Using MacPPP with NCSA: New Method

For use with Cisco Server and PAP authentication
Last update: April 29, 1996

Matthew Stuve
College of Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This document can be found at

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) allows your computer to make a direct connection to the Internet using a modem. MacPPP is a Macintosh program that enables you to make PPP connections to your Internet service provider with whom you have an account. The four steps below are for using MacPPP with NCSA. If your computer has been pre-configured for using MacPPP with NCSA, then all you need to read is Part 4: Using MacPPP.

  1. Configuring MacTCP. Before you can use MacPPP you need to have MacTCP installed and configured for NCSA. Here are the instructions for setting up MacTCP.
  2. Installing MacPPP. Here are resources pre-configured for installing MacPPP.
  3. Configuring MacPPP. This document addresses this below.
  4. Using MacPPP. This document addresses this below.

Part 3: Configuring MacPPP

You only need to configure MacPPP once.

Step 3.1 Starting MacPPP

Choose MacPPP or Config PPP from the Control Panels in the Apple Menu. The MacPPP main window will look something like Figure 3.1 below.

Figure 3.1 Main MacPPP Window

Replicate the settings shown in Figure 3.1. You may need to change your Port Name to Printer or Internal, depending on your hardware setup. If the wrong port is selected, MacPPP will let you know when you try to use it.

Step 3.2. Modem configuration

Click on the New... button to configure your dialing information. A dialog box like the one in Figure 3.2 will appear.

Figure 3.2. Configuration Window

Replicate the settings shown in Figure 3.2. Call the PPP Server "NCSA (Cisco-PAP)" as shown in the top field. Set the port speed for 9600 to start. MacPPP will connect at the fastest speed possible. [Later, when you have tested MacPPP, you may try faster settings, but 9600 seems to work for all systems I have tried. For more information on modem settings with MacPPP, go to Dave Long's page.]

Enter the NCSA phone number in the associated field. You may need to add a prefix to the NCSA phone number, such as 9 to get an outside line, or *70 to disable call-waiting. You may also need to change the type of phone line to Pulse if that is the service you have.

When you are finished, click Done in the Configuration Window. You are now ready to begin a PPP session as described in Part 4.

Part 4: Using MacPPP

Each time you want to browse the Internet with Netscape or MacWeb, you need to follow four basic steps for using MacPPP:

  1. Starting the MacPPP control panel
  2. Checking the dialing information
  3. Opening a PPP session and running your Internet software
  4. Closing the PPP session

These steps are described below.

Step 4.1. Starting MacPPP

Launch the MacPPP control panel. It should already be set up to use with ISBE (see Part 3 if you have not done this). The main MacPPP Window should appear as shown in Figure 4.1 below.

Figure 4.1 Main MacPPP Window

Step 4.2. Checking the dialing information

Click on Config... to check the phone number. This is especially important in shared PowerBook situations, or when you travel, because different locations may require a prefix to the phone number.

Step 4.3. Opening a PPP Session

To make the PPP connection, make sure your phone line is connected to your modem. Then click on the Open button in the upper left corner of the main MacPPP window. This begins the dialing sequence as shown in the status window in the upper left of your screen. When you see "Authentication" appear in the status window, you will be prompted for your NCSA annex login name and password as shown below in Figure 4.2. You are now connected to NCSA!

Figure 4.2. Authentication of NCSA account.

Step 4.4. During a PPP Session

In general, if you see "PPP Up" displayed in the upper left of the main MacPPP window, then you are connected to the Internet.

Figure 4.5. PPP-up in configuration window.

You can now begin using your favorite Internet tools, while leaving MacPPP up in the background. While you use Internet tools, you are still on-line to your Internet service provider. You should try to use this service as efficiently as possible, so that others can enjoy the Internet. In Web browsers, such as Netscape, you should disable the auto loading of images. Images transfer slowly over a modem, so disabling them will speed up pages transfers substantially. You can still click on the image icons to see only the images you choose.

When you are done, make sure to disconnect from NCSA as described in Step 4.5.

Step 4.5. Closing a PPP session

Go back to the Config PPP Control Panel. Choose Hard Close in the upper right corner. When you see "PPP Down", you are disconnected.

You have now completed a MacPPP session.

Return to the LRS PPP home page

For more information about dialing up to the Internet, refer to Getting Wired: Connecting to the UIUC Campus Network from Home

Created May 4, 1995 by MJS. Last update: April 29, 1996 by MJS.