Connecting to the Internet on a Mac.

My brother has recently bought a Mac (I-mac, with os9 and osx on it) and is having trouble getting internet access.

At first he tried to use his old ISP (that he had been using on his PC) to connect. But I think the isp does not support macs.

I know about as much about Macs as I do about flying space shuttles, so I thought I’d ask the ‘teeming millions’. I am sure there are some Mac experts in there somewhere.

  1. Is there a standard procedure for getting a mac connected to the internet, given a dialup number, username, and password? If so, what is it?

  2. Do any UK Mac owning dopers know of any ISPs that definately support macs?

  3. does anyone know of a website that gives this kind of help?


Once you’re hooked up with your ISP, there is a TCP/IP tab under the Network icon of System Preferences. Under “Location” choose "New Location " or “Edit location” and enter in the phone info. From there, under “configure” choose “Internal modem” if it hasn’t been chosen already, and “Using PPP” - your ISP should have this set up for you already so that when you choose “using PPP” is will set itself up. Or, set it to “manually” and have your ISP tell you which settings to type in there.

If you have any trouble, you will get all the help you need on

meant to say e-mac. not i-mac.

thanks king nifty. I will suggest those things to my brother.

what i have done so far is told him to get hold of the aol software from a mac magazine. do they often have aol on the cover? (like pc mags)

Most ISP’s that don’t “support Macs” simply lack Mac-savvy people in their tech support section. If you have the correct dialup number and the domain string and/or router addy(s) to put in, you can more often than not use them just fine on a Mac. (Linux people have to put up with this all the time too. “Oh, we don’t support that”).

One type of exception is some unusual broadband ISPs that distribute proprietary “modems” that hook into the USB port, and for which no Mac drivers exist. There’s some satellite-based ISP that uses them, for instance – Starband, I think?

For plain old telephone service (POTS) modem dialup services, I’m not aware of any that are inaccessible to a Mac, although I suppose if they set them up to require the use of proprietary software dialers, and then did not create a Mac version of the dialer, you’d be stuck unless you could backwards-engineer what their dialer was doing.

Assuming this is a standard dialup ISP you do not need any special software, everything you need comes with the Mac.

If you’re going to use OS9, go to “Control Panels” under the Apple menu and select TCP/IP. Under “connect via” choose PPP. You may also need to enter the addresses for the DNS servers, which your ISP should provide. Close the TCP/IP panel.

Go back to Control Panels and choose Remote Access. Enter the username, password, and phone number. Click connect. Everything should work fine.

I’m using Outlook.

Under Tools, choose “accounts” and then choose “edit.” This will allow you to change the info for e-mail/internet stuff.

Ah no - there is an issue using a Mac and some ISP which for some bizarre reason require connecting through a terminal window. All this means is a stupid annoying window pops up and you input your username and password there, and then you’re online, and the window disappears. You need to check the option “Connect via terminal window” somewhere in the Remote Access/PPP/Internet Access control panel, depending which system you’re using.

Incidentally it seems to make no difference if you are running OS8, OS9 or OSX - a stupid fucking ISP is a stupid fucking ISP. Etisalat - (or “Emirates Internet and Multimedia”) the state monopoly telco here - is one such stupid fucking ISP, they have zero Mac support, and TWO YEARS after making ADSL available they refuse to make it available for Mac.

Another phenomenon I have discovered (with 56k dial-up on a Mac) is that sometimes it doesn’t connect “properly”. It says it has - and it gives you the connection speed - but it actually hasn’t. You can spot the “false connection” by two things - first, the internet doesn’t work, nor does email, and secondly when you “disconnect” it takes the computer/modem an unusually long amount of time to do so.

Sometimes I get a proper connection straight away. Sometimes it takes me up to 5 or 6 attempts to actually go online. I remember this happening a bit with my (highly mac-friendly) ISP in Australia, it happens considerably more often here. I don’t know if Windoze people suffer this too.

Further to the above, the password and username field in your control panel are irrelevant if the ISP requires terminal connection.

Even if you don’t need a username/password it prompts for one. Here, Etisalat has a casual-use “Dial’n’Surf” which is just 15fils a minute (about 4 cents) no upfront fee, no account, no installation. When the terminal window pops up you can put in any username (guest/;lkj;lkj/fuckwit) and any password, or no password at all. So I really don’t get the point of the terminal window in this case if you don’t even need to validate who you are, it seems amazingly stupid.