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How to Connect to Wireless Networks with an AirPort

After have set up your computer-to-computer network using Mac OS X Snow Leopard, or you’ve set up and configured an AirPort/AirPort Extreme Base Station, you’re ready to invite other computers with wireless hardware to join your network by following these steps:

You can also use this process to join any wireless network:

  1. Click the AirPort status icon on the menu bar.

    Choose the network to connect to.
    Choose the network to connect to.

    A list of existing network connections appears in the AirPort menu.

  2. Select an existing network connection that you’d like to join.

    If you want to join a network whose name doesn’t appear in the list, select Join Other Network from the AirPort status menu and enter the name of the network that you want to join and the password (if any is required).

To disconnect from an AirPort/AirPort Extreme network, you can turn off your AirPort card altogether. (Simplicity, they say, is an art.) Another way is to simply connect to another AirPort network, but this option is really only useful if you actually want to connect to another network.

Being able to turn your AirPort/AirPort Extreme hardware on and off actually has its uses:

  • You might want to use your Mac, usually your laptop, in a place where your wireless card shouldn’t be used, like

    • An airplane (when they tell you to turn off all cell phones)

    • A hospital area that doesn’t allow cell phones or other wireless devices

  • Turning off your AirPort/AirPort Extreme hardware conserves your MacBook’s battery life.

To turn your AirPort equipment on or off via the AirPort status icon on the menu bar, give it a click and choose Turn AirPort On/Off from the resulting menu.

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