New Airport Extreme/Express update today

47 Comments

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.

47 Comments

David Scott

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.

David Scott

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.

David Scott

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.

David Scott

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.

Billy Halsey

@ 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?

David Scott

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.)

Billy Halsey

@ 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.

Jamey Lamar

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?

Nate Morphew

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

Ethan

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?

Billy Halsey

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!

Olle

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

bv

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 ?

Billy Halsey

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 →

bv

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)

Sat Jagat Singh

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.

Billy Halsey

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.

bv

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 ?

umijin

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.

Billy Halsey

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.

umijin

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?

bv

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

Paul Taylor

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.

Matt Radel

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…

Billy Halsey

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.

Marco

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.

Honza

>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.

Billy Halsey

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?

umijin

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.

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