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Chapter 4. Connecting Your Computer > Connecting to a Wireless Network

Connecting to a Wireless Network

For the purposes of this section, let's assume that you already have an access point running or want to connect to someone else's existing access point. If that's not true, read “Setting up a Gateway” in Chapter 5, Building Your Wireless Network, and then come back here.

NOTE

If you haven't yet bought an access point, read “Buying a Gateway,” also in Chapter 5, Building Your Wireless Network, for tips on what to look for.


With an access point in place, the task at hand is to establish a wireless connection between your computer and the access point, and to use the access point as your stepping stone to the rest of your network and, almost always, the Internet. In most cases, a wireless connection handles TCP/IP, the Internet's language, but might optionally support protocols like AppleTalk (for Macs) or NetBEUI (for Windows).

How you accomplish this task is, of course, substantially different depending on which operating system and version you're running. Also, in versions of Windows before Windows XP, you likely need to use the wireless network client software provided by the manufacturer of your wireless network card. We look at two of the most common wireless network client programs, but rest assured that most wireless clients look roughly similar.

Connecting Using Windows

Previously every Wi-Fi equipment maker had to create its own software, or license it from another company, to let you create a wireless connection between Windows and an access point. Fortunately, starting with Windows XP, Microsoft took up the task and created remarkably simple and easy-to-use wireless network client software. (No, really! We mean it!)

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Windows users may think there's special magic to connecting to an Apple AirPort Base Station, but there isn't: it's just like any other access point—with one exception. If the AirPort Base Station is using WEP encryption, you must extract the non-AirPort-friendly hexadecimal WEP key from the AirPort Base Station. See the sidebar “Connecting to an AirPort Base Station without an AirPort Card” in Chapter 5, Building Your Wireless Network.


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In Windows XP, to follow these instructions, switch to Classic view in Control Panels. Otherwise, you must navigate through grouped icons meant for less sophisticated users.


The first task is to install and configure your network adapter; the next, to configure your network settings. Finally, you can set up your wireless network client software, which either comes with your wireless network adapter or is built into Windows XP.

Common Wireless Connection Settings

Every wireless client program requires at least one, and sometimes all, of the following settings to be filled in or chosen in order to associate with an access point. Don't worry too much about figuring out all this information right now, but you may want to refer back to it from a couple of different places later in the chapter.

  • Network mode, infrastructure or ad hoc. Infrastructure is always the choice for networks; you use ad hoc only for machine-to-machine connections. This setting is often preset to infrastructure. Sometimes you need a separate program to create ad hoc connections.

  • Network name, technically called the ESSID (for larger networks) or SSID (for single access points). In many clients, you can leave the network name empty or enter “any” to connect to any available network.

  • WEP key or passphrase, if encryption is enabled. A WEP key is 10 or 26 characters in hexadecimal (hexadecimal numbers are made up of the numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to F). Some networks use a WEP passphrase, in which a short word or phrase is entered; it in turn generates the key. Many clients allow the entry of up to four WEP keys if the network administrator has defined that many. Confusingly, if only one WEP key has been defined, some of these clients require the entry of the same WEP key in all four slots!

  • WEP key size. This option is set to 40, 56, or 64 bits (these are actually all the same, despite the different names, and usually called 40), or 104 or 128 bits (likewise the same, and called 128). The key length is set on the access point, and all clients must use the same length keys. A 40-bit key is 10 characters in hexadecimal; a 128-bit key is 26 characters—making it a bear to type correctly, but more secure.

  • LEAP. LEAP is an encryption system that works with WEP and more advanced access points, but requires a login user name and password. It's used primarily in large institutions like universities; look for site-specific configuration instructions from your computer help desk or support Web site.

  • Transmit or Tx rate. In clients that let you change this setting, you can lock your system at a specific throughput, such as 11 Mbps, if you're sure you have good enough signal strength everywhere. Access points can likewise be locked into a faster throughput. Eliminating the lower speeds increases overall performance, but makes you more likely to lose a connection entirely if you move too far from the access point.

  • Channel. Channels are selected automatically in client software, because access points can broadcast on only a single channel at a time. You select a channel only when creating an ad hoc network.


Installing Hardware and Configuring Network Settings

No matter which version of Windows you're using, you must first install your wireless network adapter and configure the network settings appropriately.

NOTE

If your Wi-Fi network adapter is already installed and working, skip to the step 4 below that corresponds to your version of Windows.


1.
Install the drivers for your network card using the CD-ROM or floppy disk that came with it, or using an installer you downloaded from the manufacturer's Web site.

2.
Shut the computer down, and connect your network adapter to the computer. Power up again.

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Shutting down isn't essential for PC Card or USB wireless network adapters, but it is for PCI cards or other internal cards, and starting from scratch is never a bad idea.

3.
If all goes well, Windows identifies your new wireless network adapter, loads the driver you installed, and creates an entry in the Network (95/98/Me/NT) or Network Connections (XP/2000) control panel corresponding to the hardware (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1. Windows recognizes new hardware and configures it.


NOTE

If Windows does not automatically detect and configure your new wireless network adapter, you should refer to Chapter 9, Things That Go Bump in the Net, for troubleshooting tactics and solutions.


Here's where the steps diverge, splitting into instructions for earlier versions of Windows (95, 98, Me, and NT), and more recent versions (2000 and XP).

Windows 95/98/Me/NT
4.
Open the Network control panel and in the Configuration tab check that you have TCP/IP mapped to the new device (Figure 4.2). For instance, if your card is identified in Windows's wonky, extra-technical fashion as “Linksys WPC11 Wireless Network Adapter,” you should see an entry that says “TCP/IP->Linksys WPC11...”

Figure 4.2. Network control panel's Configuration tab.


5.
If you need additional networking protocols (many people don't), click Add, choose Protocol, scroll to Microsoft or other companies on the left, and select NetBEUI or whichever other protocol you want or need.

If you're using dynamic addressing with a DHCP server, which we recommend because it's the easiest, you can leave the default settings alone and skip to step 8, where our instructions converge again for all versions of Windows.

6.
Select TCP/IP->device (where your particular adapter's name appears instead of device) from the list and click Properties (Figure 4.3).

Figure 4.3. TCP/IP Properties.


7.
In each of three tabs—DNS Configuration, Gateway, and IP Address— click the radio buttons for enabling DNS and specifying an IP address, after which you can enter the necessary IP address, subnet mask, gateway address, and DNS server addresses.

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Where do you get these settings? See “Configuring Your Network Settings Manually” later in this chapter.


Windows XP/2000
4.
Open the Control Panels directory (accessible from the Start menu in Windows XP, and from the Settings menu in the Start menu in Windows 2000) and then open Network Connections in Windows XP (Figure 4.4) or Network and Dial-up Connections in Windows 2000.

Figure 4.4. Windows XP Network Connections window.


5.
Right-click the icon named Wireless Network Connection and choose Properties from the pop-up menu to open the Properties dialog for the connection (Figure 4.5). If no item named Wireless Network Connection is in the list, then the adapter isn't installed correctly, and you should walk through the steps to install the network adapter again, or read our troubleshooting advice in Chapter 9, Things That Go Bump in the Net.

Figure 4.5. Windows XP Wireless Network Connection Properties dialog.


NOTE

Each wireless connection is numbered separately, so if you remove and add many wireless adapters, you may find yourself with connections labeled Wireless Network Connection 12, as Glenn did recently.

6.
Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) from the list. If there's no checkmark in the box next to its name, check that box. (If TCP/IP or other protocols you need aren't listed, click Install, and select them from the Protocols list or Clients list.) Click the Properties button to open the TCP/IP Properties dialog (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6. Windows XP TCP/IP Properties dialog.


7.
If you're using dynamic addressing with a DHCP server, then you can leave the default settings alone and skip to step 8.

Otherwise, click Use the Following IP Address and Use the Following DNS Server Addresses radio buttons and enter the appropriate values for your IP address and DNS servers. (See the “Configuring Your Network Settings Manually” sidebar below for where to get these numbers.)

Configuring Your Network Settings Manually

The easiest and most common approach to configuring your computer's networking settings is to use DHCP, which is called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for a reason. When you use DHCP, your computer picks up all its network settings dynamically from a DHCP server (usually in your wireless gateway), and you don't have to set anything else.

In some cases, however, you may need to enter those settings manually. If you're working on an existing network, ask the system administrator or person who set it up what to enter. If you're connecting directly to an Internet service provider, refer to its documentation or ask its help desk.

The tricky part comes if you're connecting to your own access point and have decided not to use DHCP because no one can tell you which network numbers to enter. That's usually not as bad as it sounds, because if you want to use a manual configuration, you generally know what to enter. In that situation, here's a brief rundown.

  • IP address. This is the IP address for your computer. It must be in the same private network range as your access point, usually 192.168.1.x or 10.1.1.x, where x is any number except 0 and 255 (which are reserved for special purposes). The number has to be unique on the local private network.

  • Subnet mask. This setting indicates the size of your network, and if you're using an IP address in one of the two ranges above, you should enter 255.255.255.0 for subnet mask.

  • Gateway or router address. This is the internal IP address of your access point, and it's probably an IP address in your private range, like 192.168.1.1. (We always make our gateways one of the first addresses in the IP range, skip 9 addresses, and then start assigning IP addresses to computers. That way, the gateway usually ends up being 192.168.1.1, for instance, and the computers start at 192.168.1.10.) Microsoft uses the term gateway; Apple calls the same thing a router.

  • DNS server addresses. For these numbers, enter the addresses—there will usually be at least two—given to you by your ISP.


All Windows versions
8.
Click OK twice: once to close the TCP/IP Properties dialog and a second time to close the Network control panel or Wireless Network Connection Properties dialog.

9.
Restart your computer when (or if) Windows prompts you to do so.

Configuring the Windows XP Client Software

Now that your hardware and network settings are properly set up, it's time to configure the wireless network client software that manages settings specific to the wireless network. This wireless client software is built into Windows XP; if you're using an earlier version of Windows, you must use the client software that came with your wireless network adapter.

NOTE

If you aren't running Windows XP, or choose not to use its built-in client for some reason, flip forward a few pages for instructions on configuring the Linksys and Orinoco client software, plus some advice on what's necessary for other client software. In general, we recommend using Windows XP's client software if possible—it's easier, more integrated with Windows, and will likely take over from all the others as Windows XP becomes ever more prevalent. Some Wi-Fi network adapters can't yet take advantage of the Windows XP client software because the hardware drivers haven't been upgraded to handle the interaction.


Let's look at how you enable and configure the Windows XP wireless network client software.

NOTE

You may want to access multiple wireless networks—one at home, another at work, and a third while at a conference—or have access to several networks in one place. Because of this, the Windows XP client software lets you configure details for several networks and stack them in the order in which you want to connect if more than one is available. The top of the client shows available networks, while the bottom shows networks that you've configured.


1.
To enable Windows XP's built-in wireless client software, open My Network Places from the Desktop.

2.
Click View Network Connections.

3.
Right-click the Wireless Network Connection item under LAN or High-Speed Internet. In the pop-up menu, if you see the option Use Windows to Configure My Wireless Network Settings and it is unchecked, choose it. (If the option isn't showing, just continue on.)

4.
Right-click Wireless Network Connection again, and choose View Available Wireless Networks from the pop-up menu.

5.
Click the Advanced button (Figure 4.7).

Figure 4.7. Windows XP's wireless network client software.


6.
Click the Add button beneath Preferred Networks to bring up the configuration dialog for a new Wi-Fi network (Figure 4.8).

Figure 4.8. Wireless Network Connection's Properties.


7.
Enter the network's name or SSID.

8.
If you're using WEP, check Data Encryption and enter the key. From the Key Format menu, choose ASCII characters if you're using a passphrase, or hexadecimal if you're using the more routine form. Choose the Key length from the pop-up menu.

NOTE

The menu says 13 characters for 104/128-bit keys, when it really means 13 hexadecimal bytes, or 26 hexadecimal digits.

9.
Click Connect.

That's it! Repeat as necessary for any other networks to which you want to connect. You can change the network to which you're connected in the Wireless Network Connection Properties dialog's Wireless Networks tab (Figure 4.8). Networks about which you've entered details (if they're closed) or from which the adapter can receive a signal appear in the Available Networks list. Preferred Networks contains a list of any network connections you've set up as noted earlier.

There is another useful difference between the Available Networks and Preferred Networks lists. Even though it appears that selecting a network from Available Networks and clicking Configure gives you access to security settings, you cannot make changes from that window. You can modify your security settings and other details about a network only by selecting a network in Preferred Networks and clicking the Properties button to open the Properties dialog for that network.

Configuring the Linksys Client Software

Linksys makes the networking gear that makes much of the consumer world wireless, according to market research and sales figures, but they don't write the software for that equipment. Instead, they license their wireless network client software which manages connections under Windows. The version they use is virtually identical to software offered by several major hardware companies that use the same underlying chips and circuit boards, like D-Link Systems and others.

Once installed, the Linksys client software icon should appear in your System Tray, and it looks like a little computer with an antenna sticking out the top (Figure 4.9). Before you configure a connection, the screen is red; afterward, green or yellow, depending on the link quality. Follow these steps to configure the Linksys client software.

Figure 4.9. The Linksys client software's System Tray icon.


NOTE

If the icon isn't in the System Tray, open your Control Panels directory and look for the iPrism control panel. (Prism is the series name of the set of chips in the wireless adapter.)


1.
Open the iPrism control panel or click the client software's System Tray icon.

2.
Click the Configuration tab (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10. The iPrism control panel's Configuration tab.


3.
Enter the network's name in the SSID field; If the network adapter finds wireless networks in the vicinity, they appear in the pop-up menu, and you can choose to connect to one.

4.
If the network uses WEP encryption, click the Encryption tab (Figure 4.11). Enter the passphrase, if provided to you, or the hexadecimal WEP key or keys.

Figure 4.11. The iPrism control panel's Encryption tab.


You should now be connected. The Link Info tab shows signal strength for transmitting and receiving, as well as details about the access point and network you're connected to (Figure 4.12). The About tab provides version details for the configuration software itself, the driver, and the firmware on the adapter.

Figure 4.12. The iPrism control panel's Link Info tab.


Configuring the Orinoco Client Software

The Orinoco (www.orinocowireless.com) line of wireless network adapters is also extremely popular, and Orinoco network adapters come with a simple wireless network client as well.

NOTE

Don't let the Orinoco name confuse youit was once called WaveLAN, and was developed by Lucent Technologies, spun off to a company called Agere Systems, and most recently sold to Proxim. The hardware and software has been updated many times, but looks and acts today more or less as it did three years ago.


NOTE

Orinoco wireless network adapters can come in Silver and Gold versions: Silver adapters are limited to 40-bit WEP encryption keys, whereas the Gold versions support both 40-bit and 128-bit keys for ostensibly stronger encryption.


The Orinoco client software appears in the System Tray as an iconic set of bars of varying heights (Figure 4.13). The number of filled-in bars and the color of those bars indicates signal strength—the more filled-in bars, the better, and the color moves from red to yellow to green as the signal strength improves.

Figure 4.13. The Orinoco client software's System Tray icon.


To configure the Orinoco software to connect your computer to a wireless network, follow these steps.

1.
Click the bars in the System Tray icon to open the Orinoco client software.

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Right-click the bars to access Add/Edit Configuration Profile directly.

2.
Choose Add/Edit Configuration Profile from the Actions menu.

3.
In the dialog that appears, name the configuration on the left side and leave Access Point selected at right (Figure 4.14).

Figure 4.14. Orinoco client software's Add/Edit Configuration Profile dialog.


4.
Click Edit Profile to bring up the Edit Configuration dialog (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15. Orinoco client software's Edit Configuration dialog.


5.
In the Edit Configuration dialog, enter a network name in the Basic tab; if networks are in the vicinity, choose the network from the pop-up menu.

6.
If WEP is enabled, enter your WEP key in the Encryption tab.

7.
Click OK to close the Edit Configuration dialog, and click OK again to close the Orinoco client.

The Orinoco client has a nifty signal-over-time monitor built in that can help you test access while walking around with a laptop. From the Advanced menu, choose Link Test, and then click the Test History tab (Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16. Monitoring signal strength over time in the Orinoco client software.


Configuring Other Wireless Client Software

So what if you're not using Windows XP or the Linksys or Orinoco wireless client software? Don't worry, because as you can tell if you've even skimmed the instructions for these software clients, there's not much to configure. Just make sure you have the information from the sidebar, “Common Wireless Connection Settings ,” on hand (particularly network name and WEP key) when you set up the software.

As with the wireless clients we've looked at, other clients tend to have monitoring tools to show signal strength. Some offer configuration managers to store different settings for different networks, and all offer some way to display the current revision of firmware and driver software, which helps you learn if an upgrade is needed when you're troubleshooting a problem.

Connecting Using the Mac OS

Because Apple has supported 802.11b for so long via its AirPort technology, connecting to an access point has always been a straightforward process, whether it's an Apple AirPort Base Station or a unit from another manufacturer. Luckily, most AirPort cards come pre-installed for you when you buy your Mac; if you're installing one after the fact, follow the instructions that come with the card, and work carefully inside your Mac.

No matter which of Apple's operating systems you use—the older Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x, or the current Mac OS X—you need to configure both your network settings and your wireless network settings.

Configuring Network Settings in Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x

The first step for connecting to an access point is to configure your network settings in the TCP/IP and AppleTalk control panels.

1.
From the hierarchical Control Panels menu in the Apple menu, choose TCP/IP to open the TCP/IP control panel.

2.
From the File menu, choose Configurations to open the Configurations dialog and display the different configurations you may have (Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17. Creating a new AirPort configuration.


3.
If there is a configuration called AirPort, select it and click Make Active. Otherwise, select any other configuration, click Duplicate, and name the configuration “AirPort” (or whatever you want—the name isn't important). Then select your new AirPort configuration and click Make Active.

Entering WEP Keys on a Mac

Apple's AirPort software expects that you're using an AirPort Base Station as your access point. When it asks you to enter the password for the AirPort Base Station, you type in a password instead of an actual WEP key. But if you're using an AirPort-equipped Macintosh with any other kind of access point, you must instead type in either 10 or 26 hexadecimal characters.

Entering the hexadecimal WEP key works fine with the latest versions of the AirPort software for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, when you're entering the WEP key in response to being prompted for it. Mac OS 9 accepts a hexadecimal key without a problem.

However, Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar's prompt offers choices for what you're entering in a popup menu (Figure 4.18). Choosing Password lets you enter an AirPort-style password. The other four choices correspond to the key length (40 or 128 bits) and the encoding (ASCII or hexadecimal). Choose the appropriate ASCII option only when your WEP access is via a passphrase. (These WEP passphrases are converted into actual WEP keys, but not in the same way that Apple turns AirPort passwords into WEP keys.)

Figure 4.18. Selection options for passwords in Mac OS X 10.2 and later.


With earlier versions of the AirPort software, and in the password field of the Network preference panel in Mac OS X, entering the WEP key by itself won't work. The trick? Enter a dollar sign ($) before the hexadecimal WEP key, and all will be well. The dollar sign tells the AirPort software to send the exact hexadecimal key to the access point rather than interpreting it as a password to send to the AirPort Base Station.

To enter a WEP-style passphrase in early versions of the AirPort software or in Mac OS X's Network preference panel, enclose it in straight double quotation marks.

We've found that these WEP passphrases aren't always compatible with one another, and we recommend using actual hexadecimal WEP keys instead of passphrases whenever possible when setting up access points other than the AirPort Base Station.


4.
Back in the TCP/IP control panel's main window, choose AirPort from the Connect Via pop-up menu (Figure 4.19).

Figure 4.19. Configuring the TCP/IP control panel for use with AirPort.


5.
Assuming you're connecting to an AirPort Base Station or other access point that has DHCP turned on, choose Using DHCP Server from the Configure pop-up menu. If you instead want to use a static IP address, choose Manually from the Configure pop-up menu and enter the appropriate IP address, subnet mask, router address, and DNS server addresses (Apple labels this field “Name server addr”). If you're not sure what to enter here, refer back to the “Configuring Your Network Settings Manually” sidebar at the start of this chapter.

6.
Close the TCP/IP control panel, and save the settings when prompted.

7.
From the hierarchical Control Panels menu in the Apple menu, choose AppleTalk to open the AppleTalk control panel.

8.
Follow steps 2 and 3 again to select or create a new AirPort configuration.

9.
From the Connect Via pop-up menu, choose AirPort (Figure 4.20).

Figure 4.20. Configuring the AppleTalk control panel for use with AirPort.


10.
Close the AppleTalk control panel, and save the settings when prompted.

Configuring AirPort in Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x

Now that you've configured your network settings, it's time to move on to the AirPort-specific settings. In these older versions of Mac OS, you configure AirPort through the AirPort application found in the AirPort folder, typically installed by default in the Applications or Apple Extras folder. You can also access it from the AirPort module in the Control Strip, if you use that feature.

1.
Open the AirPort application.

2.
Click the Settings expand triangle to expand the window to include additional controls.

3.
Choose the desired network from the Choose Network pop-up menu (Figure 4.21). Or, if you're on a closed network that doesn't advertise its name, check Allow Selection of Closed Networks, choose Other from the Choose Network pop-up menu, and then enter the network's exact name.

Figure 4.21. Configuring the AirPort application.


4.
If you're prompted for a password to enter the network, type in the AirPort Base Station's network password; if you're not using an AirPort Base Station, read the sidebar, “Entering WEP Keys on a Mac,” slightly earlier in this chapter, for instructions on what to enter.

That's all there is to it—if everything has gone correctly, you should be connected to the AirPort Base Station or access point, and if it's sharing an Internet connection, you should be able to access the Internet from a Web browser.

Configuring AirPort in Mac OS X

In Mac OS X, Apple integrated both the network and AirPort settings into the Network preferences panel in System Preferences, so configuration all happens in a single place. Follow these steps.

1.
Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, or click its icon on the Dock, and once System Preferences opens, click the Network icon to display the Network preference panel.

2.
Choose AirPort from the Show pop-up menu.

If AirPort doesn't appear in the menu, choose Network Port Configurations, select the On checkbox next to AirPort, and choose AirPort from the Show pop-up menu.

The display changes back to the AirPort configuration screen.

3.
Click the TCP/IP tab, and from the Configure menu, choose Using DHCP if your address is assigned dynamically by a DHCP server. If you want to enter a static IP address instead, choose Manually and enter your IP address, subnet mask, router, and DNS servers (Figure 4.22). If you're not sure what to enter here, refer back to the “Configuring Your Network Settings Manually” sidebar at the start of this chapter.

Figure 4.22. Configuring TCP/IP for use with AirPort.


4.
Click the AppleTalk tab, and check Make AppleTalk Active to let AppleTalk pass over your wireless network along with TCP/IP (Figure 4.23).

Figure 4.23. Configuring AppleTalk for use with AirPort.


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With AirPort and another networking method active, like Ethernet, Mac OS X warns you that AppleTalk can work over only one of the networks. However, we've often seen AppleTalk fail altogether, even when turned on for one of the networks.

5.
Click the AirPort tab.

You're presented with three options: Join Network With Best Signal, Join Most Recently Used Available Network (and you can check Remember Network Password), and Join a Specific Network (Figure 4.24). With this last option, you can choose a network from the pop-up menu next to the Network name.

Figure 4.24. Configuring AirPort network selection options in Mac OS X 10.2.


6.
If you plan to use an open network that doesn't have a password most of the time, select Join Network With Best Signal. If the network you plan to use most does have a password, or if you want to make sure you always join the network you last used, select Join Most Recently Used Available Network and check the Remember Network Password checkbox. Finally, if you need to join a closed network, select Join a Specific Network and enter its name in the Network field. If the network has WEP encryption enabled, enter a password in the Password field that appears.

NOTE

These options first appeared in Mac OS X 10.2. In previous versions, you could only choose or enter a network name and type a password.

7.
Click the Apply Now button to activate your changes.

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If you travel regularly and find that you need to change your settings often, you can instead create multiple locations using the New Location item in the Location menu at the top of the Network preferences panel. Each location can have its own AirPort configuration, and you can easily switch among them using the Location menu.


Configuring Other Client Software

The only time you might need to use wireless network client software other than Apple's AirPort software is if you set up a third-party wireless network adapter in an older Mac that lacks an AirPort slot. For instance, earlier PowerBooks, Power Macs, and iMacs might be wirelessly connected via non-Apple PC Cards, PCI cards, or Proxim USB adapters.

TIP

The WaveLAN and Orinoco PC Cards work with Apple's AirPort software because AirPort cards are actually custom Orinoco cards.


TIP

Most PC Cards from Windows-centric manufacturers don't come with software for the Macintosh, but you can buy the AeroCard Universal Driver for $25 from Macsense Connectivity. Visit www.xsense.com/product/broadband/aerouni.html for details.


Luckily, although third-party wireless network client software may look a bit different than Apple's AirPort software, it all requires the same settings we listed earlier in the chapter in the sidebar, “Common Wireless Connection Settings,” just as was true for the third-party Windows client software. For instance, connecting using the Orinoco client software is remarkably similar under Windows and Mac OS.

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