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?