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Setup & Admin - Internet, Network, Port Mapping

The Internet screen (Figure 7) controls how the Express handles Internet connection, providing choices of Ethernet (existing LAN that already has an Internet connection), PPPoE , America Online DSL and WDS connection. The screen contents change depending on the connection method and the controls looked pretty complete for each case. An exception is the ability to change the Express' MAC address, which I couldn't find.

Apple AirPort Express: Internet setup screen

Figure 7: Internet setup screen
(click image for larger view)

If you choose the WDS method, you'll have to find and supply the MAC address of the WDS partner you're connecting to (and probably set the Express' MAC address into that partner's WDS setup too). Fortunately, the AirPort (wireless) and Ethernet port MAC addresses are printed along with the Express' serial number on a label and clearly shown in the Admin Utility's opening screen. Of course, you'll still probably end up entering both MAC addresses (I'd try the AirPort / wireless address first) on both ends of the WDS connection until you find the combination that works. Such are the joys of WDS setup!

The Network screen (Figure 8) is probably the most confusing screen that I encountered, partly due to terminology and partly due to lack of detailed setup examples in the documentation. What I was able to figure out is that you leave the Distribute IP addresses box unchecked to have the Express act as an AP.

Tip TIP: Contrary to the changing note at the bottom of the Network screen, if the LAN that the Express is connected to has a DHCP server on it, clients associating with the Express will pick up their TCP/IP info from that server just fine and not have to be manually configured.

Apple AirPort Express: Network setup screen

Figure 8: Network setup screen
(click image for larger view)

To enable wireless routing, you choose the settings shown in Figure 8. Note that in addition to three preset private IP address ranges (10.0.1.X, 172.16.1.X and 192.168.1.X) you can set your own range if that's what you need.

It took me awhile to figure out the Share a range of IP addresses (using only DHCP) radio button, but it finally dawned that I was thinking too hard about it. Choose it if you want the Express to function as an access point and don't already have a DHCP server on your Ethernet LAN.

If you leave the Express in wireless routing (Share a single IP address (using DHCP and NAT) mode, the Port Mapping screen (Figure 9 ) will be at your service. You can pick from a pre-made list of services or enter new services, one port a time, however. And while there's no indication of the protocols used for the port mappings I think it's safe to assume both TCP and UDP. By the way, If you're looking for application (port) or content filtering to control what the Express' users can get at on the Internet, you won't find any.

Apple AirPort Express: Port Mapping screen

Figure 9: Port Mapping screen
(click image for larger view)

Tip TIP: You can also put one computer in DMZ, or let all ports pass through to it. Just enable the NAT Default Host checkbox on the Network screen and enter its IP address.

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