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It's easy to jump online and be productive with Mac OS X, but it's also easy to stop there. Many users haven't explored the depth and richness of this powerful operating system and the applications that come with it. In Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics, Chris Breen helps those who are already comfortable with Mac OS X discover new features in everyday applications like Mail, iCal, and Safari. He also explores the often overlooked "power user" tools, including Terminal, Disk Utility, and Automator, and provides troubleshooting and maintenance tips.
You can access the more interesting settings by double-clicking on a Base Station you want to configure or by clicking the Manual Setup button. I will double-click on my AirPort Express, and in this AirPort tab, we will first see the Summary tab and here is an overview of how your AirPort Base Station is set up. One thing to notice is this Status button. Currently, everything is working well on our AirPort Base Station, that's why you see the green light. If I were to click this, it would tell me "Hey, look, everything is good." But if you see a yellow light or if you see a red light, that indicates the things are not good.
Now, sometimes if it's just a single error that can quickly be corrected, it will say Ethernet cable is unplugged for example, there is something wrong and it will tell you what that is. However, it may just say you have an error. If you click on the Yellow or Red, you will get more details on what that error might be. In the next tab, in Base Station, you see that you have the option to rename your Base Station. I like the way it's named now, but I could change that if I wanted to. You can also change the password and again, this is the password you use in order to configure your Base Station.
This is not your security password. Under Wireless, you have three options at the top and these are the most interesting things. Under Wireless Mode, you can create a wireless network. That's how we set his up. The idea being that this is going to be our router, all other wireless devices are going to connect to this and we are going to be good to go. The next option Participate in a WDS Network means that this is going to be a part of another AirPort network. So for example, downstairs, I have an AirPort Extreme Base Station, I would like to extend the range of that Base Station and I do it by choosing this option Participate in a WDS Network, then this becomes part of that network and it extends the signal from the main Base Station elsewhere.
Also, I can join a wireless network. This doesn't extend but rather just becomes a node on that wireless network. I am going to leave it just as it is to create a wireless network. You can change your security settings down here. So before we had a password for configuring the Base Station, at this point, these are your security and encryption settings. So you can change the password for that here or you can choose another option for security. Access, that's where you get into the geeky stuff. This is for more advanced network techniques that we are not going to get into here.
If I click the Internet tab, here is where I configure my IP settings. Currently, we are connected using Ethernet. I can configure a couple of different ways. We have it set up to use DHCP but I can also choose manually. If I wanted to do that, I would then manually enter information such as my IP address, Subnet Mask, Router Address, DNS servers, that kind of thing. I am not going to do that. I want DHCP as it was originally configured. I click DHCP. At this point, I can then assign addresses to my local network.
My AirPort Base Station will act as a router and then it distributes local addresses and you see three naming schemes. So there is 10.0, 172.16 and 192.168. These are not addresses that you are going to find on the Internet, rather these are local addresses that are distributed throughout your local network. That is another thing for distributing addresses that too is a more advanced topic that we are not going to get into. Now, some base stations, you will see this music entry for example on this AirPort Express.
What this does is allows you to use a really cool technology that is part of iTunes, and the way it works is this. You have a computer downstairs. On it, you have all your music in your iTunes Library. If you have something like an AirPort Extreme upstairs, you can plug into it your stereo because it has an audio port on it. At that point, you can stream the music from your iTunes Library downstairs from your Mac Pro for example to that AirPort Express and then play the music through your stereo wirelessly across your house and this feature supports up to three AirPort Express Base Stations.
It's a really cool feature and so you should definitely check out if you have the opportunity. Printers is an option that will appear if you have a base station that has a USB Port on it, this allows you to do wireless printing, a very nice feature. So, again, I could have an AirPort Express Base Station upstairs with a printer plugged into and any Mac on my network at home I could print to this printer that's attached to the base station. And advanced, as it suggests, these are advanced settings. Now, I could go through some of these things and configure them but it's going to be different for your setup.
What you really need to do is if you need to configure these kinds of things, you want to get this information from your IT person or the person that's supporting your Mac for complex network settings. One thing I will mention however is Port Mapping. Port Mapping is something that people at home may need to do. The idea behind Port Mapping is this. Let's suppose you have got your AirPort Base Station at home. This is a traffic cop for any bit of information that comes into your house as well as it goes up. Let's suppose that you are distributing addresses internally. You have got 10.0 address.
Some computer out there on the Internet would like to contact your computer or one of your computers on your network and speak to you well, how does it know to do that, if it enters 10.0.whatever, that can go anywhere and of course it won't go anywhere because it's a local address. So instead, what happens is it will connect to your router, it will connect to your base station and then the base station will say "Okay, this kind of request, I know what to do with. I need to route it to Chris's MacBook for example and put it to the right port. I will take care of routing traffic for you," and this is done through Port Mapping.
I am not going to get into the specific details of Port Mapping because it will change depending on how your network is set up. So, return to AirPort, Summary, make sure everything is working okay. We have got the green light and that means we are good to go. We haven't updated anything. I can just simply close this window. Don't update and that is the guts of AirPort Utility.
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