Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network, 3rd Edition
Publisher: TidBITS / Take Control Books
Final Release Date: September 2013
Pages: 208

Make your network fast, reliable, and secure!

Updated August 29, 2013

Updated for Apple's latest 802.11ac AirPort base stations (and yes, the title of this book will have to change soon)!

Find real-world advice from Wi-Fi wizard Glenn Fleishman on setting up a wireless network using Apple's 802.11n- and 802.11ac-enabled AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule base stations. The ebook is packed with directions for enhancing an AirPort network, whether you're replacing an old base station, adding another base station to extend your range, improving your security, connecting a USB-attached printer or drive, or setting up a guest network.

You'll find the answers to questions that may otherwise frustrate you, such as how to choose the best band and channel, set up complex Internet addressing, solve a variety of connection problems, and much more.

Glenn explains how to configure an 802.11n and/or 802.11ac AirPort network using AirPort Utility 6 or AirPort Utility for iOS. (AirPort Utility 6 runs only in 10.7 Lion and later.) The ebook includes a free download of the previous edition (version 2.0), which describes using AirPort Utility 5. (AirPort Utility 5 runs on 10.5 Leopard - 10.7 Lion, as well as on Windows computers.)

"This Take Control book is a must-have for anyone who needs to quickly and easily set up an AirPort network." --Phil Kearney, "father" of Apple's AirPort product line

If you're trying to solve a particular problem, you can jump in and read the topics in this ebook in any order, but if you start at the beginning, you'll learn how Apple's 802.11n and 802.11ac gear fits into the world of Wi-Fi networking.

With that background, you'll learn where to position and how to set up base stations, with diagrams showing common network scenarios--see two examples above--and with step-by-step instructions for configuring key Internet sharing and security options and connecting client computers. For those who have funky Internet connections or tricky IP addressing needs, Glenn provides extended advice for creating a working Wi-Fi network.

Glenn provides real-world directions for important scenarios, including how to:

Create a basic (or not so basic) Wi-Fi network, using Apple's base stations:

  • Set up a wireless network with a single base station, or with multiple base stations - whether you want to extend a network with Ethernet or a wireless connection (or a mix of the two), Glenn examines your options and provides configuration steps. He also touches briefly on powerline connections.

  • Keep your existing network, but replace an older or broken base station with a new one.

  • Export your base station's configuration, either to make a backup or to create a model configuration to use on other base stations.

  • Connect Macs (10.5 Leopard and later), iOS devices, and Windows 7 and 8 computers to your network.

  • Set up reliable and relevant security for your network. Also, add a guest network that gives your guests Internet access while restricting their access to local resources.

Attach peripherals to your network:

  • Add a Wi-Fi or USB-connected printer, and connect to the printer from Mac and Windows computers.

  • Add a USB-attached drive to a Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme, and configure client access.

  • Connect a 2nd- or 3rd-generation Apple TV to your network

Do more networking:

  • Set up a Time Machine backup to a Time Capsule base station.

  • Expand the capabilities of an AirPort Express by setting up audio streaming, trying Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil media streaming utility, or extending your network with ProxySTA.

  • Share files conveniently and wirelessly between Macs with the AirDrop file-transfer feature, plus understand the type of networking that AirDrop uses.

  • Put computers more directly on the Internet with port mapping or a default host.

  • Set up Back to My Mac with iCloud in order to access an AirPort or Time Capsule drive remotely, or to configure your base station remotely.

  • Set up a Software Base Station or do ad-hoc networking.

Understand what's going on and solve problems:

  • Find out what the icon on your Wi-Fi menu means, and discover what the colored light on your base station is trying to tell you.

  • Learn what a MAC address is, plus how to find it. (Hint, 1 Infinite Loop is not the MAC address that you seek.)

  • Read background information about the bands and channels used with Wi-Fi networking, understand how Apple's Wi-Fi gear fits into the picture, and get ideas for how to create an optimal network that avoids interference problems.

  • Understand the differences among AirPort Utility 6 (for Mac), AirPort Utility for iOS, and AirPort Utility 5 (for Mac and Windows). Find a free download link for the previous edition of this ebook, which covers AirPort Utility 5.

  • Learn how to update the firmware in your base station, and how to revert to an older version of your firmware, if necessary.

"If anyone knows about real-world Wi-Fi, it's Glenn Fleishman." --Mark Frauenfelder, co-founder of bOING bOING

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Technically very comprehensive

By Octogen34

from Kilkenny, South Australia

About Me Non-technical Reader

Verified Buyer


  • Accurate


    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network, 3rd Edition:

    We bought an Airport Time Capsule noting the convenience of wi-fi back ups through Time Machine. Although the little booklet coming with the device looked adequate for initial setting up, we could not get the anticipated schematics on Airport Utility screen. I wondered if this were because we are forced to a wireless connection to the internet, so I thought I needed some insight how the thing worked and then, hopefully, understand why I could not get it to tune into our existing wi-fi network.
    Glenn Fleishman's book is a stunning display of comprehensive understanding of the product (through its evolution to the current model) and it explains in a nicely graduated fashion, its operational details and how to use it in a vast range of different settings. Its layout is a little idiosyncratic, but it is richly larded with hyperlinks which work very well (on the ebook copy). Although it might be a little hard for any reader with only one application in mind to pick a way through all the material for the catholic range that the Author covers, and he reaches into technicalities way beyond my competence to understand, one does gain real insights into the operation of the device.
    However, the one thing I was looking for WAS NOT INCLUDED – just like Apple itself, the Author does not take into account those of us who do not have some sort of cabled internet connection. In the end, said "insights" did not enable me to work out why, with all the antennae the thing has, it cannot pick up the signals coming from some broadcast tower in the neighbourhood.
    The outcome of my careful reading is that, for my purpose, I am none the wiser regarding my particular problem, but I still have a valuable resource for matters related to wi-fi (and, incidentally, Airdrop).

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