More AirPort nightmares

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 26th, 2004 • 8:24 am

I am not having a good time with my hardware these days.

First of all, after much more fiddling with settings and what not, I have come to the conclusion that, in my setup at least, Panther is unable to operate a so-called “roaming network”. I have already described my various attempts to try and make things work properly, with limited success.

I am able to use one AirPort Base Station to connect to the Internet via its modem, and share the dial-up connection with a combination of wireless and wired devices. (The wired devices are connected to an Ethernet hub connected to the AirPort Base Station.) Today I tried to revive my second AirPort Base Station, which is located in the other half of the house and connected to the first one through a long Ethernet wire that goes through the attic.

Supposedly in order to do this, you need to set the main Base Station to “Distribute IP addresses” using only DHCP (and not NAT), by sharing a range of internal IP addresses. (The Base Station itself is and I use it to share to But if I try to do that, I get an error message saying that “Sharing a range of DHCP addresses requires the base station to be configured using Ethernet and static IP addresses.” Well, I’ve tried that, by connecting my computer to the Ethernet hub, and giving it a static address ( It doesn’t make any difference. I still get the error message.

So I’ve reverted back to using the first option in AirPort Admin Util, which is to “Share a single IP address (using DHCP and NAT).” I guess that’s what I am supposed to be doing, since it works.

Well, it works with this Base Station. But if I set the other Base Station to use the same network name, and assign it the IP address, I get a very strange behavior. If I go sit right next to that other Base Station in the other half of the house, things work fine. The Internet Connect application has the right network name and says that the AirPort status is “Connected to the Internet via the Modem” (which is correct), and the AirPort signal status is almost 100%, indicating clearly that the Base Station next to which I am sitting is acting as a transparent relay to the main one, which is the one that is connected to the Internet (but is too far away to get a decent signal on the TiBook).

But then if I just go about 6 feet away from the relay Base Station, the status in Internet Connect changes to simply the network name, with no status. And the connection to the network is lost. From 6 feet away! If I fiddle with the Network settings in System Preferences by changing the AirPort network setting from “Automatic” to the specific network name, the computer actually picks up the faint signal coming from the other Base Station. It’s as if the Base Station right in front of me didn’t exist!

This is nightmarish. I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve done everything by the book. I’ve tried resetting both Base Stations. I never had any problems in Jaguar. Which is why I suspect that Panther is the culprit — unless it’s the very latest AirPort software update. (I can’t remember exactly when these problems started.)

I am at a loss. I have already wasted tons of time. Right now, I have to restrict myself to only using the TiBook in one half of the house. This is painful. This is not wireless computing for the rest of us. And I strongly suspect Panther.

2 Responses to “More AirPort nightmares”

  1. Jason Buscema says:

    I’ve still having Airport nightmares… which is only affecting the Panther clients. I can’t figure it out and am at the point of completely removing the Airport network (5 stations) from the office and forcing everyone to go wired. I can’t waste anymore time on it. I’ve spent probably 100hrs trying to troubleshoot and figure it out, with no solution in sight. I’ve called Apple and they blame it on 2.4Ghz wireless phones… of which I have none anymore.

    I’m at home now using a graphite BS 10 feet away. All is good, but at some point today mysignal will drop completely and I will have to restart to get the BS to show up again. This is just insane. My friend has the same AlBook with Panther and uses a DLink access point w/ no problems. I talked to a buddy at Apple and he said his team uses Linksys instead of Airport cus of the issues with it. This is kinda big news to me. Perhaps I should test some other access points vs the Airport and if they work. But what if its the Airport card in my PBook that is also affected?

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    I honestly don’t think it’s a hardware issue. I never had any problems prior to installing Panther. I am convinced that it’s a software issue with Panther and Apple’s Base Stations.

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