Sunday, June 30, 2013

Airport network configuration: Finding Mac address to put into Timed Access Control

I'll get my rant of out the way. AirPort Utility 6 was the start of Apple's year of drifting downhill. The good news is that Mavericks is giving us some hope that Cook has a balanced approach to managing complexity.
Ok, rant over. You are reading this because you want to Control access to your wireless network - maybe because a local teenager is still learning the network access rules. Open Airport Express and search for "Control when a user can access your network". You'll get something like this:

... Click Network, select Enable Access Control, and then click Timed Access Control.
Click Add (+) and enter the MAC address and description or name of the computers you’re letting access the network...

What the directions don't tell you is that if you're in bridged mode (extend network) you need do this on the AirPort device that assigns IP addresses, typically the one connected to your DSL/Cable modem.
The UI is very unclear, but I think you can enter EITHER the MAC address (media access control address -- every ethernet device has one, whether wifi or wired - it's one way devices get traced. No relation to Macintosh.) or the "name of the device" [1]. But how do you find the MAC address for, say, an iPhone?
This way:
  1. Airport 5.6: wifi -Use AirPort 5.6 Advanced:Logging & Statistics:Logs & Statistics:DHCP Clients from the DHCP serving device (only device unless you have bridged network like mine). You can copy paste the MAC address.
  2. AirPort Utility 6.x: Find IP, Mac, and network name for WiFi (not ethernet) devices by holding option key, then double click on the AirPort advice providing DHCP services. You will see a new 'Summary' tab, click outline icon in wireless client list to see details. The MAC address is called a "Hardware Address". You can't copy paste it (insert sound of teeth grinding).
  3. AirPort Utility for iOS: (Best). Tap each device on your network that can have wifi clients. Tap "Wirless Clients" then tap name. See IP, Hardware address connection details. You can tap Hardware Address to copy it. Mail or otherwise share it to your Mac so you can set timed access; you can't configure Timed Access from an iOS device.

From the Mac address you can set timed access control.

- fn -

[1] For an iOS device the Name might appear in iTunes, but I think spaces get replaced with hyphens. Better to use the MAC address.

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