AirPort Networks

AirPort is Apple’s term for the 802.11 (WiFi) wireless networking technology. If you have it, you’ll remember having paid $80 or $100 for an AirPort card, which lets any modern Mac model communicate with an AirPort base station up to 300 feet away, much like a cordless phone. Doing so lets you surf the Web from your laptop in the TV room, for example, or share files with someone across the building from you. (Details in Wiring the Network.)

Most people set up an AirPort base station in one of three ways:

  • They go online by dialing via modem, which is built into some AirPort base station models. The base station is plugged into a phone jack. Wireless Macs in the house can get online by triggering the base station to dial by remote control.

  • They have a broadband modem, into which they plug the AirPort base station. Wireless Macs can surf using its connection through the air.

  • They have a broadband modem, which they’ve plugged into an Ethernet router (an inexpensive box with jacks for numerous computers, so they can communicate). They plug the broadband modem into the WAN (wide area network) port of the hub—not one of the regular Ethernet jacks—and plug the base station into one of the router’s regular jacks.

For the easiest AirPort network setup, begin by configuring your Mac so that it can go online the wired way, as described on the previous pages. Once it’s capable of connecting to the Internet via wires, you can then use the Airport Setup Assistant (in your Applications→Utilities ...

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