If you’re like me, you’ve had seven (or more) kinds of problems with your Airport Extreme. Maybe today’s update will fix it for you, even though Apple’s description is terse as usual, offering only “general fixes and compatibility updates.” While you’re at it, don’t forget to […]

If you’re like me, you’ve had seven (or more) kinds of problems with your Airport Extreme. Maybe today’s update will fix it for you, even though Apple’s description is terse as usual, offering only “general fixes and compatibility updates.”

While you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up last week’s Boot Camp 1.4, which seemed to get lost in the hubbub of iLife ’08, iWork ’08, and the new iMacs.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. No, didn’t fix anything – made it worse. I cannot connext my Airport Express to my new Airport Extreme Base station even after hours of futzing.

    This is absolute nonsense. Apple’s products should just WORK. Maybe Apple needs to spend much less time with fluff (like the iPhone) and more time making their computing products actually work as advertised.

  2. I’m inclined to agree with you, umijin. The iPhone took a huge chunk out of Apple’s R&D and those of us who like and use their computer products are subsidizing the development costs for the people who had to have the “God phone” — a product that, I’m afraid to say, may be a dud, given the low demand for it.

    The iPhone and Apple TV both have made me personally questions Apple’s commitment to personal computing; when they changed their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc., that really made me feel uneasy.

    I’m beginning to wonder whether I should upgrade to Leopard in October, or am I safer staying with the known quantity of Tiger?

  3. >I’m beginning to wonder whether I should upgrade to Leopard in October, or am I safer staying with the known quantity of Tiger?

    Well I would say just make sure you have a backup of your Tiger system. Bummer if leopard turns out to be crap, though I really doubt that it will.

  4. I have a Airport Express.
    When installing the software request the Airport Utility 5.0 that is on the Airport Extreme CD. So i can’t install the update on my Airport Express. No way to download the software from the Apple Site.

  5. Honza — Oh, I’m definitely getting a pristine backup before I install Leopard. I’ll be installing from scratch anyway, instead of upgrading, so I definitely will need a backup. Less chance of something going wrong that way.

    Marco — That sucks. The update site specifically says the update supports AirPort Express, but it also says that it requires AirPort Utility 5.0 to already be installed. It’s a bit confusing.

  6. Ehhh…I’m REALLY weary of airport updates. When I paid for the 802.11n enabler, it wreaked havoc on my system. I might have to wait on this one…

  7. I have the old Aiport Extreme, Airport Express and the new Extreme. I did have a problem getting the Airport Utility to see the Express until I did a hard reset on the Express. No problems after that with setting it up although I did have to select the option to connect to an existing network and not to extend. The Express never worked with the old Extreme but now I am enjoying the wonders of AirTunes for the very first time.

  8. I found that if i used WEP, it can’t connect the express to the new extreme’s network. however if one uses the wpa/wpa2 setting, it works fine

  9. Holy hack! That’s it! You are correct! I was using WEP, and it wouldn’t work. I switched to WPA/WPA2 and there is no problem.

    Why the @#$@# isn’t this suggestion in the support section at Apple.com?

  10. bv & umijin — Yet one more good reason (as if there needed to be another) to switch from WEP to WPA. I know that some older clients (PDAs, etc) don’t support WPA, but otherwise, WEP is not really a secure scheme. And, no, not that that turns this bug into a feature, but it’s definitely not something that I would have noticed. I haven’t run WEP in over 3 years, and I’ve been on WPA2 for at least a year and a half. At one point, I even tried 802.1X on the Extreme, but that didn’t work so well.

  11. Billy Halsey – not sure why I chose to use WEP initially. I think my older TiBook (which I don’t use anymore) uses Panther and couldn’t hack WPA.

    But regardless of this, Apple should have caught this long ago. Wish I could get this to their attention somehow, other than in my support discussion.

  12. umijin — File a bug about it. The form is, appropriately enough, well-hidden.

    Note that an ADC membership is required.

  13. only problem i have now is that when using wpa, my son’s old IBM T40 notebook can see the network but can’t connect to it. Any ideas ?

  14. bv — Is your AirPort set to WPA/WPA2 or only to WPA2? The T40 may not be capable of WPA2, in which case it could still see it but not negotiate the encryption needed to connect.

  15. Sat Jagat Singh Friday, August 17, 2007

    The update appears to have solved the problem I had with maintaining a connection to a different vendor’s access point. In my home I employ WPA and I was seeing the connection just drop off every few minutes and occasional kernel panics. I have not seen these problems since the update. I’m still waiting.

  16. Bill – . I looked at the new extreme settings. it only allows for wpa 2 no opton for wpa. it does say however that wpa2 is backward compatabile w wpa. are you aware of this for ibm t40 notebooks (built about 4 years back)

  17. bv — Switch your AirPort Extreme out of “n only” mode. When it’s in “n only” mode, WPA is disabled and only WPA2 will function. If you switch it to 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible), then you’ll be able to select WPA/WPA2 Personal for your Wireless security: Skitch →

  18. Bill – thanks. I learnt how to mually update the extreme. I did try the wpa setting but the ibm t40 was still not connecting. Anyways using manual setup i was able to set both the extreme and the express stations to WEP and now all machines seem happy.

    One unrelated q for u – i have a Linksys WIP 320 wifi cordless wifi phone. It was working fine with my old (round) extreme base station but with the new one, it can see the network but cant seem to connect. Any ideas ?

  19. Setting both my Linksys router and my Airport Express to WPA2 fixed everything!!! Thanks!!

  20. bv — Sorry, didn’t think to mention that you’d need to do manual setup. I’ve always done manual on mine, so it’s second-nature to me. Glad you figured it out, though. As for the WIP320, I can’t seem to find any information on what encryption schemes it supports. I saw where you had posted on the Linksys forums as well. I don’t have any ideas about it… Sorry. :(

    Olle — Great!

  21. I’m glad I saw this post..I was planning on picking up a new extreme this week. Maybe it would be better to get one of the old models for cheap?

  22. I can’t get my extreme to recognize my express wirelessly. I can only find it when I hard wire it to either the extreme or my G4

  23. I am having the same extreme/express problem, but I really want there to be a way for me to keep my old g3 iMac on the network… I think it can only handle WEP. Am I stuck?

  24. @ Nate & Jamey & everyone else with WEP vs. WPA issues: Something you might try is this.

    1. Load the AirPort Utility and select your AirPort Extreme from the list. Hit ⌘-L (Command-L) to enter Manual Setup mode. In the Summary tab that appears, click Wireless Security, which will take you directly to the location for that setting. Make sure it’s set to both WPA and WPA2 and enter a password. (Note that you must be in the 2.4 GHz radio mode to use the combined WPA/WPA2 scheme.)

    2. Update those settings and wait for the AirPort Extreme to reset. When it does, continue setting up your AirPort Express in client mode. (You should be able to do so without problem in WPA. From what I understand, it’s only WEP that’s causing a problem, right?)

    3. When your Express is up and on the network, select the Extreme from the AirPort Utility window. Then in the menu bar, select Base Station and then Add Network Clients. A sheet will pop open and ask you to specify ‘PIN’ or ‘First attempt’. If you are connecting with a WEP-only PC, you should select ‘First attempt’, but a Mac should be able to connect by PIN. You probably don’t want to select the checkbox to limit access to 24 hours. Note that this will disable encryption for the connecting computer; no encryption (WEP or WPA) will be used for that system.

    4. Connect the Mac or PC to the network immediately. The AirPort Extreme will add the MAC address of this system to a whitelist, enabling it to connect. No other system will be permitted without the WPA passphrase.

    5. Don’t forget that the system you’ve just connected is not encrypted and everything is sent over-the-air in plain view. Look into a service like HotSpotVPN or personalVPN.

  25. I’m a long-time Mac user with many Macs. After replacing my old Airport Extreme (round) with the new one (square, flat), I no longer can get my Extreme to “see” three Airport Expresses that, up until the replacement, functioned perfectly. I’ve tried every combination of settings I can think of. Airport Utility 5.2.2 “sees” the Expresses and I can access them and set them up as WDS remotes but no matter what I do, they continue to blink amber and the Utility reports that the Extreme hasn’t found them. Do you know of a comprehensive, step-by-step instruction (that covers ALL possible switches and options) that might help me out of this labyrinth? I thought I was pretty savvy on Mac stuff but this has me flummoxed. (Extreme is set to WDS Main and one or more Extremes are successfully listed as “remotes”; WPA/WPA2 selected as security option; Channels are consistent.)

  26. @ David — I’m working on getting an Express myself partly so I can troubleshoot this issue and partly to stream iTunes to my bedroom. When I do, I’ll have a better idea of how to approach this. Until then, though, here are my thoughts.

    First, to make sure we’re on the same page, you mean AirPort Utility 5.2.1, right? (5.2.2 hasn’t been released.)

    Second, when you go into AirPort Utility and select an Express, then choose Base Station Status from the menu bar, what message do you get?

    Unfortunately (and I have no problem saying this), Microsoft’s help system is far superior to Apple’s, and I don’t know of any resource on the system or online that has the comprehensive help you’re looking for.

    For the record, how many Extremes, Expresses, and Macs are you talking about?

  27. Billy – Yes, it’s AirPort Utility 5.2.1. My error.

    When I go to AirPort Utility, I select an Express from the AirPort Utility window, rather than the menu bar but I can do it from the menu bar, as well. In any event, the message is “AirPort Utility found an AirPort Express with default settings” (because I restored it to factory specs via a hard reset).
    From there I begin a manual setup, making the base a “remote” as per WDS. I select the same security scheme as the Extreme (WPA/WPA Personal) with the same password. I fill in the Extreme’s network name and, under the WDS window, fill in the Extreme’s IP address, since it asks for “WDS Main”. I then click “Update”. The Express light glows solid amber, then blinks green once, then blinks amber. After all of this is done, the Extreme light glows green and all is well with it. However, the Express is missing in action and continues to blink amber. I suspect that one of the many, many fill-in-the-blanks options through this process is tripping me up but after trying many variations, I can’t figure out which one it is. When I experiment, I wind up disabling the Extreme and have to restore it with a reset.

  28. Billy – FYI, for some reason, this morning it worked. As I worked again through the process while answering your questions, I now have a solid green on my Extreme and solid green on one Express. I have no idea what I did differently this morning but I’ll try to duplicate it on the other two. While I’m happy I’ve finally achieved success, I still think this process could be a little easier. Anyway, thanks for the response.

  29. However, an attempt to add a second Express failed AND caused the AirPort Utility to report that the base station could find NO remotes, even though one is successfully in use. I deleted the second Express, clicked on Update and after much blinking and restarting, the Extreme is now solid green as is the first Express I added to the network. As far as I know, I followed the same process in my attempt to add a second Express as I did with the first. For some reason, though, it tanked. I think I’m going to leave well enough alone before trying to add the other two. Very touchy devices, I’d say.

  30. Oh, and FYI, I’m running one Extreme (the new one), one Express (because I can’t get the other two up and running) and four Macs. I have a large house with three stories and quite a bit of distance between the Extreme and one of the Macs.

  31. @ David — Yeah, I agree that it’s pretty janky. It seems the worst problems (from what you and others are reporting here as well as on the Apple support forums) are with Extreme and Express interoperability. After all this time, I still have problems with my MBP dropping the connection to my Extreme just 8 feet away when the throughput gets “heavy” (by 11b standards).

    I’m glad you got one Express up and running, but I don’t know how to help you get the others up without having one of my own to experiment with.

  32. David,

    I am new to mac, and I do not even see the wds option. I have tried everything I can think of, and I can’t get things to work. I am using the 5.2.2 airport utility.

    Can you tell me what you did to get things working?

  33. Chad – It was a little hit-or-miss but using the Airport utility, one step and a time, I was able to get the new Airport Extreme and one Express working well. Frankly, I quit trying to get the other two Express devices up since they simply wouldn’t cooperate. What, specifically, are you trying to do?

  34. David,

    Thank you for your response on this. I did manage to fight with things over the weekend, and now it is working fine. I was able to activate the WDS, and then I had to ensure the channels were the same, and of course make sure both devices had the same ssid. I am using WPA security, and things are working really well now. The problem I was experiencing was with me, and my lack of knowledge on how to set things up. It was a little frustrating since everything else with Mac just seems to be so easy to set up, and configure.

  35. Generally speaking, I never have problems setting up Mac stuff but, for some reason, Airport devices represent a challenge to me. Usually the primary base station is a breeze. It’s the addition of Airport Expresses that seems to be contrary. Glad you’re up and running.

  36. I also am having problems with the addition of the express to my main base station airport extreme n, it all set up perfectly and I was quite surprised, but after that the express just disappears from my network and I have no connection, the whole thing is driving me mad, after thinking I would be extending my network range only to find I’ve shortened not only that but my nerves….help!!!

  37. Hey Aniya, I have had a few issues with this, but there are a few things you should check to get it working. First, make sure you have the correct mac addresses registered on the extreme, and the express, make sure you are using the same channel, and if you are using WPA (which you should be for security) make sure the ssid’s are the same, and of course the passwords. You may have all of this set up correctly, but just double check to make sure.

    I actually had the express disappear after I had things working for about a week. The led was flashing amber. I had to unplug the express, not the extreme to get things synced up again.

    Believe me I found this to be ridiculously frustrating…but I did manage to get it working, and it does work well.

  38. Hi Chad, thanks for your reply, yes all all settings and addresses correct, yesterday I updated to leopard, I have a better connection, but what I notice with both leopard and tiger is the fact that the express has to be situated near the main base station or else it’s lost, I understood that it was to be placed near to where the the computer was, (ie I move around my house with my MB to where the signal is not as strong, the whole idea of getting the AE in the first place) but once I move the AE further away it’s a gonna.
    Another thing that happens when I move further away is I can see AE but no main airport extreme n base station, so I assume the 2 airports don’t speak to each other, I have to take my MB back to where the base station is to pick back up the signal, frustrating!!! I’ll see how it goes with leopard although the 2 airports are 4 metres away from each other…

  39. don’t know why but try as i might, i can’t get the airport utility to discover my extreme or express any more. the extreme is plugged into the internet and i can access the net, but i can’t get into configure either the extreme or the express. i keeps on saying that it can’t discover them. Any tip please. i have tried reseting but to no avail

  40. ok folks I seem to have put my finger on the button, although every now and then my airport express disappears from airport utility, I just unplug/plug it in again and that seems to do the trick and then it goes for weeks and I get a good signal everywhere, I am now awaiting the MBA on order so hope that doesn’t play up…to be continued

  41. Bernice B. Bernardino Monday, April 28, 2008

    Hi! Help please! Am a fairly new Mac user and have not encountered problems until now when i got my airport express. My Airport express is green and works fine. But i could not set it up because my airport utilities can’t find it!

    I already placed the gadget about 6 inches from my laptop and my line works fine. (tried attaching the wire directly to my computer and it works all the time)

    What can i do to make my macbook pro recognize my airport express? Im am starting to feel sorry i bought the airport express :( My friend who swears by its wonders said it did;t take her 5 min to get it up and running. Ive been at it for 3 days to no avail! Thank you so much!

  42. Bernice B. Bernardino Monday, April 28, 2008

    by the way, i’ve done the reset procedure a gazillion times

  43. It sounds like you have a faulty unit to me. If you can’t connect through wireless then it makes me wonder if it works. Can you see it when you look at all the available wireless networks? If you can’t see it there, then there is no way the airport utilities will see it.

  44. Picked up a “Time Capsule” the other day with the thought of either replacing my Extreme or using one as an extension of the other. As per my earlier note (see above), this proved to be an all-morning project. Bottom line is that after many tries, I got the Capsule to work as my primary Airport base station but my new network doesn’t “see” either the old Extreme nor any of my Expresses. Turns out, though, that the Capsule is strong enough to service all the computers in my house. Still, the “new” Capsule doesn’t seem to like the “old” Extreme and Expresses; i.e., they’re invisible. Again, networking is the most frustration thing I ever encounter with my Macs. When it’s properly set up, it performs flawlessly but getting things set up, now there’s the rub…

  45. I purchased an Airport Extreme for the sole purpose of allowing me to print wirelessly. I do want to share an internet connection. I do not want to share the printer with my neighbors either. Out of the box, my printer worked but the amber light blinking is disturbing. Also I can see my airport extreme is broadcasting my open network. When I go and configure WAP2, the Airport goes away and doesn’t come back till I stick it in the eye with a paperclip.

  46. I was finally able to connect my Airport Express to my Airport extreme. (At first I thought that the verizon fios modem/router i was using was complicating things.)
    For the security on the Extreme you have to select “WPA/WPA2 personal”
    The other WPA options won’t work.

  47. Airport Shuttle Service Tuesday, September 28, 2010



    Nice Post:
    new to mac, I have tried everything I can think of, and I can’t get things to work. I am using the 5.2.4 airport utility.

    let me know what you did to get things working?
    Mariya Martha

Comments have been disabled for this post