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Feedback/Tips on Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n Base Firmware Updates
Reports last Updated: 4/11/2007
Updated 8/29/2007 for 7.2.1 Firmware Update info/feedback



7.2.1 Firmware Update: On Aug. 29th Apple released v7.2.1 firmware (w/Draft 2.0 and security fixes). See this page for info and reader feedback.

This page has user feedback and tips on initial Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n Base Firmware Updates, including notes/tips on Double NAT errors. Here's a copy of the info on the 7.1.1 update, including security improvements.

(6/8/2007) Apple has released AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n Firmware 7.1.1

" About AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, Firmware 7.1.1
This update includes all fixes in Firmware 7.1 plus additional compatibility updates...
Firmware 7.1 provided improved Mac and Windows support for:
- Printers and Routers, VPN, PPPoE, WDS(ACL), WEP(TSN)
- Localized file naming, port mapping, IPv6, and NAS
- Improved stability with keychain passwords
- Improved support for third party applications saving files to a USB disk
- Improved support for AirPort USB disk stability and power saving, disk read/write performance, disk file sharing and passwords
- Addressed an issue where Base Station would not request a password when expected
...This update requires AirPort Utility 5.1."


(4/9/2007) Firmware 7.1 for AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station:

"What's New in this Version
This update includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n.

This update requires AirPort Utility 5.1. If you have AirPort Utility 5.0 installed, you can update to AirPort Utility 5.1 by installing AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001:
AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 for Mac
AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 for Windows

For detailed information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61798"

That doc is the Apple Security updates page, which links to the actual doc with info on the security content of the 7.1 firmware update ( http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305366) that has notes on addressing issues like allowing incoming IPv6 connections and "Filenames on a password-protected AirPort Disk may be viewable to users on the local network".

Reader Feedback on AE 7.1 Firmware: (later reports first) I don't own one of these bases but if you do and find this firmware improves (or breaks) anything, let me know the details. Thanks.

A follow-up from Alex that commented on Double NAT errors after the update:

(4/11/2007)
" Yeah! Thank you Garth. (see Garth's notes/tips yesterday) No more double NAT errors; I successfully removed my ActionTek router after releasing the DHCP (I had to dig a bit deep within the local configuration pages to find the release command). Now, as I always wanted, I removed my ActionTek and my AirPort Extreme is directly connected to the Verizon FIOS incoming Ethernet lead. I hope this does not cause any difficulties in the future??

(he later wrote)
BTW: I was warned by Apple techs before purchasing the new Extreme that the device does not let USB attached external drives spin down. This appears to be the case in my experience. Should I consider this normal? Is there anything to be done to change this behavior?

-Alex S."

Like a server's drive, normally you'd not want it to go to sleep, but in cases where you're not using it for hours (like overnight) can you use the Airport Disk Utility to unmount the drive and then turn it off?


(4/10/2007)
" I too received the Double Nat error and the blinking yellow. I did not have to go to Bridge Mode to resolve it. It was late last night, but I believe I enabled NAT port Mapping Protocol under the Internet tab.
(Like an earlier post) I too am using an ActionTec Router with Verizon FIOS.

I have not been able to reliably use a Brother MFC-8500 USB attached to the Base Station however. Whatever is in the print queue when I reset the Extreme will flush and print, but otherwise I get a 'Network Busy, will retry in XX seconds' error on any further Bonjour print attempts. It worked just fine and consistently prior to the Firmware change.
Additionally, two Airport Expresses that stream iTunes to other portions of the house works fine as before. This is all under 10.4.8
Thanks, ~S "

(See below for earlier reports/notes/tips on Double NAT.)


Using MiniStack Drive's USB Hub for Printer Sharing:
A NewerTech Ministack user initially said he had problems with a printer connected to the Ministack's USB hub being recognized when the Ministack was connected to the AE base's USB port. He later sent a follow-up that it's working now for printer sharing:

(4/10/2007)
" I have it working.
1) I had the printers working when connected directly to the mac.
2) I had them working when connected to a Belkin USB hub connected to the Mac.
3) I had them working when connected to the Belkin USB hub connected to the 802.11n Airport Extreme (firmware updated yesterday)
4) I had difficulty getting the Airport Extreme (and by extension, my Macs) to see the printers when connected to the ministack. After a series of power down and power ups, it seems to be working now.
Not sure if it matters, but there are three USB ports on the miniStack, and I have the printers now plugged into ports 1 and 3 (there is an empty port between them). All seems to be working now. We'll see how this continues through power ups, etc.

To recap, running a miniStack USB connected to an Airport Extreme 'N' with the latest software v7.1. miniStack has a 250GB drive in it.
Printers are Canon i860 and HP 5610 AIO (pain to set up, but thats another story). Connected to the Airport are: 1Mac Pro, 2 MacBooks (1 each g & n), AlPowerBook, TiVo adapter, and AppleTV.
Thanks for your help, Mike!
(name withheld by request) "

An earlier report from a user of a Minimate (same design as ministack) said just connecting the drive with the AE N base caused major problems. (Maybe a different bridge board version/revision? Don't know...)


(4/10/2007)
"I have the Airport Extreme (N) with the 5.1 Utility. I applied the firmware upgrade and the light never blinked or went to yellow. It was working fine before the upgrade, and it is working fine after the upgrade. I never had to reset the setup or do anything else. (in reply to one earlier report on having to reset the base to apply the firmware, although no other user had that problem)
I'm using the Airport Extreme with a Dual Core 2.66 Intel Xeon and a Mac Book.
-Hugh W. "


Problems with using Miconet Minimate Drive: (Minimate appears to be a clone of the MiniStack drive, which a reader used OK (see above), but this Minimate user said just connecting the drive to the AE base's USB port still causes problems:

(4/10/2007)
" It didn't fix any of the Air Disk problems I had. It still takes down the base station when I plug in an external drive and try to configure it.
(I asked for more details about the base "take down")
The light turns yellow and it disappears off the network. Even a hard wired mac can't see it. Neither in the airport menu or the setup program. Unplugging the drive and waiting a minute brings it back on line.
(Just for the record, what USB Drive used?)
Micronet Minimate (looks like a Ministack, with builtin USB and FW hubs.)
-Fred E. "

See above for a later report from a Ministack user that didn't note this problem and included notes on the USB hub working (finally) for Printer Sharing. Anyone else have this problem with other drives? (Is the bridge board/firmware revision used in the enclosure a factor?) The Mac 802.11n reports/tips page has previous reports (and benchmarks) with several USB cased drives (including cases with hardware RAID support, although performance is such that Mirroring would be the main benefit) that in general didn't note problems although there was one WD MyDisk user that reported a problem. (Other MyDisk users there said they didn't have a problem.) Apple has some USB drive/AE N base related docs - see below for a listing.


(4/10/2007)
" Just applied the (7.1 firmware) update to my new Extreme. I now get a "Double NAT" error and a flashing amber status light. My Extreme is connected to an ActionTec wireless router ("required" by Verizon FIOS). (FIOS doing NAT also? See notes below) I had no problems before this firmware update. I have checked the settings on the ActionTec, and all seems normal--standard DHCP doling out 192.168.x.x to my Extreme--the same scenario I used with my old setup consisting of an old Extreme and a cable modem. I could choose to ignore this problem in the setup AirPort Utility.
(he later wrote
Follow -up.
I am forced to go into Bridge mode--but I do not want to have my Verizon router handle the DHCP/NAT to my "home zone" --I rather have my new Extreme do that. I tried to connect my Extreme directly to the FIOS Ethernet (sans the ActionTek router), but that did not work.
-Alex S. "

(Note: See Alex's later report above after reading Garth's double Nat tips below.) Other user reports on the Double Nat error, followed by notes on causes and tips. (Another device/router present that's also doing NAT.)

(4/10/2007)
" I installed this (last night) and after the firmware installed, my base just went solid amber light, network was down. i reconfigured it, which consisted mainly of just saying 'ok' to everything as it remembered all of my options, and the network worked again, but there was a slowly blinking amber light still.
it told me i had a double NAT error, and that the WAN ethernet address was private and that it thinks i really want to configure as a bridge (i don't). i then told it to ignore this double NAT warning, and it now shows green light, but i assume i still have this phantom double NAT problem. But my network is working fine, so i just plan to ignore all of this unless you or a reader knows what's gone wrong.
(I asked if he had another router or device doing NAT present)
I have a modem, the Actiontec DSL Gateway. It is certainly the culprit according to the Airport Utility. The thing is, though, that nothing changed with that and before the update there were no Double NAT errors. Perhaps it just wasn't looking for/reporting them before.Y•either way, after i told it to ignore the double NAT the green light is on and the network has worked perfectly for about 18 hours.
-Paul "

(4/10/2007)
" hi there. i never had the double nat problem till the update.
software said to go to bridge mode so i did. is there something bad about bridge mode? i have a mac mini.
(I asked if he had another router, etc. in the setup)
yes a linksys rv016
-levytv"

A reader reply w/tips on the Double Nat error:

(4/10/2007)
" Hi Mike, I'm not running an Airport 'N'- but I have some notes on the double NAT.
For 'Alex S.' - I think the Apple is reporting the issue correctly. His ActionTec router which is sitting in front of the Apple WAN is already doing one NAT translation (1 real->many private IPs) and then the airport is doing it again (1 private IP->many (other subnet) private IPs).

This is exactly the situation I feared when i got my Fios hooked up this past Saturday. Double NATs will not behave well with some instance of IPSec/VPN or other similar tunneling. The airport is right, either it should be a bridge or the actiontec should be a bridge.

The good news is Alex can take the ActionTec out of the picture. The trick is that he needs to 'dhcp release' the WAN IP on the actiontec and then unplug the ethernet cord and plug it into the Airport, which should then be able to acquire a WAN IP.
I did this after the installation guy left and fios goes right into my dd-wrt buffalo AP just fine. (Note: See Alex's reply/thanks on this above)

The same might be true for Paul. (I asked, his post above is updated w/reply-Mike) I have seen many homes with two routers (the ISP supplied one and an aftermarket). There is alot of confusion out there around routing and firewalls, and IMO many of the ISP supplied routers should be replaced with aftermarket ones with proper firmware updates and support.
Best, Garth "


(4/10/2007)
" I tried using both the automatic 7.1 firmware upgrade in the Airport Utility app using the assistant, and the manual way in the app by clicking the "Upgrade to 7.1" button. Both failed saying "An error occurred while updating the base station firmware. Please make sure your AirPort base station is plugged in and in range of your computer or connected via Ethernet and try again. (32)". However, I have full signal and no internet problems.
(I asked if he was using the required Airport Utility v5.1)
Yeah, I am using 5.1. I just got it installed by restarting router by hand - even the Restart command in the app didn't work - even though it said the base station status was fine.
(I asked if he had seen the "Double Nat" error)
No - I just had the other error with the software restart and the upgrade to 7.1 feature.
-Karl "


(4/10/2007)
" Nothing seems broken; everything seems as functional as before. No performance bumps that I can see. My MacBook running Windows XP (via BootCamp) still can't connect on the -N side. (I've got an Airport Express running -G and the MacBook can connect to that just fine.)
-Chris "

I had asked Chris if he had installed the Win XP broadcom N drivers mentioned previously here and notes on WinXP wireless config (from a previous post) and he said he tried all that with no help - but I had forgotten about one of the recent additions to the Apple docs section of the Boot Camp page here on "Windows XP (SP2) unable to connect to 802.11n wireless router or AirPort Extreme (802.11n) Base Station" - it links to a Microsoft Hotfix for the issue. (Thanks to Ken for the reminder.)
NOTE: Chris later wrote this still didn't solve this problem.

I don't own one of these bases but if you do and find this firmware improves (or breaks) anything, let me know the details. Thanks.

Related Articles:
For other Mac 802.11n related user reports (with Airport Extreme N base/USB drive tests/benchmarks, 802.11n card upgrades, non-Apple 802.11n bases, etc.) see the Mac 802.11n reports/tips page. the Bottom of that page also has links/listings of Apple 802.11n related support docs that I've mirrored here also.

Apple Docs on 802.11N, Airport Extreme 802.11n Base:

  • Firmware 7.1 for AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station
  • About the Security Content of Firmware Update 7.1 for Airport Extreme 802.11n
  • Keeping your AirPort firmware up-to-date with AirPort Utility 5.1 or later
  • AirPort Extreme (N): USB storage device supported formats and protocols
  • AirPort Extreme (N): USB storage devices that use removable media are not supported
  • AirPort Extreme (N): Using attached USB storage device as a home directory is not recommended
  • AirPort Extreme (N): May incorrectly appear to be powered by a connected USB device
  • AirPort Extreme (N): USB storage volume does not appear in Airport Disk Utility or appears with an unexpected name
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n): WPA Personal password requested when associating via WEP (TSN)
  • AirPort Extreme (N): Configuring ports for Personal File Sharing and Windows File Sharing
  • Use AirPort Utility, only, to configure the AirPort Extreme (802.11n) base station
  • How to tell if 802.11n-enabling software is installed
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n Enabler requires AirPort Extreme Update (2007-001)
  • AirPort Extreme (N): TSN/WPA Windows clients may have connectivity issues
  • What is a Transitional Security Network (TSN)?
  • Apple's 802.11n page





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