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macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 9, 2011
I posed this question on Yahoo Answers and did receive one response to it, but I wanted to further expand on the question that I asked. I will quote a portion of my original post:

"If a new ethernet outlet is installed into the wall and the Mac Mini itself has an ethernet port, could my MacBook Pro that I have get internet access through the Mac Mini "without" the need for an additional router device? If the Mac Mini can serve as a wireless router, would the network performance be better, same, or worse than if I simply purchased a dedicated, independent router?"

The answer I received simply stated that yes the Mac Mini can do this by going to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing. However, it did not at all comment on network performance which I desire to hear more information on. I should also quote the rest of my original post:

"I'm about to move in a few weeks and I have my sights set upon a specific ISP that I'm probably going to subscribe to. It uses a dish mounted on the roof, then runs an network line into the house and installs a new ethernet outlet into the wall. Associated with this, for some time I've been seriously contemplating the purchase of a Mac Mini to serve a variety of purposes (i.e. a custom installed blu-ray player, media center hub, security cam hub, server)."

Here I am wanting to emphasize why I'm thinking about getting a Mac Mini (an old 2010 model) and the uses that I'm thinking about using it for. Add to that list now that it will act as a router. Or does it? That's my concern a bit. A dedicated router for example has a built-in hardware firewall and I'm not sure that a Mac Mini qualifies as having the same feature. I don't even see any software firewall feature in the OSX System Preferences either. So again, this begs the question of how the performance "and security" of a dedicated router compares to the Mac Mini. Please let me know.

Finally, with all the various functions I have described that I would like to use a Mac Mini for, I am wondering about the overall performance of the Mac Mini 2010 model being able to effectively handle all these functions. Is it too much to handle for the Mac Mini or will it perform just fine?


macrumors 65816
May 1, 2012
For a while I was using my old mac mini for the opposite scenario: a wi-fi to ethernet bridge. I have a gigabit switch in my basement with a few computeres, but the Wi-Fi router was upstairs (to get more even coverage through the house). The net result was that anything wired into my gigabit switch had internet access via WiFi.

From that standpoint, the Mini was pretty reliable, even though the older Mini only supported 802.11g, and the connection was sometimes spotty due to 2.4GHz interference.

Since then I've installed powerline networking which really improved things.

For your uses, I'd suggest getting a dedicated wifi router since you're going to be using your mini for other things too. The mini will probably work fine but you'll need to do a lot more configuration to get the mini working as a firewall and router.
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