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The Configuration Path

The first step in building a network is to set the needed network port as active. This is done in the Network pane of System Preferences:

Figure 1Figure 1

The hardware ports can be enabled through this pane, and the order in which the system tries to connect can be set here.

To be able to connect to the Internet, the network configuration that is determined by the ISP (Internet service provider) must be established. This is done in the Network panel again. We first configure the TCP/IP tab.

Figure 2Figure 2

The configuration method for Configure IPv4 is then set. The three most frequently used methods are PPP, DHCP, and Manually. PPP is used for dial-up modem connections to your ISP and the Internet. DHCP is used frequently on Ethernet networks and by DSL or cable modem providers. Manual configurations are used on Ethernet networks, and sometimes by DSL and cable modem providers. Your ISP should provide you with the appropriate configuration information if you configure IPv4 manually. Note that these settings might vary by selecting a particular location from the pop-up menu.

The Internet Connect application is a very useful app that has many functions. It can do the following:

  • Turn Airport on or off.

  • Monitor the signal quality of the Airport wireless connection.

  • Find the Base Station ID (the hardware address of your Airport Extreme Base Station).

  • See the connection status of an Airport Extreme Base Station that is configured to connect to a dial-up ISP.

  • Select an Airport network.

  • Create or join a computer-to-computer network.

  • Join a closed network.

  • Join or set up an 802.1X-protected network. 802.1X is the kind of network usually found in an enterprise that uses a server (called the RADIUS server) located somewhere on the network that will allow only hardware that it knows about—using the Airport card's MAC address, for example—to join it.

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