Simon Fell > Its just code > Airport Extreme(ly annoying)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What happens when "It just works" is "It just randomly causes network problems"? This sordid tale is largely here to help any other poor soul who runs into this problem. My old, dusty and cranky Linksys WAP11 access point finally died on me today, can't grumble too much, it lasted at least 4 years by my count. So i picked up an Airport Extreme on the basis that it stands the best chance of "it just works" with my home network which is being slowly over run with Apple devices. I ran through the firmware update and configuration fine, and it would work for 5-10 minutes, then things on the wireless network would start failing with problems that were related to DNS lookups, weirdly, from the laptop I could ping random devices including the router, but not the windows box that runs DHCP and DNS. Even stranger i noticed that my desktop would fail in exactly the same way at the same time, I though perhaps that the airport extreme didn't like my Netgear gigabit switch, so I swapped that out for an old hub, but that made no different, reboot the extreme, work for 5-10 minutes, start randomly killing traffic, work for a while, kill some more traffic. After a few hours of carefully looking at all the options in the airport extreme setup, trying different combinations of hub, router and extreme connections, trawling google and the apple support site I was still having the same problem. Finally, largely at random I flipped the "Ethernet WAN Port" setting from "Automatic" to "100Mbs/Full duplex", and fingers crossed, so far this seems to have fixed the problem. Meh, over 3 hours for what should of been a 10 minute job.