Posted on Thu - January 12, 2006

Fun with Airport Extreme

Since I have multiple computers, I think wireless networks are the best thing since internet access. The idea of having my laptop work anywhere in the house and not having to change things for the "main" computer is great. I've used Apple's Airport for years, and burned out two Graphite Base Stations (they had some heat dissipation issues).

Well, the last time that happened, I upgraded to an Airport Extreme because I wanted to be able to share one printer for multiple computers. And at the same time, I upgraded from dialup to a cable modem. Yes, it is possible to use dialup on a 802.11 network, it is just slow, but with only two or three computers it is not noticeably slower than regular dialup.

Everything has worked very well until I got too smart for my own good.

Tuesday Apple made some software upgrades available and for some reason after upgrading and rebooting, MaCei's keychain wouldn't recognize the Airport.

"No problem," I thought. "I just happen to have the passwords."

Except they were the passwords from the last Graphite Base Station, not the Extreme Base Station.

Lesson #1 - Always make sure your backup password file is current.

"Still no problem," I thought. "I'll just do a soft reset and manually enter new passwords."

Incidentally, a Palm stylus works very well to do the reset button.

So I did, and went back and clicked on the the Airport Status in the menu bar. Mistake, because the Airport hasn't had a chance to recycle. When there isn't an Airport Network and you try to find one, the Airport Status thing goes away.

And that is vitally important to remember, because without that little piece of software active, your Macintosh has no way of finding the Airport Network even if you had done a soft reset.

Lesson # 2 - If you can, make any changes on another computer BEFORE doing a reset on the Airport Base Station.

I didn't listen to this advice, and managed to do a hard reset before I realized it. The Palm stylus works REALLY WELL on the reset button, and I was still waking up after a nap.

So now I am frustrated and I break out Artus my iBook. It sort of finds the network, but before I realize it, I have managed to make the Airport Status thing disappear there too.

It wasn't until I went to somewhere else with Artus that I realized I needed to reboot to get the Airport Status back. And from there, it was easy to put in the new passwords.

Lesson # 3 - Make sure you backup your Airport configuration, you never know when you might need it again (that part I did right).

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