Tag Archives: airport extreme

It just stopped…

Airport Express

My Airport Express working. Actually what happened was my TV which was connected to the Airport Express by wire couldn’t access the internet (so no BBC iPlayer for me then).

What I couldn’t fathom out was why it had stopped working, as I hadn’t done anything, I hadn’t done any updating, no re-configuration or changed any wires.

It was still broadcasting the SSID, so I first checked the wireless, devices connected to the Airport Express fine, however they got no internet access.

First did a hard reboot of the Airport Express, that didn’t work. So I did try and reboot the router and that didn’t work either. I was using a static IP address with the Airport Express, so I changed that to dynamic and the Airport Express ended up with a 169 IP address, a self-assigned address. So it wasn’t getting an IP address from the router, so I rebooted the router. No joy there.

The Airport Express isn’t directly connected to the router, it’s connected to an Airport Extreme which in turn is connected to the router. The reason is that there wasn’t a spare ethernet port on the router when I added the Airport Express to the network.

In the end I changed the ethernet port it was connected to on the Airport Extreme and guess what? Yes it all started working! So there was nothing wrong with the Airport Express, it was something else; the ethernet port on the Airport Extreme.

I have no idea why the ethernet port stopped working on the Airport Extreme. Well my network’s working now.

ADSL Modem Woes

I have now been back on ADSL for six months and it’s not been a smooth ride. I moved house in June and as a result my phone line was linked to a different cabinet, even though it was the same exchange. The exchange was upgraded for FTTC, but the cabinet I was connected to wasn’t part of the upgrade plan. As a result I was booted back down to an ADSL internet connection.

My connection is certainly better than the one I had just before I moved onto FTTC. What I have noticed is two things, firstly, the connection goes down a lot more than it ever did on FTTC. Now this could be the connection, but I am slightly suspicious that the fault lies with the Netgear ADSL Modem/Router I am using rather than an issue with the connection itself.

Netgear DGN1000 Wireless-N150 ADSL Modem Router

This is reinforced with the second thing I have noticed. When we’ve had a power cut (or as I did the other day turn off the power to do some electrical work) it seems to be really problematic to get the three Apple Airport base stations I have back up and running. After reconfiguring the base stations and failing, I did a software reboot of the Netgear Router through the admin screen (as opposed to turning the thing off and back on again) and this time the Airport wireless base stations did sort themselves out.

The main problem I was having with the Airport base stations was that they couldn’t get an IP address from the router through DHCP and when I gave them a static IP address, the DNS didn’t work as expected.

When I had FTTC, as it uses PPPoE I was able to use my Apple Airport base station as the main router for the home network. When I moved back to ADSL I needed to get a new ADSL Modem/Router that supported PPPoA. I did have one in the loft that I got out, but I think it was fried or just too old because I couldn’t get it to work or even configure it. So I went out and bought a Netgear ADSL Modem/Router from my local PCWorld. With hindsight this was probably a mistake!

After blaming ADSL for my lost connections I am now basically convinced that the fault is not with ADSL, but may well be with the Modem/Router. The issue with the DHCP is I think a separate but connected issue.

As a result I am thinking about getting a new ADSL Modem/Router, so do you have any suggestions?

Happy with the Airport Extreme

I am pleased with my new Airport Extreme which I recently installed to replace an unreliable old Airport Express. Since I installed it, it has remained up and broadcasting (and accessible) without any problems.

My old Airport Express, configured for legacy 802.11g devices, would often “disappear” from the network and even though it was still broadcasting, the Airport Express wouldn’t accept connections, nor could it be found via the Airport Admin Utility. As a result my 802.11g devices (such as the iPhone) wouldn’t be able to connect to the network and wouldn’t be able to stream video or download stuff. My main challenge was with my wireless Canon printer which was 802.11g and not been able to print was very annoying. It got to the point where the Airport Express was failing on a daily basis and needed to be unplugged and plugged back in again.

I did consider replacing the Airport Express with the new 802.11n Airport Express, but having had two Expresses go on me, I decided to stump the extra cash and get an Airport Extreme. I had a few reasons, the main was that if my existing Airport Extreme failed I had a replacement on hand. It comes with three ethernet ports and I can then have a few more wired gigabit ethernet devices on the network which is of course much faster than wireless and means more stable Skype and video streaming on more devices, as well as faster file transfers. I can also add a USB hard drive as network storage too.

I didn’t get a Time Capsule as they seemed to add very little to the equation, cost more money and have in my mind more things to go wrong.

So, so far I am pleased with the Extreme and it is doing what I need it to do.

“Replaced” my Airport Express


In Bristol yesterday I took the plunge and replaced my Airport Express. I have had ongoing issues with the Airport Express for a while now.

The main problem I was having with the Airport Express was that it just stopped working and then “vanishing” from the network. As a result it would need to be power cycled to get it working again. I have an Airport Express, even though I also have an Airport Extreme, as the Extreme is the router on my network, which broadcasts at 5GHz 802.11n. I use the Airport Express in 802.11b/g mode for legacy and mobile devices.

The reason for two wireless networks is that the 802.11n network can work at the full 300Mbps speed, whilst legacy and mobile devices will work just fine on a slower network. If I had a single wireless network it would be “slow” for all devices. This usually isn’t too much of a problem, however I do stream video across my network, and when I use to do this in the past (with standard definition video) on an 802.11g network, I found that due to network congestion I would get buffering which was annoying. iPlayer wouldn’t work either very well over the wireless. With 802.11n I can stream high definition video easily across the network to my Apple TV or my iPad. It also works well in moving large files across the network. 802.11n also makes much more sense when using FTTC (fibre) for internet with its higher speeds.

Looking back I did write something similar about the older Airport Express it replaced. Part of me thinks that there may be an underlying technological reason or flaw for the constant failures of the Express on my network. I am wondering if the setup I have is the problem and there is a flaw in the Airport Express in bridge mode which means that it “vanishes” now and again. I can’t see why and I’ve not always had this problem. Looking at dates I am now wondering if the move to FTTC was the issue, at that point I configured the Airport Extreme for PPPoE whereas before it was a bridge with an ageing Netgear ADSL Modem acting as the DHCP router using PPPoA. However as I can’t turn off PPPoE not sure if that is a road worth going down. Also the Airport Express is about six years old.

I did consider replacing it with the new 802.11n Airport Express, but having had two Expresses go on me, I decided to stump the extra cash and get an Airport Extreme. I had a few reasons, the main was that if my existing Airport Extreme failed I had a replacement on hand. It comes with three ethernet ports and I can then have a few more wired gigabit ethernet devices on the network which is of course much faster than wireless and means more stable Skype and video streaming on more devices, as well as faster file transfers. I can also add a USB hard drive as network storage too.

I didn’t get a Time Capsule as they seemed to add very little to the equation, cost more money and have in my mind more things to go wrong.

Have not yet replaced the Express at this time, so the Extreme is still shrink-wrapped.

Connectivity Issues

For the first time in ages my internet fell over. I can’t actually recall the last time it did something like this.

The first I knew about it was a web page failing to load on my MacBook. I assumed at first it was the website… then I checked the MacBook and noticed an Airport issue. I then opened the Airport Utility to find that my Airport Extreme was having a few problems and showing an orange light in the utility. I found though I could restart it from the Utility, which told me that it was very likely not going to be the problem. Generally if I have an issue with the Airport Extreme, the only real solution is a hard reboot, i.e. turning it off and back on again.

In the end the problem I decided must lie with the Modem, so I unplugged it, counted to ten and then plugged it back in again. Within about 30 seconds all was back to normal and I could surf the web without any problems. Not sure of the reason for the failure, probably either an issue with my ISP, or an issue with BT. However as I said it happens very rarely and I think this is only the second time since I had FTTC installed that the connection has gone down. No real concerns, as rebooting the modem has fixed the issue. Will make a note though just in case (this is it, this blog post).