Building a Network

After your network design is complete, you can start building that network.

Obtain the devices and cables you need and assemble the network.

Your network design document identifies the devices you need on the network. For example, you can determine the type of Ethernet hub you need by counting the number of devices you are connecting to it and determining whether it must provide services to the network, such as a DHCP server, so you can share a single Internet account among the devices. You also need to determine the types and length of cable you will need to attach the devices to the network, how the cables will be routed, and so on.

To learn more about Ethernet hubs, see "Finding and Installing an Ethernet Hub," p. 808.

After you have obtained the devices that will be installed on the network, you need to connect and configure those devices to access the network.

Connecting the devices to the network is simply a matter of attaching an Ethernet cable to the Ethernet hub and to each device. Of course, depending on the physical locations of the devices on the network, this can be quite a challenge, especially if you have to traverse long distances or connect machines located on different floors. If you are using AirPort on your network, you need to install AirPort cards in machines using AirPort services.

Configuring the devices attached to the network includes configuring the Internet access and firewall (if needed) for each machine, configuring an AirPort base station, and so on.

To learn how to configure Mac OS X machines for Internet access, see Chapter 10, "Connecting Your Mac to the Internet," p. 263.

To learn how to install and configure an AirPort network, see Chapter 11, "Using an AirPort Network to Connect to the Internet," p. 297.

To learn how to share an Internet connection among the devices on the network, see Chapter 27, "Sharing an Internet Connection," p. 855.

To learn how to protect machines on your network from Internet attacks, see "Defending Your Mac Against Net Hackers," p. 911.


When you create a LAN, you are actually creating an intranet. You can provide most services on an intranet that are available on the Internet. The only difference is that you can control what happens on the intranet much more closely than you can control anything on the Internet.

As you install a device, be sure to test its basic access to the network by accessing various resources on the network, such as networked printers and Internet access if that is provided through the network. This step confirms that the physical aspects of the network are working properly and that the basic network configuration for Internet access is done properly.

After you have confirmed that the devices are correctly attached to and configured for the network, you need to configure the particular services each machine will use and the access that others on the network will have to those services; examples of such configuration are provided in the next section.



Tutorials on creating and managing Ethernet networks are located at

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Life