Airport Distress
October 8, 2008 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Airport Express and my iMac don't get along. My iBook works fine. What's wrong?

I have an airport express base station. About a fortnight ago, my iMac (G5 1.8ghz, 10.5.5) decided it wanted to be difficult and only connect to the internet when it wanted to. I've tried a load of things: done the permissions business... reset the airport express... turned the IPv6 thing off... made sure the airport card was installed correctly... moved the computer to get better reception... used the network wizard in Safari... updated my airport firmware... turned the firewall off... Some of these tricks have worked -- just not permanently.

The little signal strength icon says I've got a good signal. The computer seems to have no problem finding the network. It just won't get me online. What's more, my iBook (10.4.11) is fine with connecting to the internet -- even from the exact same location!

What do I do? How do I get my iMac to pull itself together?
posted by popcassady to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How about a static IP, and DNS entries (use OpenDNS)?

If you're able to see and connect to the network, but can't get to the internet, I'd suspect DNS first.

However, if you're using a router hooked to the AE that is doing DHCP, and your AE is *also* doing DHCP, you could be running into conflicts where your laptop is getting an IP address from one that is outside the subnet range for the other, and is trying to use the wrong device as the gateway.

Now that I reread your question, I'm thinking that short term, intermittent access, then dying, points more to DHCP issues than to DNS. *shrug*

In summary:

1) Check to see if DHCP is running on both your router and your AE -- if it is, pick one, and turn the other off.

2) Set static DNS servers

3) Set a static IP address ("manually" in MacOS terms), as well as static gateway and subnet mask. Make sure you're using the right gateway address.

(My AE was pretty flaky for the first few weeks that I had it --- can't remember what I did to resolve it, since it seemed to just eventually start working properly after a similar laundry list of actions.)
posted by liquado at 11:40 AM on October 8, 2008

I think it's a bug in the last OS upgrade. I have wireless problems as well, just like you describe, off and on with no pattern.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:54 AM on October 8, 2008

Here another one with Airport Extreme problems since a couple of weeks. Freezing apps, beach-balling when trying to open anything that had to do with the network. Restarting the Airport Extreme (by disconnecting the power) usually fixed things temporarily

After lot of tries I think I've solved it though.

Here's what I did:

1) I've set openDNS DNS servers ( and in the Airport Extreme with Airport Utility in the Internet pane, in the Internet Connection or PPoE tabs. Restart the Airport base station.
2) Make sure that, on your Mac in Network Preferences, there is nothing entered in the DNS tab of the Airport pane. After connection to the base station there will be, in grey, the router's IP address ( or or, depending on what DHCP range was chosen)
3) There is no step three

Hope this helps for you as well.
posted by maremare at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2008

Response by poster: I turned DHCP off on the base station. Thus far, things are looking up.
posted by popcassady at 3:41 PM on October 8, 2008

Response by poster: Two days later, things are back to square one. Perhaps it is a bug. But if so, why no patch from Apple?
posted by popcassady at 8:07 AM on October 10, 2008

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