mac mini, or some other dedicated device, should provide its own network with DNS, DHCP, NAT, and uplink to your wireless network. Now you can add a wireless access point to your new downstream network and have the wireless uplink to the internet, and a proper hybrid wired and wireless infrastructure in your office that you can hop between wired and wireless seamlessly without dropping connectivity. The internet will have some additional difficulty getting to you because you're now behind another NAT, but you can get out just fine. It's like another firewall.

    inet - modem - wifi - mac mini as router - gbit switch - {WAP, wired clients}

    If you don't add the additional Wireless AP, then wireless client won't be able to access wired clients, but wired clients would be able to access wireless clients.

    With the additional router scenario, you can place it in an optimal location to contact either the current router, or the wireless clients and old router, maximizing throughput.

    Though this really does sound like you're just being cheap, and the proper network I described is a little painful to setup and maintain. That's why you're getting such push-back on just getting a proper router.
  17. deconstruct60, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Your original statement is that the mini is not hooked up. So as long as that is true.... yes you are trying to speed up wifi.

    The solution lies in hooking the mini to wires for that many clients.

    Then just do it. Solve the smaller problem and *then* work on the rest. Hook them together with physical cabling:

    Switch ------ mini
    | \\
    | \\\\
    | \\\\\
    | [ other macs ]
    [ * ]

    The only thing needed to round out the solution is to add something at the [ * ] point. At the [ * ] point add a wireless extender/bridge that has at least one physical Ethernet port.

    wireless extender/bridge

    < local airwaves >

    inflexible_inaccessible_current_wireless_router <-----> big bad internet .

    You could try to fold the wireless extender component into the Mac mini, but it probably isn't worth the complexity if this straightforward solution was really hard to come up with.

    When can clean up the inflexible/inaccessible router can get rid of the extender without having to remove that functionality from the mini. Don't really need "extender" per se but if that is what has higher compatibility with the wireless router then it is a simpler option.

    You can leave the DHCP and/or DNS duties with the wireless router if that's where they are now. If the wireless router allows to tag a fixed MAC id to a specifical address in the DHCP range ( Netgear and many other routers do) then may want to reserve a constant number for your mini server. But if the macs are all doing Bonjour discovery it is probably not an major issue.

    If the problem is that don't want to physically wire the mini to the other Macs then it is a a wireless bandwidth allocation problem. There are ways around that mainly involves segregating the Macs onto two groups on slightly different frequencies. You may solve the bandwidth bottleneck to the Mini and replace it with a bottleneck between two (or more) other Macs. The route cause wireless scaling though.
  18. glutenenvy, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    glutenenvy macrumors regular


    Sep 6, 2011
    Is your mini the server?

    Generally it is not a good idea subject your server to a wifi bottleneck. If you do some checking you are likely to find that you have a bottleneck in the wifi at the server, a bottleneck in the server file system, or a bottleneck in the service on the server that is sharing the files.

    Probably the best thing to do is to move the mini next to the wifi router, or internet router and hard wire it. A server should never be a work station so this shouldn't be a problem to try out. This will confirm if the wifi is bottlenecked at the server. There are alternative server apps for file sharing to help determine if bottle necking is caused by the service.

    Before you do anything, make sure your disks are in good working order without any file system problems, smart errors, etc. You may have a disk that is in pre-smart-error failure or just a file system that needs to be cleaned up. I had a disk in a mini that was out of warranty that did not give any smart errors and wasn't set to sleep that would randomly act as if it was being woken from sleep. This was verified before and after formatting the disk. No smart errors were being reported but it was still a bad disk. $100 for a new drive or a day or two rebuilding (even with backups, GIGO) seems like a no brainer.
  19. Arrowk127 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2010
    Why can't you put a wired switch in and connect all the macs to that including the mini and then on the mini turn internet connection sharing on and connect the wifi of that to the router? Wouldn't that work?
  20. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    The best way to do this would be as follows

    1. Buy a network switch
    2. Connect all the macs including the one with the shared storage to the switch
    3. Use a wireless bridge to connect the switch onto the wireless network.

    This way all of the mac to mac traffic goes across the Switch, and the Internet gets switched out via the wireless bridge to the existing wireless router device that provides the Internet connection. Is a lot simpler then what you are looking and keeps a single network, and keeps the router where it is and linked via the wireless bridge into the switch.

    You have said that the mac mini is not currently wired up. Can you wire that up otherwise it is academic and will only be accessible over the wifi anyway so the hub or switch is a waste of time, as would still have to go over the wifi to get to the mac mini.
  21. yalag thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    Yes I can wire up the mac mini with the switch. So that is the perfect answer I need. Can you explain what devices I need to go buy? What kind of network switch? What kind of wireless bridge?
  22. woodlandtrek macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    So you can wire your mini to other devices, just not to the router?

    If so:

    Buy a gigabit switch with enough ports for all of your devices, such as this one. Connect everything but the router to the switch over ethernet. Turn off wifi on everything but the mini, you want to keep that bandwidth for external internet traffic

    Use your mini as the wireless bridge. Go to system preferences->sharing->and turn on Internet Sharing. Share your connection from "Airport" to computers using "Ethernet"
  23. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    Hang on a second... it's totally simple to leave all of the Macs connecting to the internet over wifi, but connect to the server over ethernet.

    Buy a gigabit ethernet switch.
    Run ethernet cables from the switch to each computer.
    Give each computer's ethernet connection a static IP address. Found in: (Settings>Network>Ethernet>Configure IPv4>Manual).
    Set the service order on each computer so Wi-Fi is higher than Ethernet (Settings>Network>Little Gear Button>Set Service Order).
    Connect each computer to to the server using the server's static IP address (Finder>Go>Connect to Server...).

    Or am I missing something? The computers will pull their internet connection over Wi-Fi, and connect to the server for file sharing over ethernet. QED.
  24. foodog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    What is hilarious is you are asking a question without providing any detail at all. The answers given all ready are the way to solve the problem you have. Your replies are that won't work. No reason why just that it won't work.

    You need to hire someone who understands routing and switching that is apparent. You also should be one hell of a lot more pleasant when asking other people for help.
  25. Bahamut Eos, Aug 21, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012

    Bahamut Eos macrumors member

    Bahamut Eos

    Mar 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Why do you need internet and LAN connection to the mac mini to be separate? If you have a cable going to every work station, you'll find that your access to the network drive AND your internet connection will both speed up if you go use ethernet. Once you run the wires it's not very hard to have the wires handle both internet and LAN traffic. (Unless you have some really high end data requirements)


    I can vouch that this sort of system works. I have many computers in my office that are using ethernet for the office raid system, and either another ethernet port for internet, or wifi. However, for most office situations, ethernet cords are more than enough to handle both internet and LAN data.

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