It’s never fun being the only person in the room who doesn’t understand what everyone else is talking about. Truth be told, there are often several others (including those nodding as if they’re following everything the speaker is saying) who either don’t understand the material being reviewed or would benefit from a refresher course. For that reason, I’ll dedicate a few new blog posts to covering some Lion basics, especially as many Macs are now administered by former Windows professionals never formally trained on Macs, Mac OS X or Lion.

Configuring IP settings in Lion

Administrators configure IP settings within Mac OS X Lion using the System Preferences Network option. Several options appear by default within the Network’s left window pane. The typical network options include Wi-Fi (for wireless connections), Ethernet (for typical Ethernet-cabled networks), FireWire (for FireWire-connected network devices) and Bluetooth Personal Area Network, or PAN. Other options that might appear are VPN, PPPoE or mobile broadband connections.

Different settings must be configured for each option. I’ll focus on two, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, here.

Wi-Fi setup

Clicking Wi-Fi presents corresponding network options in the right-pane window.

  1. You must select the network you wish to join using the Network Name drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can select Join Other Network to specify the name of the network you wish to join, such as might be the case if the network’s administrator has purposefully disabled SSID broadcast for security reasons.
  2. When selecting a new network from the drop-down menu, Mac OS X will prompt you to enter the network’s passkey when security options are set.
  3. Clicking the Advanced button provides access to several configuration options, including Wi-Fi, TCP/IP, DNS and more. Choosing TCP/IP opens the TCP/IP properties window, from which administrators can specify (using the Configure IPv4 drop-down menu) the Manually or Using DHCP with Manual Address options.
  4. To specify a static LAN IP, users should select the Manually option, enter the numeric IP address within the IPv4 Address field, supply the corresponding Subnet Mask, enter the default gateway (within the Router field) and click OK
  5. Users wishing to configure specific DNS servers can click the DNS tab, click the + icon and enter the numeric IP of the DNS server or servers to be used.

Ethernet setup

The TCP/IP settings appear in the right-pane window when selecting Ethernet. Here the Configure IPv4 drop-down menu appears.

  1. Operators can select Manually (and follow the same steps as above to configure a static IP).
  2. When PPPoE is selected, users must provide the username within the Account Name field and the PPPoE password within the Password field.
  3. Clicking the Connect button then prompts the network to attempt a connection using the supplied PPPoE credentials.
  4. Users needing to supply a static IP address with the PPPoE connection can click the Advanced button, from which the familiar TCP/IP settings menu will appear.