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Monday, May 18th, 2009

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Apple Airport bafflement
So, our Airport base station (Airport Extreme with 802.11n, running software version 7.4.1) is having some troubles. Or people are having troubles with it. Or something.

One of the troubles is that my Dell laptop has trouble getting a network address from it, nearly all of the time; it takes so long that usually the little pop-up box for "Network has limited connectivity" pops up, and then a few seconds later it actually gets an address. (Once it's connected, though, it generally works quite well, without any further issues.) This seems to happen to a lot of other people, too. But it's been doing that since I brought it home; that's not really the baffling thing -- though, if there were a way to fix that, I'd be happy.

The baffling thing, though, is that in the past couple of weeks or so, suzanne's Macbook has been having trouble connecting to it. This isn't just the network-address issue; once her computer has connected, it says the signal strength is something like 3 out of 10, with the base station 15 feet away and transmitting at 100% power. (Contrast this to the Airport at her office, which it apparently gets excellent signal strength from despite much farther distances. Also contrast this to my Dell, which says the signal strength is "Excellent".)

I am not sure if this timing is correlated with when I did a firmware update on the Airport or not; I think it may have been. I did another update a few days ago, which appears to have fixed some issues that I was having with flaky connectivity (dropped packets, etc.) in my laptop, but Suzi's is still having problems.

Any ideas? Perhaps some new setting that I ought to set differently, or something like that?

Edit: rosefox suggested that I had the wireless mode set wrong (it wasn't doing the "802.11b/g compatible" bits), and that fixed suzanne's problems. It's still taking ages to get a network address on my Dell laptop, though, so I'm leaving this up in hopes of ideas for that....

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