How to Set Up Your Network for Your MacBook

After you collect the hardware components you need to create a network, including devices to which you want to network your MacBook, you’re ready to connect things. Here’s a quick list of things to do to get your network fired up:

  1. Find the best location for placing your switch.

    To keep costs down, try to place the switch in a location close to a power outlet that’s centrally located so that you can use the least amount of cable. If cost isn’t an issue, hide the unit in a closet and just run all the cables along the walls to the hub or switch. And if cost really isn’t an issue, get your house fully wired with Cat-5E cable.

  2. Plug the switch into the power socket.

    Some switches come on automatically when you plug them in and can never be turned off. Others have a power switch that you need to turn on the first time that you plug them in.

  3. Verify that the switch is working by looking at the lights on the front. Check the manual that came with the switch to see what light configuration is normal for that particular unit.

    Until you have computers or printers attached to it, you might just have a status light that shows the switch is powered on. But if the lights on your unit don’t match up with what the manual says, you could have a bum unit that you need to return.

  4. Verify that all your devices are near enough to the switch to be connected by your cables; then, turn them all on.

  5. Get one of your Cat-5E or Cat-6 cables and connect one cable from the Ethernet jack on your MacBook (on the side) to an open port on the switch.

    You should see a link light or speed light come on that verifies that the two devices sense each other.

  6. Repeat Step 5 until each device is attached to the switch.

Congratulations, you’re a network technician! (Don’t forget to call your friends and brag.) The first phase of the network, the physical connection, is complete; the next step is the configuration of Mac OS X.

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