Take Control of
Your Airport Network
By Glenn Fleishman
eBook in PDF format, 152 pages, 2.6 MB download
Aug 28, 2004, US $10 (Free Excerpt)
- What the Book is About
- "Take Control of your AirPort
Network" by Glenn Fleishman is a very good treatment of purchasing and installing
an AirPort wireless Local Area Network (LAN) and how to make it run at best efficiency
and with good security. The "Alphabet Soup" of wireless networks is also
demystified with a good description of the wireless network features and pitfalls.
The eBook begins with wireless basics and purchasing decisions, moves through installation
and configuration, provides advice on extending the wireless network range, and finishes
with how-to information on security to protect your AirPort network from interception.
- Target Audience
- The level of reading is novice,
but some of the explanations need to be read a few times, especially if you are not
thoroughly familiar with the terms and acronyms, in order to understand the author's
point and description of the feature or problem area.
- What to Expect
- The book provides a good background
on wireless networking, and a good description of the Apple wireless product line,
including features and how to tell the different products (which by Apple tradition,
have no part numbers) apart. The very new "AirPort Express" capabilities
are also described very well and the author provides the pros and cons of setting
up a software base station in OS 9 and OS X. Various idiosyncrasies with AppleTalk
support are discussed, with reasonable solutions provided. The author provides excellent
advice for selecting and positioning equipment to provide the most practical and
efficient use of your wireless network. I did not even know that Apple had AirPort
Management Tools 1.0 available for download on their website!
A good treatment of common internet connections is provided, including dynamically
assigned IP addresses using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), logging in
to a DSL provider via PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE), and how to deal with Media Access
Control (MAC) address restricted cable broadband, including MAC address cloning.
A procedure is provided for setting up a static IP address over the broadband network.
There is also a description of how DHCP and NAT (Network Address Translation) work
together to take a single dynamic address that is provided by most ISPs and multiply
it transparently on your Local Area Network. It explains what to do when the DHCP/NAT
combo doesn't cut it, and why you need to make sure you run only a single DHCP server
on your Local Area Network so that you don't get your ISP service cancelled. Great
instructions are provided for configuring DHCP with your AirPort, with plenty of
notes, tips and figures provided to avoid problems and pitfalls. Explanations are
provided for four methods to add DHCP service to your network.
Sections are provided for improving coverage area, range and security. A description
of the channel frequency layout for Wi-Fi access points helps to avoid performance-limiting
interference. A section on configuring a Wireless Distribution Service (WDS) describes
how to extend an AirPort network without running wires between locations, with many
useful tips, sidebars, figures and notes provided for insight into Apple and non-Apple
WDS. HomePlug can extend your LAN over your house wiring and an antenna (although
sometimes illegal) may help to increase range. A section is provided on the problems
encountered with AirPort range on the Titanium PowerBook, and another section provides
insight on wireless cooperation with your neighbors. The last section on security
for your wireless network describes the three L's of security: likelihood, liability
and lost opportunity, as well as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) protection and WPA
(Wi-Fi Protected Access), including the new 802.11i standard. There is also a brief
discussion of application security techniques, such as secure Webmail, FTP over SSH,
SSL email, Authenticated POP, Authenticated SMTP and VPN.
Finally there are four appendices which discuss AirPort Management Tools, Connecting
Without AirPort Adapters, Configuring AirPort Express, and Configuring Software Base
- The author constantly provides
information on less expensive and alternate options to setting up your wireless network
- even to the point of sometimes recommending non-Apple solutions - when they make
sense. The book provides a very understandable description of the features and pitfalls
of a wireless network. Most valuable is the description of the various acronyms associated
with a wireless network, and the procedures provided in the appendices alone are
worth the purchase price of this eBook.
- Mac Guild Grade
- B+ (Great)
- Final Words
- Overall, this eBook provides essentially
an operation and maintenance manual for any AirPort wireless Local Area Network,
even those that contain some non-Apple components. Just about everything you need
to know about purchasing, installing, maintaining and providing security for a wireless
LAN is included. Procedures are provided for connecting computers to your network,
without inadvertently aggravating your ISP provider, and for extending your network
without interfering with your neighbor's wireless LAN. Wireless LAN security tips
are given for those in populated areas who believe their LAN may be compromised by
intruders. Valuable appendices are included which describe AirPort Management Tools,
Connecting Without AirPort Adapters, Configuring AirPort Express, and Configuring
a Software Base Station.