Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Apple

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Internet Connect

Internet Connect, located in the Applications folder, can help you connect to the Internet in a variety of ways. Use it to connect to a specific wireless network when more than one is available, or to a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Click an icon in the toolbar to see the settings for that particular type of Internet connection. Exactly which Internet connection icons appear in the toolbar is determined by whether or not your Mac detects certain hardware (AirPort, Bluetooth, internal modem) and which options are turned on (active) in the Network preferences (see page 28).

To open Internet Connect, do one of the following:

  • In your Applications folder, find and double-click the “Internet Connect” icon.
  • Or: if you see the modem status icon in the menu bar, from its menu choose “Open Internet Connect...” (circled, below). (If you don’t have the modem status icon in your menu bar, see the bottom of the opposite page.)

The Internet Connect Window

The Internet Connect window (shown below) has various icons in the toolbar; click an icon to display specific information and settings. Exactly which icons appear in the toolbar is determined by the configurations you have checked on in the Network Port Configurations pane, shown on page 28.

AirPort Configurations

To show the status and signal level of an existing Wi-Fi (wireless) connection, single-click the “AirPort” icon in the Internet Connect toolbar. The “Network” menu, shown below, contains the names of all Wi-Fi networks that are in range and have been automatically detected.

To connect to a specific, password-protected wireless network:

  1. Open Internet Connect (see the previous page).
  2. Choose “Other...” from the “Network” pop-up menu (A).
  3. From the sheet that drops down (B), select a wireless security protocol from the “Wireless Security” pop-up menu (C). You must get this information, plus the network name and password, from the wireless network administrator.

AirPort Icon in Menu Bar

To place an AirPort icon in the menu bar, as shown to the right, click the “Show AirPort status in menu bar” checkbox (A on opposite page).

Click the icon in the menu bar to access a list of commands. Wireless networks within range of your laptop are listed in this menu; a checkmark indicates the network to which you are currently connected.

Computer-to-Computer Networks

You can create a computer-to-computer network (also known as an ad hoc network), in which your computer becomes a wireless base station, also known as an access point, A computer-to-computer network is useful for temporary wireless connections to nearby computers when another type of connection is not available.

For instance, perhaps you and your friend are in a coffee shop with wireless access or you’ve met a business associate in the corporate headquarters where there’s a wireless connection and you need to share some files. Create a temporary computer-to-computer wireless network, turn on Personal File Sharing in the Sharing preferences, then use iChat and Bonjour to send files back and forth.

To create a computer-to-computer wireless network:

  1. Open the application Internet Connect.
  2. Click the “AirPort” icon (A, opposite page).
  3. From the “Network” pop-up menu (B, opposite page), choose “Create Network....”
  4. In the sheet that drops down (D, opposite page), type a network name or use the default name that appears.

The network name that you created will show up in the “Network” pop-up menu both in Internet Connect and in the AirPort menu across the top of your screen. Other wireless users that are within range can select your network name on their Macs and join your computer-to-computer network.

Changing Channels

With a wireless computer–to–computer connection, the default channel “Automatic (11)” should work in most cases. If it doesn’t work or if the connection is unusually slow, it’s probably due to interference caused by an existing nearby wireless network using the same channel, or one that’s too close (such as channel 9 or 10). In this case, select another channel from the pop-up menu that’s as far from the existing network’s channel as possible. For instance, if the existing wireless network uses channel 10, set your computer–to–computer network to use channel 1.

If you’re the administrator of the existing wireless network, you can check to see which channel the base station is using.

  1. Open the AirPort Admin Utility, located in the Utilities folder (inside the Applications folder).
  2. Select a base station shown in the list.
  3. Click the “Configure” icon in the toolbar (shown below) to open the settings pane.
  4. In the window that opens, click the “AirPort” button.
  5. At the bottom of the window, the “Channel” pop-up menu shows the wireless channel being used by the base station.


For security reasons, you may want to encrypt your wireless network and require a password to join it.

  1. Open Internet Connect (see page 39).
  2. From the “Network” pop-up menu (B on page 40), choose “Create Network....”
  3. Click the “Show Options” button in the bottom–left corner of the “Create Network...” sheet (D on page 40). The sheet expands to show encryption settings, as shown below.
  4. Click the “Enable encryption” checkbox.
  5. Type a password, then confirm it by typing it again in the next field.
  6. Choose a “wep key” (40-bit or 128-bit). The 40-bit is more compatible with other computers, and the 128-bit is more secure.

Internal Modem Configurations

The Internal Modem pane (shown below) is where you set the telephone number, your account name, and the password for the dial-up account you want to use. You can create several configurations so you can easily connect to different ISPS while traveling (see page 47 about dial-up numbers).

To modify settings for a dial-up connection to the Internet:

  1. Make sure “Internal Modem” has been checked on in the Network Port Configurations pane (see page 28).
  2. Open Internet Connect (see page 39).
  3. Click the “Internal Modem” icon in the Internet Connect toolbar, as shown below.
  4. Enter the ISP telephone number, your account name, and the password for the account. Keep in mind that these are not necessarily the same as your email account name and password! Ask your ISP for the exact information to enter if you’re not sure.
  5. If you want to connect right now, click the “Connect” button.

Modem Status Icon in Menu Bar

To place a modem status icon in the menu bar, as shown below, click the box to “Show modem status in menu bar” (shown above).

Click the icon in the menu bar to access a list of commands, as shown below. This makes it easy to connect and to open Internet Connect with a click.

Dial-up Number While Traveling

When you’re traveling, a phone line may be the only type of connection available. You could add 1 plus the area code to the telephone number to connect (long distance) to your local ISP back home. But long distance is expensive, and the phone (belonging to your friend, associate, or hotel) will be charged the long–distance fees.

Instead, create a new configuration, as described on the following page, using local ISP information (perhaps your friend has an ISP). You can set up additional configurations for any other modem locations that you use regularly.

  • Local ISP. Many local ISPS provide a list of nationwide local telephone access numbers that you can use while on the go. Check your ISP’s web site to see if they offer this service. Some local ISPS may also have special instructions for accessing their service from remote locations, such as adding the ISP’s domain name to your ISP login name. For example, a login name of tiger may change to Your service provider should have this information on their web site. If not, call them and ask.

  • National ISP. Most national ISPS provide local phone access numbers for most major urban areas in the U.S. If you’re considering a national ISP, such as EarthLink or NetZero, check their web site to make sure they provide telephone access numbers for the areas in which you intend to travel. EarthLink offers an 800 service so you can connect using a toll–free number in U.S. areas that are too remote to have an EarthLink local access number. The 800 service is pay–as–you–go, and your account will be billed an additional 10 cents per minute ($6 an hour) for usage. If you plan to use the EarthLink 800 service, contact them in advance to receive your number.

  • International ISP. An ISP such as EarthLink can also provide international roaming services that allow you to connect to the Internet with dial-up when you’re outside of your home country. EarthLink’s web site provides a list of international access phone numbers that you can use if you have an EarthLink account. EarthLink International Roaming costs 15 cents per minute ($9 an hour) in addition to your monthly fee.

Also see page 35 for important information about dialing modifiers that come in handy if you need to use a calling card number or if you need to get an outside line. And see Chapter 8 for more tips on roaming around the world.

Multiple Configurations for Dialing ISPs

As we mentioned on the previous page, you can create different configurations for different ISP accounts so you can quickly and easily connect using another ISP. For instance, you might have a dial-up number to use at your sister’s house in Alamo, one to get through the motel switchboard in Starkville, and another to use in your London apartment.

To create a new modem configuration:

  1. In the Internal Modem pane, click on the “Configuration” pop-up menu, then choose “Edit Configurations....”
  2. Click the Add button (the plus sign) to make a new configuration. You’ll notice that the current configuration’s settings are still displayed in the text fields, as shown below.
  3. In the “Description” field, type a name for the new configuration. Add the new ISP telephone number, account name, and password to the other text fields.
  4. Click OK and your new config will be added to the list on the left of this sheet, and to the modem status menu bar across the top of your screen so you can connect to it with a single click.

Bluetooth Configurations

Bluetooth is a wireless technology designed for short distances (up to 33 feet), and is ideal for connecting to a nearby Bluetooth–enabled mobile phone, PDA, or other Bluetooth device, such as a hands–free headset. Your laptop might have Bluetooth built-in; if not, you can buy a Bluetooth module that plugs into the USB port on your computer (see a photo on page 31).

Pair Your Device

Once Bluetooth is on your computer, its icon should automatically appear in your menu bar, as shown here (if not, see below). A Bluetooth device must be paired with your laptop before you can use it. To pair it, go to the Bluetooth menu, choose “Set up Bluetooth Device...,” and follow the simple directions.

To place the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar (if it isn’t there already):

  1. Make sure “Bluetooth” has been checked on in the Network Port Configurations pane (see page 28).
  2. Open Internet Connect (see page 39).
  3. Click the “Bluetooth” icon in the toolbar, as shown below.
  4. Put a checkmark in “Show modem status in menu bar.”

Bluetooth Preferences

Don’t forget to peruse the Bluetooth preferences (open System Preferences and click on the Bluetooth icon). If you use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard with your laptop, you probably want to check the option to allow devices to wake your computer. And if you find that the connection to your keyboard or mouse gets broken every time your start your Mac, check the box to open the Bluetooth Setup Assistant on startup so it will connect them automatically.

Set Up a Bluetooth Configuration

After pairing a Bluetooth–enabled mobile phone with your laptop, as described on the previous page, you can set up a configuration in Internet Connect that allows your mobile phone to act as a modem and connect your laptop to the Internet—if your particular mobile phone plan provides Internet connectivity and data communication. If not, you can usually add that service for an additional monthly fee.

To set up a Bluetooth modem configuration for your phone:

  1. Make sure “Bluetooth” has been checked on in the Network Port Configurations pane (see page 28).
  2. Make sure you have paired your phone (see page 48).
  3. Open Internet Connect (see page 39).
  4. Click the “Bluetooth” icon in the Internet Connect toolbar, as shown below.
  5. The process of pairing your Bluetooth phone might have automatically filled in the text fields shown above. If not, fill in the phone number, account name, and password.
  6. To test the configuration, make sure your phone is on, then click the “Connect” button.
  7. If your connection is successful, the Internet Connect pane will expand to show you the connection status, as shown below.

Road Warrior Modem Scripts

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that your connection attempt will not be successful due to incompatibility between your particular mobile phone and the modem scripts that happen to be in the Modem Scripts folder (located in the Library folder). A casual user might give up in a situation like this, concluding that Bluetooth Internet connections are not really necessary. But we’re Road Warriors, right? We know there will be a day when we desperately want to check our email from a rest stop just outside of NoPlaceSpecial, far away from telephone lines and Wi-Fi hotspots. Or, more likely, we’ll just want to impress someone else in the car. If our mobile phone can reach our wireless mobile phone network, we can connect. So let’s do some Road Warrior stuff.

To download, install, and use additional modem scripts:

  1. From the Internet, download a collection of freeware modem scripts. We recommend those available at Ross Barkman’s Home Page ( The web page provides links to scripts for many different mobile phone brands.

    Since we own a Sony Ericsson T610 phone, we downloaded the “Sony Ericsson GPRS Scripts.” The download included a collection of ten scripts and a ReadMe file containing instructions and some valuable tips for Network and PPP settings, as shown on the following page.

  2. Find your “Modem Scripts” folder—it’s in the computer’s Library folder (not your user Library folder that you see in your Home window). Drag the scripts into the computer’s “Modem Scripts” folder.
  3. Check the Network preferences to make sure the new scripts are available:
    1. Open System Preferences and click the “Network” icon.
    2. From the “Show” menu at the top of the dialog box, choose “Bluetooth.”
    3. In the pane that appears, click the “Bluetooth” tab
    4. Click the “Modem” menu in the middle of the dialog box and see if your new scripts are in the list.

    If you don’t see the new scripts, restart your Mac.

  4. Open Internet Connect (it’s in your Applications folder).
  5. Click the Bluetooth icon in the toolbar to show its pane (shown below).

    As shown above, the text fields in the Configuration pane may already contain information that was put there automatically when you paired your Bluetooth–enabled phone. Ignore these settings and create a new configuration, as explained on the opposite page.

  6. From the “Configuration” menu, choose “Edit Configurations...” to reveal the Configurations sheet, as shown below.
  7. Click the Add button (the plus sign) located beneath the “Configurations” list (shown circled on the right).

    A copy of the current configuration appears in the list, and text appears in the fields.

  8. Type a name in the “Description” field to rename the new configuration. In this example, the copy was automatically named “Main Number Copy”; I renamed it “T610 Mobile Phone.”
  9. In the “Telephone Number” field, type “None.” The phone number is already included in the new modem script that you downloaded.
  10. Enter your phone’s mobile service account name and password.
  11. From the “Modem” menu, choose one of the new modem scripts you downloaded. You don’t know which one works yet, so choose the first one in the list.
  12. Click ok to close the sheet.
  13. In the Internet Connect window (shown at the top), click “Connect.”

If the connection is successful, the window expands to show the connection status, as shown on page 49.

If the connection fails, go back to Step 4. From the “Configuration” menu, select the configuration you just added to the list. Choose a different script from the “Modem” menu (above-right). Click ok, then click “Connect” to try this new one.

If the connection fails again, try another new script from the “Modem” menu until you find the one that works.

VPN Configurations

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a private communications network that uses a public network (the Internet). Many large companies use VPN technology so that employees can use the Internet to securely access their company’s private internal network. It can be very handy to be able to connect to your company’s network while lounging in Fiji—I mean, while taking notes at a business meeting.

If you’re not part of a large organization that uses VPN, you won’t need any of these settings. If you do have access to a VPN, the network administrator will give you the information you need for the panes shown here.

To set up a VPN configuration

  1. Open Internet Connect (it’s in your Applications folder).
  2. Click the “VPN” icon in the Internet Connect toolbar. You are immediately asked to select the kind of VPN you want: L2TP over IPSEC or PPTP.
  3. Your network administrator will supply the correct information to place in the blank fields. She may even set it up for you.

To edit an existing VPN config or to add a new one, from the “Configuration” menu choose “Edit Configurations....” The edit sheet (shown below) drops down. Ask your network administator to provide the information you need. After your settings are made, click OK.

Turn Off the VPN Configuration

When you set up a VPN configuration, it is added to the list of network connections. You can see these in the Network Port Configurations pane of the Network preferences (see pages 26–28), as shown below. To turn off the VPN configuration, uncheck its box, then click “Apply Now.”

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account