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25 November 2008

Trying to set up modem or router on a Mac, but installation software won't auto-run. [More:]

We're trying to get the GF hooked up to the tubes in her apartment. There is apparently a hard-wired internet connection in the apartment. We just need to get her Macbook to talk to it. (My assumption was that if the line was actually active, like the owners say it is, plugging a Cat5 cable into the wall and into the computer would get her online. That, however, has not been the case. She also, frustratingly, has not asked them for info on the ISP or anything like that. She keeps saying "They say it should work. The last people who lived here were online." Which, from my perspective, is absolutely no help. And which I should stop repeating in my head, because it's making me grumpy. But anyway.)

Anyway, first problem is that when you insert the installation CD for the modem, the setup program won't auto-run. This has been true for two installation disks. Both say they're mac-compatible. You insert the disk, though, and nothing happens. Going into Finder to start the setup.exe program manually gets an error message along the lines of "There is no default application to run this program. Would you like to choose one?" Duh. There's no default app because it's an .exe file. *I* know that, computer. Why don't you?

Any advice on how to get setup to set up? (I don't have the computer in front of me, and will probably have to print any instructions out so that I can follow them later, off-line. So please, be detailed and pretend that I'm a mac-idiot, because I am!)
You don't need to run an installation program. You can (probably) just attach to the router and configure it from there.

If you plug the router into the mac (using a network cable) and restart the mac, then you're probably ready to start setup. Type into the browser address bar. Hopefully, that'll take you straight to the router config page. If not, try

If that doesn't work, then you'll need to go to the network settings on the mac. You should be able to get a router address from this (You may need to look around)

After you've got the router screen in your web browser, it's time to set up your wireless connection. I can't really help you with this as all routers are different, but the router manual probably has instructions.

Good luck & come back to metachat when you get stuck.

As a side note, I suspect that the cat5 connection on the wall is NOT connected to the internet. You need to find a tame geek to come and look at it for you.
posted by seanyboy 25 November | 12:08
Well, setup.exe is not relevant to your Mac, so don't bother clicking on that. Often on a disc like that if there is something to run on the Mac it's tucked away in a folder. I'm sure you looked, though. There's probably actually nothing you need to run.

If you connect the cable, open System Preferences / Network and select "Built-in Ethernet", what does it display?

posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 12:10
(I was assuming from "built-in ethernet" that the router in this setup belongs to the apartment and is sequestered away from the residents, who see nothing but a jack.)
posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 12:12
Thanks for the info, seanyboy. I'll give that a shot.

If you connect the cable, open System Preferences / Network and select "Built-in Ethernet", what does it display?

The computer's not with me and I'm not in her apartment, so I'll have to check later. What SHOULD it say?

I was assuming from "built-in ethernet" that the router in this setup belongs to the apartment and is sequestered away from the residents, who see nothing but a jack.

Here's the deal. The apartment is a converted garage on the property of some friends. The friends (landlords) apparently have convinced the GF that the line is active, but I haven't been able to get any more info out of her on HOW it's active. She doesn't really know the questions to ask them, so she can't answer mine. (Frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it!)

We're going to see them tonight, so I'll be able to pump them for more info on the status of the line -- whether it's controlled by a router in their house, or what.

Talking to them will help me figure out the status of the connection. I was concerned about getting the router setup software to run, though. And it's impossible to google the problem when you're not connected! Now I know that the software is possibly irrelevant, and that I can configure the router through the browser, so that's a start.
posted by mudpuppie 25 November | 12:21
It should look roughly like this, but it probably won't, so it's sort of hard to divine what's up without some data.

If you have a green light and a "Built-in ethernet is currently active" message, but nothing in the DNS box, open your browser and put

into the URL bar. If that takes you to google then you have a fine connection, but you need to get the address of the DNS from the service provider.
posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 12:31
Thanks again, wolfdog.
posted by mudpuppie 25 November | 12:34
Okay, this is me pulling my hair out.

Apparently it's cable DSL, which the GF knew, but didn't know to tell me.

So what she needs is a cable modem, yes?
posted by mudpuppie 25 November | 12:46
If the jack on the wall is one of these, then yes. And she'll probably have to contact the provider to register the MAC address of the cable modem before they'll let her get anywhere. But if that's the case then I'm rather confused about what you (or she) plugged into what previously.
posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 12:50
The box on the wall has 3 jacks -- a regular phone jack, a CAT5 jack, and a cable connection like you posted above.
posted by mudpuppie 25 November | 12:55
Without knowing what's ultimately behind that, then, it's hard to see. If I were looking at that I would *assume* that whoever set this up had put a cable modem (which also serves as router) behind that somewhere, and that the ethernet jack was ready to connect your computer to, and that the coaxial cable jack was intended for you to connect your TV to. But, you know, who knows? Try what I suggested above, first; without any more data points it's going to be tough for anyone to intuit.
posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 13:01
"Hard to say", I mean, though it's also hard to see.
posted by Wolfdog 25 November | 13:03
Yeah, it's hard to fix the problem when you can't diagnose it, and when you don't really know whether you're trying to diagnose a moose or a squirrel.

Thanks for all the help. Hopefully the landlords can straighten it out. I have a feeling that talking to them first-person, instead of relying on really muddled second-hand info, will lead to a quick and easy fix.

The phone conversation wherein it came out that we were dealing with a cable modem went something like this:

GF: And you'll help me set up the modem, right?
Me: Router. Yes, I'll help. I'm doing some research now.
GF: No, it says it's a modem. That's what I went out and got.
Me: Wait, it's a modem that we need to set up? What happened to the router you bought last week?
GF: I returned it and got the modem.
Me: Why?
GF: Because B____ told me that's what I needed.
Me: If she told you you need a modem, then you also need a service provider.
GF: No, she has one already.
Me: Yeah, but YOU don't. If you need a modem, you need someplace it can connect to. A service provider.
GF: But they get that with their HBO. She said I could do both.
Me: Both what
GF: The internet. And she also said --
Me: No, both what?
GF: -- but I don't have a TV so I don't need that.
Me: By "both," she meant that you could do both internet and cable TV?
GF: Yeah, but I don't have a TV.
Me: So they have cable DSL.
GF: Yeah, it comes with their HBO.

And this is where the fog cleared. Sort of.

So you see what I'm dealing with, and why I can't provide more info. I'm dealing with someone who doesn't like computers or TV. Or HBO.
posted by mudpuppie 25 November | 13:15
Local pickup only || Ok guys so I have been waiting