Workaround for time metered “free” wifi (OSX)

This article was prompted by sheer boredom while stuck somewhere with time metered free wifi (that is, free for the price of coffee)

Since the system didn’t require logins, I assumed that it instead used the MAC address of the wireless interface, so I correctly assumed that it would just be a matter of spoofing a different address.

Steps to change MAC address on OS X (Current as of 10.6.x)

  1. Open terminal window, determine which interface is your wifi interface.  In examples, we’ll use en0.
  2. Type ‘ifconfig en0 |grep ether’ to determine your current MAC address.  Might as well copy that.
  3. If you are currently associated with an access point, proceed to the next step.  Otherwise skip to step 5.
  4. To dis-associate from access point,  while keeping the wireless interface up, type following: ‘sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -z’
  5. Enter the new MAC address:  ‘sudo ifconfig en0 ether 00:11:22:33:44:55’.  NOTE: you can simply change the last digit of your current address which will suffice.  Remember this is in hexadecimal, so 0-F are valid.
  6. Verify:  ifconfig en0 |grep ether.  You should see the new MAC address for the interface.  If not, it’s likely that you were still associated to the access point. (Cannot change while associated)
  7. Connect to the wireless network, proceed to the login page or whatever mechanism that is in use, and enjoy the renewed block of time.  It is probably good form to order another coffee if you are going to stay awhile…

Note:  You can for whatever reason revert to the standard MAC Address by using the same ‘sudo ifconfig en0 ether aa:bb..” command, or simply reboot where it will be read from the address burned onto the card.