Network failure in 10.4.4 or higher: Also affects networks with AirPort Extreme Base Station

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 27th, 2006 • 1:17 pm

This is just a quick update on the network failure problems introduced by the 10.4.4 system update and still unresolved as of Mac OS X 10.4.6.

As regular Betalogue readers know, for unrelated reasons I replaced my trusty old AirPort Base Station (Graphite) with a new AirPort Extreme Base Station (with built-in dial-up modem) as my main network router a couple of weeks ago.

After that switch, I noticed that I was no longer getting the regular network failures that were introduced by the Mac OS X 10.4.4 update and are now a “known issue” that Apple appears to be investigating.

Well, that lasted for two weeks. But today the same problem occurred again. As usual, after 48 hours, my dial-up ISP disconnected me. The AirPort Extreme Base Station automatically redialed and re-established the connection. But after that most of my Internet applications appeared unable to “see” the Internet connection. Mail was unable to send or receive mail, Safari would report that I was not connected to the Internet, etc. Only Speed Download 4 was able to continue with a download that was already in progress in the background.

In other words, the symptoms were the same as with the older Graphite base station.

The difference here was that I was able to clear the problem by simply manually disconnecting the dial-up modem inside the AirPort Extreme Base Station and reconnecting it. After that, things were back to normal. (With the Graphite base station, this wouldn’t work. I had to power-cycle both the base station and my Ethernet hub, sometimes more than once, in order to clear the problem.)

The other difference is, of course, that this is the first time that it has happened in over two weeks. With the Graphite base station, I would get the problem at least two or three times a week.

This probably helps explain why Apple didn’t notice the problem earlier. But it also confirms that it’s a problem in the system software itself that is pretty much hardware-independent. (People have been experiencing the problem with non-Apple wireless routers as well.)

Let’s just hope that the problem will be fixed for good in a system update soon.

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