Airport Base Station? No thanks. But ….
One of the questions that our readers are repeating to us more and more often these days concerns the configuration of an airport network at home or for small offices. The average user wonders if it is worth buying a Base Station to navigate within the home walls without wires or to connect to a server from one part of your office to another without annoying cables.In reality, when two or more recently built Macs are present in an environment (G4, iBook, iMac DV, PowerBook Pismo and Titanium ) or a G3 laptop with Wavelan PCMCIA card, one of the computers can very well function as a Base Station. In fact, the Base Station has an Orinoco type PCMCIA card (Lucent production), and two ports, a 56k modem and the connection for the 10/100 network: all features that you can find in your Mac equipped with an Airport card and already equipped with such ports. Then why spend 599,000 L. (plus VAT) for a base station when there with only 199,000 L. can you transform the Mac that is at the center of your home or studio into the interface between your internal wireless network and the internet? Yes, because another one of the characteristics of Airport and a computer equipped with the card and in mode Base Station is to be able to share an internet connection, a PPP connection with your provider, (or even an ADSL connection) between all users who access the network by activating the internal modem when necessary to connect and allowing navigation, exchange of mail and anything else also on the base machine. But when and why to use a real Base Station? It is the optimal solution when you do not have a second fixed Mac connected to the network, when you have to connect two laptops in motion with a fixed station, when the range of the antenna contained within the chassis of an iMac or G4 does not allow you to obtain the same efficiency and range that the conical shell of the Base Station is able to assure you. Obviously the Apple Base Station is very convenient when you have to create wireless networks "on the fly" or when you have only one laptop to manage in a large space as a beautiful home or a large office.In our airport section we have made several examples of airport use but the most interesting and useful one we have seen on the Apple website: a school has created a trolley with space for 10 iBooks (arranged in a rack) and a Base Station.Thanks to the low weight of the solution and above all to its small footprint it is thus possible to create a multimedia classroom able to be used when needed in any school environment, reducing the need for space (think of how many times the schools complain of having a multimedia classroom) and making it available to any class (thanks also to the intelligent management passwords with the Mac OS Keychain 9) a versatile tool that can be easily connected to an internal or external network. To complete your knowledge of Airport, please read our complete MacProf FAQ on Airport recently updated and the whole Airport section of MacProf with news on technology products and applications.