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Airport 802.11n Base Firmware 7.2.1 User Feedback/Tips
Reports last Updated: 10/4/2007



(From the 8/29/2007 news page)
"About AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n* Firmware 7.2.1
The AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n* and Firmware 7.2.1 is Wi-Fi certified for 802.11n* draft 2.0. This update also includes bug fixes and security updates.

This update requires AirPort Utility 5.1 or later. If you have AirPort Utility 5.0 installed, you can update to AirPort Utility 5.2.1 by installing AirPort Base Station Update 2007-002:
AirPort Base Station Update 2007-002 for Mac
AirPort Base Station Update 2007-002 for Windows

AirPort Utility 5.x can be installed using the installation CD included with the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n*.

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

That link is to Apple's page of security updates info. It's not yet at the above page as of Thur. AM, but I found the doc About the security content of AirPort 802.11n Base Firmware 7.2.1.

Reader Reports: (later reports first)
If you apply this firmware update, let me know if you see any improvements/benefits or issues with your specific network.

(10/4/2007)
"Re: Base Station AirDisk Problems
Have them go into the keychain and delete the stored password for the base station and airport disk.
that solved my problems right away.
(I asked if he had both network/base access and AirDisk problems)
Yupe! The new (n) Gigabit version and the orginal (n) version. Both have Air Disks and both had to be treated this way.

What I think is the keychain entry is not based upon a mac address or ip address basis but some other value(s) that can become mismatched when such an update occurs (I'm betting that to avoid spoofing, they add a number of values together to form the access entry).
-Jim "


(10/3/2007)
"AE 802.11N firmware 7.2.1 feedback
This last update has also caused me to lose my external HD, I did a hard reset updated again etc.... still not able to mount the HD to my desktop.!!!
(No name given)"

Try some of the tips here previously (i.e. repair drive with direct Mac connect, or revert to previous firmware version) - or Jim's keychain tip above. (I would have replied via email with this but the reader sent it from a "reservations" email acct at a hotel.)


(9/7/2007)
"I have lost the ability to share my external USB harddrive. I used to see it on my desktop but now it has disappeared and nothing I have done has restored it. (Assuming you tried base resets, cycling power, verifying settings, etc.) When I click on "disks", it appears to list it but it says 0 users... Strange how an upgrade would downgrade the machine usability. If there is any advice how to restore the USB disk to the desktop via the Air Extreme, I would appreciate it.
(PS when I connect directly to my Mac, the disk works fine and the printer that is connected via the Air Extreme port works fine.)

(Did you try the tips reported here previously? i.e. Try a disk repair with a direct mac connection (helped 2 readers), or the most common solution it seems - reverting to the previous firmware version.-Mike)
Great! Thanks very much. I reverted back to 7.1.1 and that did it.
Thanks Raul "


(9/5/2007 - updated w/reply on Direct Connect Disk repair)
"An update to my firmware 7.2.1 upgrade saga. At first all was well then after two days the Airdisk (MyBook) went off line. Then an alert telling me it was available click OK, followed by bad password re-imput, password same error. restarted Airport and computer repeated.

So after updating to the last firmware version for my Airport Extreme (7.2.1) the MyBook USB hard drive which had worked perfectly until that point disconnected and will no longer mount giving a error of wrong password. After spending two days resetting the Airport I replaced the MyBook with a spare external hard drive I had setting around. I reset the Airport and that replacement hard drive showed up and has been working fine ever since.
Even though I have heard reports of this happening it was kind of a surprise to have mine fail after the firmware update. I had been running the MyBook since the Airport first came out with few problems.

(Tried connecting the drive to a Mac USB port and checking/repairing the disk?
(one reader here earlier noted using DiskWarrior for repairing a drive after seeing Airdisk problems and it helped.)
Some others have also reverted back to a previous firmware version.-Mike
)
I connected the drive to my G5 tower and ran DiskWarrior, it found lots of little problems so I told it to replace the directory. When I reinstalled it on the Airport it shows up just fine, so far so good. If it starts acting up again I will try reverting back to 7.2 and let you know the results.
-Charles"


(9/4/2007)
" I am also seeing Airdisk issues. If I try to throw the disk away (unmount) it says it's in use (it's not. no apps running). Once I restart the computer (only way out of the problem) the disk won't mount (Airdisk Utility says there's an error).
How Apple released an update with this widespread a problem is beyond me, and really hurts apple's reputation. To me, they are more and more like MS every day. My MacBook Pro has so many Windows type problems, it's sad...

(he later wrote)
I reverted to 7.1.1 (since it didn't give me the choice of 7.2) (v7.2 only shipped with the new gigabit ethernet base models-Mike) and everything has returned to working correctly. Seems as if 7.2.1 was not ready for primetime, but my airdisk was not permanently damaged by the update, so that's good...
I'm using a ministack (usb 2.0 only version) with my own drive inside. It also acts as a USB hub to serve a printer.
-Mike K."


" Hello Mike, It is disturbing to see all the issues people are having with the AEBS. I bought the Gigabit version to replace my Fast Ethernet one I had since January '07, and I have to say that I am very pleased. Since my home network is wired and switched for Gigabit, this updated AEBS version came in the right time.

I have two 500GB drives connected via a powered USB hub to the AEBS (7.2.1) and initially I had the Airdisk issue as well (not being able to connect, un-mounts frequently, Finder freeze, etc.). I connected the drives to my computer, run DiskWarrior on them (one drive was in dire need of directory replacement) and reconnected them to the AEBS: no more problems.

I have to say that I had the same issue with the older (Fast Ethernet) AEBS version when I first bought it, so I was not surprised with the issues I had with the new one. Sad to say, but "It just works" does not apply to this product.
Cheers, Tom "


(9/4/2007)
" Mike, After a few more days of experience, I get the impression that the 'airdisk' issues have got worse with this new firmware rather than better. I've also had an opportunity to compare the newest Gigabit Ethernet Base Station Extreme with my slightly earlier version - both with version 7.2.1 firmware.

With both base stations configured for a/b/n operation, but not acting as a router (stations in "bridged" mode, no NAT duties), the newer Gigabit ethernet version seems to provide about a 10-12% speed improvement in disk-sharing over the previous version. This was true both with a USB-2 disk attached directly to the Base Station and with a shared volume on a Mac Mini connected to the Base Station via Gigabit Ethernet. Speeds for the 'airdisk' were around about 3.8 and 4.5 MB per sec, while the Firewire disk attached to the mini could transfer files to a MacBook connected wirelessly at around 9 and 10.5 MB/sec. I used a folder of 100 JPEG files totalling 378 MB for the tests. This, of course, is with the MacBook connected via 802.11n. (USB drive was "Comstar" 500GB.) (In previous tests of 'airdisk' speed I've seen both higher and lower transfer rates with the same drive - don't know what all influences things.)

The bad news is that 'airdisk' reliability has been terrible with both Base Stations. Generally, an airdisk can be mounted on any computer just once. If left alone, the disk will probably fall off the network within 12 Hours - perhaps a lot less. After the disk has been dismounted (by itself or by an operator) the best thing to do is to re-start the Base Station. If one simply tries to re-mount the airdisk, the attempt will probably hang, and the only way to re-start the Base Station at that stage may be to power-cycle it.
There's also a possibility that even this will not allow the 'Airdisk' to be mounted again. It may have to be unplugged from the Base Station, plugged into a Mac directly, then dismounted and re-connected to the Base Station. (You don't need to actually do anything with it while it is attached to the Mac!) These symptoms are reported with remarkable consistency in the Apple Discussions forum.

There is some good news in the above: before the firmware update, I did have to erase a disk to get it to work again as an 'airdisk'; just connecting it directly to a Mac and checking it did nothing at that stage.

Through all this, however, regular network traffic was unaffected except during the re-starts. The wireless network bridging function continued unabated even when the Base Stations became unresponsive to AirPort Utility (whether by Ethernet or by wireless).

My recommendations to anyone purchasing an AirPort Extreme Base Station would be:

1. Don't buy it for the 'airdisk'; there are better network storage solutions, and

2. If you do buy one and you do use it with an attached disk, don't put the Base Station in any critical path in your network, as it will have to be re-started often.

Let's hope Apple can soon offer firmware that solves at least the reliability issue.
- Harold"

Some have reverted back to the previous version due to various issues they saw with v7.2.1. (Although airdisk problems have existed for some from day one...)


(9/4/2007)
" Since Installing 7.2.1 on my Airport Extreme (802.11n) non-Gigabit, NAT Port mapping doesn't seem to work.
I run uTorrent on a Windows Vista PC that had been able to map ports automatically (using the "Enable NAT-PMP mapping" option), but since applying the 7.2.1 firmware, the port shows closed. Today, I ran Acquisition on my iBook G4 800, and it also is unable to map it's ports automatically, where it worked correctly in the past. I tried turning off the firewalls in Mac OS and Windows Vista, and also the suggestion you posted earlier about resetting the Airport Base to defaults, but there has been no success. I Googled this, and checked Apple's support forum, but I don't see anyone else reporting this.
-Fritz

If anyone has a tip/comment for Fritz on this, let me know.


(9/4/2007)
"I have installed 7.2.1 today and the range has dropped by about 15-20ft and I cannot connect by wifi when my MBP is within 5ft of the Airport Extreme.
I'm a very new switcher and am not happy. How can I rollback the firmware. (one reader (Sasha) mentioned reverting back to v7.2 - see the comments in the post below.) Everything was fine before but Apple state that you should use the latest.
This makes me want to go back to the PC... Help!!!!!!! Please !!!
(he later wrote)
I went back to my previous firmware... Now I've gone back, everything is fine again and I much happier.
Thank you for taking the time to get back to me.
Regards, Quentin"

You shouldn't have lost range - and with the connection problems did you check/recheck the base's settings? (one early report/tip for those with problems after the update was to reset the base to defaults and then go back and change any settings required to get back to your previous config.) But several users have said reverting back to the previous firmware helped.


(8/31/2007)
" I bought a new Airport Extreme base station together with an AppleTV last week, which should replace an old D-Link router for my home network consisting of 2 Macs, one PC, 2 Airport Express for Airtunes and now an AppleTV. I also connected a new 500GB hard drive to the AEBS for backup purposes.

I have to say this is the worst experience I ever had with an Apple product. Before the update to 7.2.1 the AEBS restarted once or twice a day. This was annoying because large backups failed and the AppleTV was not able to reconnect without reentering the WEP key which is very laborious with the Apple Remote. (WPA instead of WEP would be a better choice) But that seems to be a well known yet to fix problem with AppleTV.

So I was quite happy so see the update to 7.2.1 available. The update worked fine but after about a minute my Airport network simply disappeared. The led still was green so I powercycled it which helped for another few minutes. I tried the reset to factory settings without success. Since 7.2.1 I have to powercycle my AEBS every 2 minutes to 4 hours to get my network back. I'm very disappointed and will probably replace the AEBS with a non Apple model.
(Maybe you have a bad one. Will they exchange it? I also asked why WEP was used - perhaps some older device on the network that didn't support WPA?-Mike)
The PC on the network is an older model which doesn't support WPA. I downgraded the AEBS to 7.2 which runs stable except one or to restarts a day. (Note: v7.2 shipped with the new gigabit ethernet bases, it was not a public release for others. Some other (pre-Gigabit) base owners also later wrote they reverted back to 7.1.1 after seeing issues with 7.2.1.-Mike) All devices except AppleTV reconnect without a problem. There are some similar reports on the Apple Support Forums. I will wait for some weeks to see if this is fixed with another update or if I need to ask my local store for a replacement.
(on reverting back to previous firmware)
It seems that the Airport Utility stores older firmware versions. On the overview page of the AEBS you see the firmware version. If you move the mouse over the label, not the version numbers, you see a little arrow appear to choose a different version. I can't look it up now since I'm in the office, but that's what I remember.
Regards, Sascha"


(8/31/2007)
" After the update, my Canon IP5200R printer can finally connect wirelessly to the base station!
Before the update, the printer could not find my Airport network at all.
-Bard "


(8/30/2007)
" I installed the update and have seen a good speed boost on a rev a MacBook Pro in which I previously installed a MacPro wireless N card. (FYI: Mac Pro N card install in MacBook Pro article here.)
Most notably, my Slingbox Pro (putting out an non-HD stream) would usually stream about 1/2 meg per second. After the update, I am streaming 1 meg per second, and when I am also downloading from the internet I am having less issues when the slingbox is on at the same time.

I had no need to update my settings and my connection to my Cable DSL Westell modem is doing just great.
Cheers, Edward G. "


(added 8/30/2007)
" One of the weirdest updates I've ever done - but successful in the end.
First I tried to do it from a MacBook connected via wireless. The update appeared to go normally except that I received a warning stating that "If [I] use the default settings, the Base Station will blink yellow". I changed one of the settings back to what it had been before the update, and the Base Station was supposedly re-started. The light went yellow but nothing more happened. I power-cycled the Base Station and the light turned green - but I still could not connect to it from the MacBook.

I then moved to another Mac connected to the Base Station via ethernet. I started up AirPort Utility: it told me the firmware was still at 7.1.1, but offered to update it. I let it apply the update for a second time. Again I had to re-set one of the settings. Again, I had to power-cycle the Base Station. It re-started without incident except that I still could not connect from the MacBook. I checked the settings again and noted it had switched to b/g/n mode. It had been set to n-only. I re-set n-only. Still could not connect. I re-set the passwords, and finally I could connect! Seems the update does a very poor job of retaining the original settings.

It will probably be a while before I can really determine whether I see any improvements or not. With respect to wireless speeds etc., I can't say I notice anything significant. But then, I have not done any measurements, either before or since.

My main problem with the Base Station Extreme has been with respect to "Airdisk" unreliability. I've typically had to power-cycle the unit about once a week to keep things going. Wireless internet connection seems quite reliable; it's just that the disk falls off line. Has not happened since the firmware update, although I did have a minor issue this morning. The Airport Base Station did not show up at all when browsing for servers using the MacBook. The "Airdisk" did mount and work, however, after entering its network address. Whether this is a Base Station issue or a MacBook issue, I don't know.

By the way, on the "Airdisk" issue, I previously reported that I could not mount the disk from a TiBook running 10.2.8, although it worked fine with that same computer under 10.3.9. I recently discovered that if I move closer to my old Snow Base Station - to which the TiBook connects via 802.11b - the TiBook with 10.2.8 can indeed connect to the "Airdisk". I don't know why range should be an issue under 10.2.8 and not under 10.3.9!
-Harold "

Harold later sent a follow-up report with notes on airdisk problems, Gigabit Enet vs original N base tests, etc.


Two mails combined - later mail has a tip for his earlier problem:

"This firmware update killed my ability to get on the internet wirelessly. I have the 802.11n fast internet version.
It appears that my Vonage router that is plugged in to the ethernet port from the apple airport is still on the internet, but I cannot get on from my 2007 Macbook Pro 15" (LED) wirelessly. My wife's iBook G4 cannot get on either. I have the airport set for mixed mode 802.11 n/g/b
Internet pages just don't load. The green light is on and all looks well in the setup for the airport, but no luck. I tried restarting both the cable modem and mac, as well as the airport itself.
I had to get on my neighbors wireless just to send this email. Hope no one else has the same issue!

(he later wrote)
Problem fixed buy going to apple support discussions reading... Many others with the same issue!
Following their advice, logged into base station, chose "Restore Default Settings" under the Base Station menu.
Then re-set up the same way as before, using the wizard.
Seems to work fine now. No speed improvements or other changes that I could see (once I had it working!)
-Dave "


(8/29/2007)
"Just applied the update 5 minutes ago everything looks good. Only using it with PB with 802.11G but speed feels faster. No problems with my MyBook attached to the Airport so all is well so far.
(UPDATE: See his Later report dated Sept. 5th where he noted some Airdisk related problems.)
-Charles
Cdev Solutions Macintosh Only Consulting
www.cdevsol.com "

If you apply this firmware update, let me know if you see any improvements/benefits or issues with your specific network.





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