Introduced in 2003, Apple's Airport Extreme wireless router has been constantly lauded by tech experts and neophytes alike for both its functionality and design. The Airport Extreme is compatible with both Macs and Windows computers, and has the bandwidth to support up to 50 users simultaneously. Most users attach the Airport to either a cable or DSL modem, depending on the type of broadband service they subscribe to. The Airport Extreme is virtually plug-and-play when connected to a cable modem, but does require a bit more configuration when used with DSL.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- DSL modem
- Ethernet RJ-45 cable
Connect an Ethernet cable from your computer to one of the network jacks in the back of the unit (indicated by an "arrow" icon). Power on the Airport and then launch the Airport Utility on your computer. On a Macintosh, this is found in the "Utilities" folder located inside the "Applications" folder. If the software is not installed on your computer (or you are using a Windows PC), then use the CD enclosed with the router to install the software.
Highlight the Airport unit in the left column and then click on the "Manual Setup" button to open the configuration window. Under the "Airport" icon, click on the "Base Station" tab to name your unit and to give it a password to discourage unauthorised users from changing the settings. Under the "Wireless" tab, select "Create a wireless network" in the pull-down menu, give your wireless network a name and establish a password that protects your network.
Click on the "Internet" icon to configure your DSL settings. Select "PPPoE" from the "Connect Using" pull-down menu. Enter your DSL user name in the "Account Name" field and your password in the "Password:" fields. This information is supplied by your DSL provider and is usually part of the initial information package. Click on the PPPoE tab and select "Always On" from the "Connection" menu. Enter your domain name in "Domain Name" field if your provider requires it.
Click on the "Update" button in the lower right when you have finished entering the information. You will be advised that the Airport unit needs to be restarted and that any wireless services will be terminated until it reboots. Select "OK" in this window.
Attach the Airport unit to your DSL modem using an Ethernet RJ-45 cable. Confirm the cable is plugged into the leftmost jack, which is indicated by the "circle" icon (as opposed to the "arrow" icon). Power on the DSL modem, wait 45 seconds for it to boot up and then attempt to go online. You can use both wireless computers or those connected to the Airport by an Ethernet cable to access the Internet.
Tips and warnings
- Record your password in a secure place.
- Thick walls, built-in appliances and long distances are signal killers, so try to situate your Airport in a central location if possible.
- A forgotten wireless password will necessitate resetting the Airport to original factory settings and repeating the configuration process.
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