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How to Set Up Your Mac OS X Snow Leopard Wired Network

After you collect the hardware components you need — the computers, cables, switch, and NIC card — to physically create a wired network with your Mac, you’re ready to connect computers and create a network. Here’s a quick list of things to do to get your Mac OS X Snow Leopard 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 Cat5E 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 Cat5E or Cat6 cables and connect one cable from the Ethernet jack on your computer, usually on the side or back, 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. (You might also have a link light on your NIC where you plug in the cable, but that depends on the Mac you’re using.)

  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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