Flying High with AirPort
Pages: 1, 2
Trial and Error Pays Off ... Eventually
Between flying trips, sending emails, spending hours at the Apple store, and generally beating my head against the wall, we finally succeeded in getting my HP PC to connect to the Apple store server. I had originally tried to use a Linksys PCMCIA card -- it was cheaper and available -- but it didn't do the trick. I ordered an ORiNOCO Gold card from an Internet site, and it provided the proper protocol to make the magic work.
As a result, I had enough confidence to try the switch to Apple's system. Since Christmas was near (this was happening in November 2001), I decided I could complete my family gift shopping in the Apple store. I bought an iBook, AirPort, and 2 iPods -- one for each of my daughters. I was a very happy guy, and the Apple store guys were equally happy that I would not be spending more time than money in their new store.
Well, then the long wait till Christmas. Finally the day arrived and we unwrapped the computer and other goodies. At the time, the only ISP we had was AOL (via dialup). Since Mac OS X was advertised as working with AOL, I figured we could get things up and running right away.
With the help of AppleCare, we were able to configure the AirPort Base Station for dialup, and just like that we wirelessly connected the iBook. Unfortunately at this time, we weren't able to get any of the other computers on the network.
I'm not sure if it was an Apple, AOL, or AirPort thing, but I wasn't that bothered because our new DSL line was scheduled to be installed in a few weeks. We'd have to reconfigure our AirPort network then anyway.
(The final installation of the DSL is a whole other story in itself, as it wasn't until late February before we were able to get things going again.)
I got the AirPort set up for DSL, again with the help of the AppleCare folks, and began using the iBook. I tried using my HP, but for some reason it didn't work. I began my regular treks to the Apple store for help. It seemed as if the problem had to do with the WEP settings, and once that was taken care of, I was able to connect at home with the iBook and the HP laptop (via the ORiNOCO Gold PCMCIA card).
Then another setback. I took my iBook on the road and was using the dialup services at the hotel. When I returned from my trip, I was unable to connect to the AirPort. Again, off to the Apple store. For some reason, we were not able to connect to their server either. Everyone was a little saddened because things had gone so well.
Well, Mr. Matzke came to the rescue. Doug was interested in making the thing work because he was going to do the same thing at his house. His wife had a PC, and he was partial to Macs. No need to have to completely change to new hardware if you don't have to. Besides, it's very expensive. I really think that once the word gets out, people will be more willing to "try" the Mac, and once they do, voila!
Doug came over to the house, imagine that, a house call by the Apple expert. I had just purchased one of the new iMacs, as I had promised initially. I was very excited that after the first of the year (2002), Apple made a less expensive machine that would produce the DVDs. What a great advertising program, too. (By the way: I had the new iMac setup from in the box and onto the network in less than 15 minutes. For a novice like me, that is OUTSTANDING!)
Well, Doug used the iMac to search the Apple knowledge base for the proper software to get things going. For anyone interested, it's the AirPort Admin Utility for PCs. Doug made a CD with the new software. We installed it on my laptop, the HP, and instantly connected to the network. We were both thrilled!
I got the Dell laptop and instantly it worked. Then we got the desktop to work through the AirPort WAN port. (Actually, it's the middle plug on the AirPort, so I don't remember if it was the WAN or the LAN, but it doesn't matter to me, cause it works.)
We pilots have a forum where we talk about all kinds of things. I have alerted 10,000 pilots about my setup, and each week it seems there are more and more who are having problems with the Linksys wireless or some other (non AirPort) setup. I've persuaded a few of them to change to AirPort, and as a result they've been very grateful!
I am waiting for Apple (Mr. Jobs, actually) to start an advertising program to let the people know that you can operate Macs and PCs together. And that if you use AirPort hardware, it makes the process SO much easier.
Now I need to spend some time learning iMovie to get that first DVD cut. After all, volleyball begins in the fall, and I want to start making movies!
Derrick, thanks for your help as well. It was your article that first got us up and running on the Apple store server. Your instructions were great. However, this AirPort Admin Utility was a snap. So much so, even I was able to install it and make it work.
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