Network problems with Mac OS X 10.4: It started with Mac OS X 10.4.4

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 11th, 2006 • 8:54 am

Here’s a quick update on my on-going networking problems with Mac OS X 10.4.

As indicated in a previous post, ten days ago I reverted back to Mac OS X 10.4.3 on my G5 Quad. I figured I would run with that system version for a week and make sure the problem did not happen.

Sure enough, as expected, the problem did not occur. So after a week, I updated my G5 Quad to Mac OS X 10.4.4. That was on Friday night.

Yesterday morning, i.e. on Monday morning, a little over 48 hours after I had done the update, the problem occurred again. The symptoms were similar to previous occurrences. All of a sudden, the time display in the AirPort menu extra on the right-hand side of the menu bar disappeared, indicating that the internal modem in the AirPort base station had lost its dial-up connection to the Internet.

I opened Internet Connect and reestablished the connection. The time display came back and Mac OS X looked like it was connected to the Internet, but most Internet applications did not work. I was unable to visit any web pages with Safari or any other browser. The process would just time out after a while, with Safari (or the other browser) telling that I wasn’t connected to the Internet, when I very clearly was.

Strangely enough, this time, Mail still seemed to be able to check my mail in most of my POP e-mail accounts (although I didn’t have any new mail at that time). It wasn’t able to connect to my IMAP account with AOL, however. As well, Speed Download 3 was still able to continue with one low-bandwidth download that I had running the background, but not with the other one. (I had two low-bandwidth downloads happening at the time the network failure occurred.)

So, once again, I had similar symptoms, with most Internet applications failing, but not all of them.

As usual, I power-cycled my AirPort base station and unplugged the Ethernet hub, which I left disconnected for a bit. I reconnected the modem inside the base station to my provider via Internet Connect, and things were back to normal on the G5 Quad. I reconnected the hub (with connections to my networked printers) a little while later, and things were back to normal there as well.

So the conclusion here is clearly that the problem started with Mac OS X 10.4.4, and not with Mac OS X 10.4.5.

Now, the other question is whether Mac OS X 10.4.6 fixes the problem. This is what I am trying to determine now. I applied the Mac OS X 10.4.6 combo updater to my G5 Quad, and I am now going to wait and see what happens in the next few days. If the problem does not reoccur within a week, the conclusion would be that the problem was fixed by Apple in Mac OS X. If the problem does reoccur (as I suspect it will), then the conclusion is that the problem introduced by 10.4.4 has not been fixed and is still there in 10.4.6.

It will then be time to send yet another bug report to Apple. And then I’ll have to decide whether I can live with the problem (which probably will not be fixed by Apple any time soon, if ever, unless more people send bug reports like mine) or want to revert to Mac OS X 10.4.3 for good.

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