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Apple Airport Basestations still broken

, posted: 29-Sep-2006 17:15

My previous post about Apple Airport Extreme basestations was slightly incorrect. The problem is more serious than a simple lack of 802.1d!

I have been in contact with network administrators in my region aswell as admins from the USA and Canada, who are all experiencing what seems to be the same issue with this (dodgy) product. Since my last post I have done alot of packet sniffing to try and determine the cause of the fault in the Airports (no its not RF interference or a configuration issue). But there is no obvious external cause of failure - they just 'die'.

Here is an excerpt from the email I sent to Apple about this:
--- cut ---
Anomalies are apparent after captured packet #591 in the aforementioned
file. After this packet, the Airport basestation xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx fails
to respond to an 802.11 management frame known as a probe request. In
normal 802.11 operation this broadcast packet is replied to with a
unicast probe response after which encryption can be established. It
should be noted that this failure will only intermittently occur when 3
or more Airport basestations are connected to the same ethernet,
indiscriminate to LAN or WAN port, share the same SSID in a roaming
configuration, non-WDS and also indiscriminate to being in NAT or Bridge
mode of operation.
--- cut ---

So at least it's just not me having these problems. I hope Apple's engineers have a reliable coffee machine!

This is what the fault looks like:
--- cut ---
No. Time Source Destination Protocol Info
584 145.176542 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=711,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
585 145.281799 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=712,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
586 145.386767 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=713,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
588 145.877374 AppleCom_ba:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Probe Request,SN=0,FN=0, SSID: Broadcast
589 147.016427 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=729,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
590 147.038569 AppleCom_ba:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Probe Request,SN=3,FN=0, SSID: Broadcast
591 147.039428 AppleCom_ba:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Probe Request,SN=4,FN=0, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
592 147.121281 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=730,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
593 147.242069 AppleCom_ba:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Probe Request,SN=7,FN=0, SSID: Broadcast
594 147.242198 AppleCom_ba:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Probe Request,SN=8,FN=0, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
595 147.526417 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=734,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
596 147.731456 AppleCom_22:xx:xx Broadcast IEEE 802.11 Beacon frame,SN=736,FN=0,BI=100, SSID: "SSID REMOVED"
--- cut ---

Notice the beacon frames are transmitted although the base station is not responding to probe requests! I can only assume this is a problem with the firmware of the Airports.

Get it sorted Apple; you've had months to fix this. Now it is my duty to tell others to not buy Airport basestations. Not just because they cost as much as it would to feed a 3rd world child for a year, but they break when you use 3 or more of them!



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Stuart MacIntosh
Clarkville
New Zealand


Hello world.