In the beginning was the command line..

Apple Airports Crash

, posted: 31-Jul-2006 19:17

At first I thought it was me, or my fault for doing something daft. After finding no fault in the configuration of the network or Airports themselves I RMA'd the Airport Extreme I thought was faulty. But then the other ones crashed! Oh crap! Eventually the problem revealed itself, Apple Airports do not support 802.1d

"What" I hear you say, is 802.1d? First of all, MAC bridges are devices that forward Ethernet frames from one interface to another, ie from wired to wireless LANs. 802.1d was first conceived in 1990 to address issues that occur when connecting MAC bridges together. The Airport basestations, and most wireless access-points are MAC bridges. In particular, what happens when you have multiple MAC bridges connected to a central ethernet switch or hub and a node (node is a MAC address in this example) roams from one MAC bridge to another? Welp, the first MAC bridge will think it can address the node, aswell as the MAC bridge our node has roamed into and the central ethernet switch/hub will have two ports it thinks our node is active on which breaks things in spectacular style on most, if not all ethernet switches. 802.1d addresses this problem by defining that MAC bridges communicate with one-another to ensure no MAC bridge competes with another over which nodes it can address, so as not to confuse ethernet infrastructures.

Using NAT and DHCP on the Airports makes the problem goes away. But what an ugly fix that is! My $70 Taiwanese wireless access point support 802.1d, why can't an Airport that costs US$200 ??!!

To Apple: No Im not happy, but Im not angry or violent either, so I blog about how crap Airports are. Add 802.1d to your next firmware or lose market-share to Linux-based products. It really is that simple.

Other related posts:
Microsoft giving away "pengiun wings" at LinuxWorld 2006
Free compiler for PocketPC

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barf's profile

Stuart MacIntosh
New Zealand

Hello world.