Im­prove your net­work

Make your net­work work smarter, faster and more re­li­ably with these handy tips

Mac Format - - WIFI SECRETS -

Your wire­less net­work should work pretty re­li­ably most of the time, es­pe­cially if you use an Air­Port Ex­treme or Air­Port Time Cap­sule. Nev­er­the­less, there are things you can do to make it work bet­ter, faster and more re­li­ably, and to make it more se­cure.

Your first port of call for work­ing with Ap­ple’s Air­Port hard­ware is Air­Port Util­ity, which is found in /Ap­pli­ca­tions/Util­i­ties on a Mac and a free add-on for iOS de­vices (ap­ple.co/24Lyx6D. This app shows your cur­rent base sta­tion’s setup and how you’re con­nected to the in­ter­net. Open it, se­lect your de­vice’s icon in the net­work map to re­veal de­tails about its con­fig­u­ra­tion, and click Edit to make changes.

One of the best things you can do to speed up your net­work is to make sure your base sta­tion is us­ing the fastest pos­si­ble con­nec­tion speed. If you own the lat­est 802.11ac Air­Port Ex­treme and a suit­able Mac (most 2013 or newer mod­els) or iOS de­vice (at least an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 or an iPad Pro), then 802.11ac ra­dio mode of­fers the best mix­ture of speed for newer de­vices that con­nect at 5GHz and back­wards com­pat­i­bil­ity for older ones in the 2.4GHz band.

With an older 802.11n model, switch­ing it to 5GHz will give you the fastest data speeds, but not all of your de­vices may work with that, which is an is­sue if the base sta­tion doesn’t do si­mul­ta­ne­ous dual-band broad­cast. You can switch modes in Air­Port Util­ity > Wire­less > Wire­less Op­tions.

Learn self-de­fense You should also se­cure your net­work by em­ploy­ing Wire­less Pro­tected Ac­cess (WPA), which

of­fers 128-bit en­cryp­tion. Most routers now of­fer WPA2 Per­sonal and WPA2 En­ter­prise se­cu­rity, en­abling you to set pass­words be­tween 8 and 63 char­ac­ters in length. You should aim to make your pass­word as long as pos­si­ble and con­tain a mix­ture of up­per­case and low­er­case letters, num­bers and even sym­bols. If you en­ter the net­work’s pass­word on an Ap­ple de­vice that’s con­nected to your iCloud Key­chain, the pass­word will sync to oth­ers that use the key­chain, so you’ll only need to en­ter it once.

While hid­ing your net­work’s name from broad­cast might make it seem more se­cure, its pres­ence is still

Hid­ing a net­work’s name doesn’t re­ally boost se­cu­rity, and it can hit per­for­mance

ev­i­dent to a knowl­edgable snif­fer. Ap­ple’s Wire­less Di­ag­nos­tics tool also ad­vises that it can cause per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues for de­vices.

Fi­nally, if your wire­less net­work has trou­ble reach­ing ar­eas of your home, you can ex­tend its range us­ing an­other Air­Port Ex­treme or an Air­Port Ex­press. Open Air­Port Util­ity, se­lect the de­vice you want to use to ex­tend your wire­less net­work, then se­lect Net­work Mode > Ex­tend a Wire­less Net­work. Fur­ther in­struc­tions can be found at ap­ple.co/24Lyx6D.

OS X has built-in help to di­ag­nose those in­stances when your net­work con­nec­tion doesn’t work.

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