Helpdesk Challenge – fix networking problems on a Mac

Apple computers tend to make it easy to connect to a network, but where things go wrong, it’s handy to know which Mac tools to use to diagnose network failures.

Not sure you’d know where to begin with an Apple computer? Read our readers’ tips on switching from a PC to a Mac.

Using the Mac Network Pane tool

Where you’re having trouble connecting to the internet or a wireless network, the Network Pane can help.

To access it, click the Apple icon, then click System Preferences. In the window that appears, click Network. This shows you the status of your network connections.

For help with troubleshooting, click the Assist me button. Click the Diagnostics button for help solving network connection problems and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Network Pane Mac

Using the Mac Network Utility and Ping tools

When a website isn’t working, it may be the fault of the site itself, or it could be a network issue.

Network Utility (found in Applications > Utilities > Network Utility) has lots of tools for checking if other devices are connected to your network or if the internet is working.

One catch-all tool is Ping. Here, you can enter the IP address of a device on your network (such as another computer) or a web address and Mac OS X will ping the device or site and tell you whether it can make contact with it.

To find the IP address of a device, such as a printer, use a free Mac program such as WakeOnLan that lists the IP addresses of the devices on your network.

Many devices, such as routers, have the IP address printed on the device, too.

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