Running Out of Patience
October 23, 2006 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Please help me with my Airport Express network! There is lots and lots

Posted on behalf of rossination (who wasted his question on something stupid):

We have a [Comcast] cable internet connection that is being shared by 6 laptops in two adjacent apartments. The modem is connected to an Airport Express which is situated such that in pretty much any corner of either apartment, no laptop is more than 75 feet away, tops (it's probably more like 50 feet).

There are 3 laptops in each apartment; 5 of them are PCs and one (mine) is a Mac. The 3 PCs in the apartment with the router can all connect fine, and my Mac has no problem whatsoever talking to its like-branded router. However, my two roommates can't connect to the network. Windows tells them "waiting for network to be ready", then stops and says "not connected". Once in a while, it will actually connect, but disconnect within 2 minutes, or it will say that its connected but webpages won't load (the network shows up in both of their lists of "available networks", with full bars, 54 mbps speed, etc.).

What can I do to fix this? I know that the web is full of people asking this same question, but they all seem to be "resolved" by reinstalling Windows, or changing cable companies, or something similarly drastic. It seems like there should be some sort of easy, simple fix for this.

Here are a couple of things that I've tried, based on some searches of AskMe and Apple Support Forum archives:
--> tried changing the channel to 11 (which is the one that, according to iStumbler, is the furthest away from some of the other networks).
--> turned on "Interference Robustness" in the Airport Admin (there are tons and tons of wifi networks around - we are in Seattle's University District).
--> Additionally, the firmware for the APE was updated about 6 months ago.
posted by folara to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
How are you having them authenticate to the network? WPA?

I bet that you have it set up so that it is authorizing the macs on the network because it is recognizing their airport IDs... while the PCs don't have it?

If this is not the case, encourage the PC users to update their drivers for their wireless cards.
posted by k8t at 9:38 PM on October 23, 2006

k8t, what do you mean? Right now we have a WEP encryption, which I understand to be more or less useless as far as security goes. I intended to change over to WPA once we got the rest of this crap figured out.
posted by rossination at 9:51 PM on October 23, 2006

Okay... so, go into your Airport express settings and (I think) the 4th tab over has a list of Apple computers' Airport ID numbers... erase all of those out of the list.

Then go into your 1st tab and switch your settings to WPA AND change the name of the network to something else (so that you don't have to worry about both the PCs and the Macs trying to connect to the network with some old settings saved).

Try to connect with a mac, then with a PC and see what happens.
posted by k8t at 9:58 PM on October 23, 2006

PS, just my 2 cents here, but I find Linksys brand routers significantly easier to configure, especially because of that setting that allows for authentication based on Airport ID.
posted by k8t at 10:00 PM on October 23, 2006

Have you tried using the mac in the physical location where the PCs usually connect from? Do the PCs' wireless cards report signal strength? This could be a signal strength issue, still. If so, another access point can be used to bridge to the first one.

The fact that only 2 of the 5 PCs cannot connect, or can but only for a short amount of time, indicates that the problem is probably not the airport configuration, and may not even be in software at all.
posted by cotterpin at 8:44 AM on October 24, 2006

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