Starting a Wireless Network with Airport - dummies

By Michael E. Cohen

One of the many things that a new Macintosh does as it starts up is look for a network connection — any network connection — and try to set that connection up. If your Mac has AirPort installed, this startup process may include looking for nearby wireless networks that your Mac can join. That is, it can look for wireless networks if your Mac’s AirPort is turned on.

You need a device known as an AirPort base station, or a similar wireless device, to create a wireless network, often called an AirPort network when you use an AirPort base station to create it. An AirPort base station contains a radio transmitter, which provides a network signal that AirPort can receive, and a receiver to which AirPort can transmit.

Here’s how you can turn on your Mac’s AirPort capability:

1. Open the Internet Connect application.

You can find this application in your Applications folder. You also can use Internet Connect to establish Internet connections.

2. In the toolbar at the top of the Internet Connect window, click AirPort.

The window displays the current state of your Mac’s AirPort. You might notice that the AirPort does not have a connection to any nearby AirPort base stations, which is not surprising, given that AirPort power is turned off.

3. Click Turn AirPort On.

AirPort power is now on, and the Turn AirPort On button now says Turn AirPort Off. The Status field now notes that the AirPort is not associated with any network.

Now that you have turned on AirPort, you can try connecting to a nearby AirPort network.

Although your Mac can find and join nearby AirPort networks automatically, by default it does so only with networks to which you have previously connected your Mac. You can change these settings with your Mac’s Network Preferences.