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Chapter 9. Network Setup > The Network Control Pane

The Network Control Pane

The Network control pane, already introduced during the installation, is the GUI brain center of the OS X interface to TCP/IP. This control pane, in actuality, just provides a series of hints to the underlying Unix TCP/IP control software, but it does so in a much more elegant fashion than twiddling configuration parameters at the command line. The primary control with which you should familiarize yourself is the Configuration menu. In previous versions of Mac OS, various portions of the networking software were configured by separate control panels, and each panel was controlled by its own independent saved configuration setting. Mac OS X has instead placed all network configurations under a single parent control pane, with an umbrella configuration setting that covers TCP/IP, modem control, AppleTalk, and location settings. By default, under the Configurations menu you have options for PPP (dialup), Ethernet, AirPort (if your machine has an AirPort), and Advanced.

The Advanced Subpane

The available selections in the Configure menu switch between a number of subpane groups for the Network control pane. The Advanced subpane, doesn't provide advanced network configuration, but allows you to enable and disable already existing configurations, and create new configuration sets. Figure 9.2 shows the Advanced subpane of the Network control pane. OS X, to make network configuration as easy as possible, attempts to automatically detect and select the correct network configuration for any given situation. This convenience comes at a slight cost in startup time, so unless you actually intend to use all the available configurations, we don't recommend leaving all the configurations enabled as shown in the figure.


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