Updated Take Control of Your Apple Wi-Fi Network (and a Discounted Bundle!)

In collaboration with my good friends at TidBITS Publishing, we've updated my long-running ebook about making good use of Apple Wi-Fi equipment, from setting up a network to optimizing placement to troubleshooting problems. The book is now up to date for iOS 9 and El Capitan. It's $20, although you can get 30% off an entire cart by buying a bundle of three or more ebooks at once. (Previous owners should check their email or write to Take Control Books for a significant discount and special bundles.)

You can purchase Take Control of Your Apple Wi-Fi Network for $20. All Take Control books are DRM-free and a single purchase gets you three formats: PDF, EPUB, and Kindle-compatible MOBI.

But you can also get a bundle of that book and my self-published A Practical Guide to Networking, Privacy & Security in iOS 9 from Take Control for 20% off ($7 off) by following this link, which includes the coupon. (Buy a total of three books, and you get 30% off the entire order—no coupon required.)

In the revision, we also added some new elements and updated others to reflect how people are using their networks with a greater number of platforms—like Android—and some features we never documented before, but the time was right to add:

  • I found two great tools for graphically mapping Wi-Fi networks and for visualizing a network environment—NetSpot and WiFi Explorer—so I added a run-through of each product. NetSpot helps you sort out network signal strength against a map of the physical layout. It's very cool, and comes in a limited personal version that's enough for most households. WiFi Explorer is a more sophisticated (but not expensive) program that you can use to sort out all the networks around you and better manage your own base stations as a result.

  • I’ve made several small revisions about 802.11ac waves. Previously, when I discussed the latest flavor of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac, it was as a single thing; however, the standard is being rolled out progressively in waves, each with new features. Apple’s two 802.11ac base stations and nearly all the adapters in Macs and iOS devices currently use wave 1. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus support wave 2, and more equipment that does is coming.

  • I added details about iOS 9’s new Wi-Fi Assist feature, which is enabled by default. Because this feature can burn through cellular data, iOS 9 users should keep it on only if they are aware of this risk.

  • I added steps for connecting to an Apple Wi-Fi network from Android (5, and steps are the same for 6), Windows 10, and Chrome OS. With so many mixed-platform networks, I hope this helps! There's also detail about file sharing and printing from Windows 10 via an Apple base station.

  • Because you may want to buy a base station without paying a premium for an Apple product—or you may want to try a different feature set than what Apple is currently offering—I added information about the TP-Link Archer C7 and Google's OnHub routers.

For those interested in buying a new router, I'll be writing an article soon for TidBITS with advice on that subject. I suggest waiting until March 2016 to see if Apple introduces updated Wi-Fi base stations, because the units are now falling far behind comparably priced or much cheaper units from other companies.