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Airport Extreme stops working, needs reset almost daily

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm going gray from this problem, so I hope you Mac gods can help me.

My network has begun to fail regularly. 72 hours without a physical reset of the Airport Base station is now a miracle. What happens is this: I'll be working on my laptop, my Airport reception lines will gray out, and any efforts to rejoin the network will be met with a long delay, then "error joining the network." (For the record, I am mostly using a 10.4.8 OS X iBook G3, a desktop iMac G4, and a couple other computers in the house.) This network failure will affect every computer on our house network, and will happen no matter which computers are online (it could be--and often is--just me online).

On the base station itself, the center light is lit and solid. I see no indicators of dropped activity on my ADSL modem, either.

Initially, I thought this was a problem with my DSL provider (my phone company), since back in the stone ages of DSL, one would have to do a modem reset every half-year or so. The phone company had me change my filters on my lines, suggesting the problem was interference. No luck. They sent out a guy to measure my data strength on my lines and I'm getting very high data flow straight to the modem.

I then decided to test the Airport unit itself. My desktop is attached to the base station via Ethernet (it lacks an Airport internal card); when the network goes down like this, the desktop's Net connection will go down, too. The error I will get then is that I'm not connected to the Internet.

In my latest test, when my network grayed-out, I took the Ethernet cord off the Airport and plugged it directly into the desktop computer, completely cutting the Airport unit out of the network loop. I started my desktop up and the network was there, working. I did NOT reset the modem in this experiment.

I plugged the cord back into the Airport and looked again at my laptop--again, no ability to connect to my base station. (In fact, the base station does not even appear when you go to the Admin utility.)

The only way to get the Airport working again is to unplug the AE by hand (since you can't access the base station via the network), wait a few seconds, and start it up again.

I upgraded the firmware as of last night, but this problem has been going on for a few months now. The phone company guy suggested it was my ISP's fault, but given the base station's inability to be accessed when these gray-outs happen, I have my doubts.

For what it's worth, the gray-outs appear random but do tend to happen in the evenings. And I know my neighbor has a network, but his is on channel 6 and mine is on 10.

Please, can anybody give me any ideas on what to do next?
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leia1912 View Post

I'm going gray from this problem, so I hope you Mac gods can help me.

My network has begun to fail regularly. 72 hours without a physical reset of the Airport Base station is now a miracle. What happens is this: I'll be working on my laptop, my Airport reception lines will gray out, and any efforts to rejoin the network will be met with a long delay, then "error joining the network." (For the record, I am mostly using a 10.4.8 OS X iBook G3, a desktop iMac G4, and a couple other computers in the house.) This network failure will affect every computer on our house network, and will happen no matter which computers are online (it could be--and often is--just me online).

On the base station itself, the center light is lit and solid. I see no indicators of dropped activity on my ADSL modem, either.

Initially, I thought this was a problem with my DSL provider (my phone company), since back in the stone ages of DSL, one would have to do a modem reset every half-year or so. The phone company had me change my filters on my lines, suggesting the problem was interference. No luck. They sent out a guy to measure my data strength on my lines and I'm getting very high data flow straight to the modem.

I then decided to test the Airport unit itself. My desktop is attached to the base station via Ethernet (it lacks an Airport internal card); when the network goes down like this, the desktop's Net connection will go down, too. The error I will get then is that I'm not connected to the Internet.

In my latest test, when my network grayed-out, I took the Ethernet cord off the Airport and plugged it directly into the desktop computer, completely cutting the Airport unit out of the network loop. I started my desktop up and the network was there, working. I did NOT reset the modem in this experiment.

I plugged the cord back into the Airport and looked again at my laptop--again, no ability to connect to my base station. (In fact, the base station does not even appear when you go to the Admin utility.)

The only way to get the Airport working again is to unplug the AE by hand (since you can't access the base station via the network), wait a few seconds, and start it up again.

I upgraded the firmware as of last night, but this problem has been going on for a few months now. The phone company guy suggested it was my ISP's fault, but given the base station's inability to be accessed when these gray-outs happen, I have my doubts.

For what it's worth, the gray-outs appear random but do tend to happen in the evenings. And I know my neighbor has a network, but his is on channel 6 and mine is on 10.

Please, can anybody give me any ideas on what to do next?

Is your network password protected? Is your network at the top of the list in your laptop's "preferred" networks? Sometimes my PowerBook will try to connect to my neighbor's network, and then when I try to reconnect to mine, I have similar problems. Recommend setting a WEP password on the network and determining if your neighbor's network is password protected as well (if it isn't, your laptop may be trying to connect to it instead, and then recieving errors when tryng to return to yours).

I know this isn't a "technical" answer, but hopefully it will help!
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post #3 of 11
I have the same problem. I also had it with a snow base station. I then upgraded to Airport Extreme, which made it better. Now I have Airport Express in an apartment and it's terrible. It needs to be reset almost every day. I believe it is related to other networks. Whenever this one network is visible, it zaps my network until I restart it. Pain in my ass, and no one...I repeat no one has a solution.
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
RSHogg wrote:
Quote:
Is your network password protected? Is your network at the top of the list in your laptop's "preferred" networks? Sometimes my PowerBook will try to connect to my neighbor's network, and then when I try to reconnect to mine, I have similar problems. Recommend setting a WEP password on the network and determining if your neighbor's network is password protected as well (if it isn't, your laptop may be trying to connect to it instead, and then recieving errors when tryng to return to yours).

My network is password-protected and I believe my neighbor's isn't. (If I recall correctly, a friend griped to me about signal strength and then we realized he'd accidentally joined the linksys network next door.) I just double-checked to make sure my network is the top of my preferred network list, but I have dark suspicions that the problem isn't on the side of the laptop's configuration, just because the Internet goes down for all computers in the house.

SDW2001 writes:
Quote:
I have the same problem. I also had it with a snow base station. I then upgraded to Airport Extreme, which made it better. Now I have Airport Express in an apartment and it's terrible. It needs to be reset almost every day. I believe it is related to other networks. Whenever this one network is visible, it zaps my network until I restart it. Pain in my ass, and no one...I repeat no one has a solution.

I will not give up faith! This AE will not be my rotten Apple! I can't bear the shame of admitting to my PC-loving friends why I'm going downstairs to reset the AE, that there's a Mac product that's crap.

Your suggestion of other network interference is intriguing. My neighbor prior to this guy (no, I didn't kill off the original neighbor :P ) had a linksys network, too. And this situation did not occur. If it is the new neighbor's network, it has to be something special about this guy's network that is problematic.

Thank you guys for the input--I appreciate any thoughts you have.
post #5 of 11
I have the same problem. I spent an hour on the phone with an Apple tech this afternoon--complete disaster. (From now on I'm calling on weekends, when the tech guys are moonlighting)

My neighbor has linksys too, and isn't password protected. Are you suggesting the easiest route is being chosen? Is it possible to disable non-secure connections.

BTW, do you ever turn airport off? The apple guy suggested frequent ons and offs coiuld make things worse. I always thought it improved your connection, but he was suggestiing there was a cost in messed up preference settings.

PS Apple must be sabotaging existing airport systems, forcing us to upgrade to the new one!8)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leia1912 View Post

RSHogg wrote:

My network is password-protected and I believe my neighbor's isn't. (If I recall correctly, a friend griped to me about signal strength and then we realized he'd accidentally joined the linksys network next door.) I just double-checked to make sure my network is the top of my preferred network list, but I have dark suspicions that the problem isn't on the side of the laptop's configuration, just because the Internet goes down for all computers in the house.

SDW2001 writes:

I will not give up faith! This AE will not be my rotten Apple! I can't bear the shame of admitting to my PC-loving friends why I'm going downstairs to reset the AE, that there's a Mac product that's crap.

Your suggestion of other network interference is intriguing. My neighbor prior to this guy (no, I didn't kill off the original neighbor :P ) had a linksys network, too. And this situation did not occur. If it is the new neighbor's network, it has to be something special about this guy's network that is problematic.

Thank you guys for the input--I appreciate any thoughts you have.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, guys, I've got an idea here and I'm testing it.

According to a guy on this Apple forums thread (Airports Disappearing, the problem might be solved/alleviated by downgrading the firmware to a specific level. (He provides a link to the firmware on the page.) I've done this and I'm testing it--we shall see.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leia1912 View Post

Okay, guys, I've got an idea here and I'm testing it.

According to a guy on this Apple forums thread (Airports Disappearing, the problem might be solved/alleviated by downgrading the firmware to a specific level. (He provides a link to the firmware on the page.) I've done this and I'm testing it--we shall see.

Downgrading the firmware is not a good idea. The firmware upgrades address some serious security flaws. If anything, you need to be at the latest version of the firmware for your base station and the airport express card inside your computer.

Electrical interference is more than likely the issue for your problems as it does happen more in the evenings. Try turning on "Enable Interference Robustness" in the base station. Also play around with the frequency/channel to see if that helps. You might have to enable interference robustness on the client side as well. Don't use a wireless network without having at least WPA level security encryption enabled with a good password.
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, peeps, I have an update.

It is the 16th. On the 10th, I downgraded my firmware as suggested on the Apple link I provided above. (As I posted on the 11th.) I have not had to reset my Airport Extreme a *single* time since then, which is a display of stability I haven't seen since.....the fall? I would tentatively report, in other words, the culprit has been identified: it has to be a problem with the firmware updates since 5.5.1.

In regards the wisdom of downgrading the firmware: I agree it's not a great answer. In my situation, however, I'm not as alarmed as I would be, for others--I live with a very large private woods behind me and, of my neighbors, I've known them all for five years and up. (Most, to be frank, are quite elderly and not likely to start up a computer, let alone a network.) I feel relatively safe in this specific environment, with this set-up. If I lived in an apartment, or in closer proximity to other potential networks, run by other admins, I'd be more nervous about the potential for security issues. My big thing (in my current, very fortunate, setting) is I just want the damn network to run reliably, and it was failing miserably at the latest firmware upgrade.

I'll post again if this fails, but I feel like I'm on the right track here, based on the network's behavior.
post #9 of 11
Spend a few more days fiddling with all the different settings, and then when you realise that no matter you do it still doesn't fucking work, you'll be ready to accept that the AirPort Extreme base station is a P.O.S. that simply doesn't work.

I don't know if it's just some of them, or if they all have the same problems, but I've worked with a few now in different locations - and THEY JUST DON"T WORK. Between really weak signal levels, signal levels that go up and down like a yo-yo, and frequently being unable to connect the Macs to the base station, THEY JUST DON'T WORK.

When I tried the nasty little WiFi DSL modem that my telecoms company supplied I was only half surprised to notice that every Mac in the house displayed the full four-bar signal. And it's always a four-bar signal, 24/7 since I installed it five months ago. My little iMac, which never registered a signal with AirPort (even when I purchased an AirPort Express and configured it as a WDS) showed a four-bar signal as soon as I started using the new modem.

My advice, do yourself a favour and buy a Linksys... life's too short for AirPort Extreme.
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

Spend a few more days fiddling with all the different settings, and then when you realise that no matter you do it still doesn't fucking work, you'll be ready to accept that the AirPort Extreme base station is a P.O.S. that simply doesn't work.

I don't know if it's just some of them, or if they all have the same problems, but I've worked with a few now – in different locations - and THEY JUST DON"T WORK. Between really weak signal levels, signal levels that go up and down like a yo-yo, and frequently being unable to connect the Macs to the base station, THEY JUST DON'T WORK.

When I tried the nasty little WiFi DSL modem that my telecoms company supplied I was only half surprised to notice that every Mac in the house displayed the full four-bar signal. And it's always a four-bar signal, 24/7 since I installed it five months ago. My little iMac, which never registered a signal with AirPort (even when I purchased an AirPort Express and configured it as a WDS) showed a four-bar signal as soon as I started using the new modem.

My advice, do yourself a favour and buy a Linksys... life's too short for AirPort Extreme.

Funny, I had similar problems with my Linksys, until I got my AirPort Express.
post #11 of 11

seems as if these "updates" that apple sends out and suggest that you "install automatically" are meant to do one thing...and its not to fix security risks as they tell you....but to make sure that your router dies....and you have to buy a new one. I mean isn't it obvious???? I've searched far and wide and downgrading is the only solution i've found that works.

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