These days, using a computer and using a network are nearly synonymous concepts. Since Unix has always been a network-oriented operating system, Mac OS X supports networking (and Internetworking) at its core, and provides many friendly interfaces to let users take advantage of this.
This chapter covers the basics of getting a Mac OS X machine connected to a network, particularly the Internet, from a user’s perspective. Chapter 11 covers network administration in more detail.
Connecting to a network basically involves telling your Mac where on the network it belongs by giving it a network IP address (which might belong to the Internet, or maybe just the local area network) and telling it where it can find its router (which lets it speak to the network outside of the immediate subnetwork). Depending upon your network’s configuration, you might have to enter this and other information manually, or you can have a network server configure your network setup for you through DHCP, as described later in this chapter in Section 188.8.131.52.
In any case, Mac OS X’s main interface for setting and displaying all this information is the Network preference pane, described in the next section. Network administrators can also use ifconfig , route, and other command-line tools to fine-tune a machine’s network settings, as covered in Section 184.108.40.206.
Mac OS X networking primarily involves TCP/IP, the family of protocols upon which the Internet is built. When ...