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Mac® Security Bible by Joe Kissell

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16.2. Configuring an AirPort Base Station

Of the dozens of brands of wireless access points, the one most likely to be in a home or office populated by Macs is Apple. Apple's access points — AirPort base stations and Time Capsule backup appliances — have solid reputations for being reliable and easy to use, not to mention stylish. And unlike most third-party access points, which require logging in via a web browser to change their settings, you can configure Apple's wireless devices using a well-designed program called AirPort Utility that's included with Mac OS X. For all these reasons, the pages that follow focus on wireless security settings for Apple's products. Later, however, I do cover some of the basics of setting up third-party access points, even though it's impossible to provide complete instructions for all of them.

Most of the instructions in this section apply to any recent AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express base station or Time Capsule device (all of which I refer to generically as base stations), although certain models have features unavailable on others, and models manufactured before late 2002 lack WPA encryption. If you have any equipment too old to work with WPA, I strongly suggest replacing it with more modern products as soon as possible.

To oversimplify slightly, most AirPort base station settings fall into one of three broad categories: those that specify how the base station connects to the Internet (not covered here), those that affect how you can connect ...

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