The best thing about WiFi is exactly what it was created for; reaching areas that cables just can’t. Unfortunately, in many cases, to manage that wireless connection you still need to be physically connected to it. And although many wireless routers do allow access via the web that isn’t much help if your router isn’t allowing internet access or you just don’t use it for that purpose. But, if you own one of Apple’s wireless routers and an iOS device your worries could be significantly lowered since you can perform some basic functions right from your couch. In fact, you can even setup any Apple AirPort Extreme BaseStation or AirPort Express and have it fully running all without slaving over at your desktop computer.
To get this wireless experience started you must have either an Apple AirPort Extreme BaseStation or AirPort Express hooked up to your computer (and internet service if you desire), any iOS device and of course, the AirPort Utility software installed on your iOS device. Once you have done the basic physical setup of the APE (attaching power and network cables) you can leave the desktop alone from this point on.
Using your iOS device (in this scenario I’m using an iPad but setup is still the same) goto to Settings > WiFi, and turn on WiFi if it isn’t already. It will now display a list of wireless networks it can see along with your newly attached APE which will appear at the bottom under “Set up an AirPort BaseStation…”.
Tapping on the listed AirPort Extreme initiates the setup process.
It will then present you with the basic setup options. Pick “Create A New Network” Device Name and Wifi Name are automatically created but you can change it now or later. Choose a good password that’s not easy to figure out but one you will remember, after that just tap [Next].
As long as all the information is correct your WiFi network will be immediately available. This process also automatically sets up your device to connect to the network.
Now you can open the AirPort Utility app where you can perform some fine tuning if you are so inclined.
If your looking for more functionality such as DHCP, File Sharing, Access Control and IPv6 settings, it’s all here. Hide your network, check on connected devices; it can all be done from the iOS device of your choosing. And when a software update is available you will not only be notified but you can also update it right from your iOS device. If the latest update isn’t running to your satisfaction you can easily downgrade it from there too.
I’d like to see full desktop functionality come to this app but as it stands the AirPort Utility app is a godsend for getting your wireless network up and running remotely. Apple has done a good job by giving the home IT person a way to monitor and update the network without having to always sit at the computer to do so. If you use an Apple wireless router, any iOS device and are the tech person of the house then this app is a must have in my book.