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Problems with Airport Extreme 7.4.1 firmware update
Posted: 3/12/2006
Reports last Updated: 3/24/2009
(I recd tons more since then from owners w/problems)
Updated 6/23/2009 for 7.4.2 Firmware Update info

Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.4.2 (from 6/23/2009 news page) Available now (via Airport Utility update check) - here's the info from the Apple page:

About Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.4.2
The Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Express Base Station with 802.11n* Firmware 7.4.2 update provides several fixes, including:
  • Fixes some problems with extending and maintaining connectivity with extended networks
  • Fixes an issue with clients that enable 802.11 "Power Save"
  • Fixes connectivity issues with some third-party devices
  • Fixes an issue when the base station is configured for PPPoE
  • Fixes some Back To My Mac issues with connectivity and support for third-party routers

    It is recommended that AirPort Utility 5.4.2 or later be installed before upgrading to Firmware version 7.4.2.."

  • The download link on that page just goes to a doc about installing firmware updates.
    As noted several months ago here, I and many readers had problems with firmware 7.4.1 as noted here (many reverting back to previous firmware), hopefully this update improves things.
    If you update to firmware 7.4.2, let me know if it helps (or not). (I've just updated my AE N (simul dual-band) base to 7.4.2, but too early to tell if it's improved over 7.4.1.)

    (earlier info/reports follow)
    from Mar. 12th news page) Twice since applying the recent Airport firmware update 7.4.1 (from Mar. 5th) I have seen problems with my Airport Extreme 802.11n (Gigabit) base, after years of trouble-free use (24/7). Last night it happened again - lost network connection on both Mac and PCs (Airport network not found/seen). Base still had a Green LED (OK) status, but network connection was lost/network not available with OS X 10.5.6 (all updates including Airport Client 2009-001) and a Vista machine, so it wasn't just an issue at the client end. (Base set to 5GHz mode (auto channel setting), WPA2, nothing on the USB port, bridged with DSL modem.)
    The first time this happened was within a day or two of applying the firmware update (on Mar. 5th). After having it happen again last night I thought I'd post this to see if anyone else has seen anything similar since the firmware update. (I'm going to check apple's forums later today also.)
    My AE base is on 24/7 and 99.9% of time has been fine (as usual). Cycling power on the base didn't initially help but a 2nd time (and waiting a bit before reconnecting) did. (I didn't want to do a hard reset but will if it happens again.)
    Although the firmware update included security fixes (and a new feature for USB drive remote access via Mobileme, which I never use) I'm tempted to go back to the previous firmware if this problem keeps repeating.
    Posting this to see if others have seen similar problems.

    Reader Replies: (later reports first)
    If you were one of the many that had problems with Firmware 7.4.1, let me know if Firmware 7.4.2 helps. Thanks.
    (FYI: If you want to revert to earlier firmware, there's instructions down the page at this apple support doc. From Airport Utility menu, hold down the Option key (For PC users the Option key, as mentioned in the apple doc) and Choose "Check for Updates", then select the firmware version you want and download it. Then upload the firmware manually. IF you had previously updated to 7.3.2, the firmware update file should still be on your hard drive (if you didn't delete it/are still using the same mac/HD from the previous update ) - just use the manual setup/option to upload firmware and select it from the drop-down menu.)

    More Airport Base Dropouts (No Beacon for too long a period): I'm about a week behind on mails on AE firmware 7.4.1 update feedback (most writing about problems) but wanted to post a FYI that I've seen the lost network problems I mentioned earlier (Mar. 12 here) again today - even with a 7.4.1 firmware updated new simul. dual-base AE base.
    After about a week of no (apparent in use) problems, today I've seen over a dozen cases of beacon timeouts (base not transmitting/wireless connection lost) on both a Mac Pro and 2007 AL iMac. (Using same network - 5GHz N only, automatic channel selection, closed network, no MAC filtering, No USB drive/printer connected, 100% transmit power - Airport Base LED still Green, base 15ft away - full bars when it's working). The AL iMac apparently usually auto-reconnected once the beacon was back up (if up again quickly), but the Mac Pro rarely does it seems (from what I've seen in limited use so far). As a shot in the dark, I'm going to try manual channel selection vs automatic on the base and although I'd rather not, I may uncheck the closed network option (not broadcasting the SSID) to see if that helps. But with days usually been the problems cropping up here, not seeing the problem for awhile could have nothing to do with that change. This time when the Airport network connection was lost, I checked the Console messages (on both machines) and saw repeated instances of:

      Airport: No Beacon for too long time

    Usually leading to dropping the link. Also some instances of "Could not find any preferred networks" and "Broadcast request also failed...". (As I said earlier, even Vista clients can't find a wireless network when this happens, so it's not just a Mac client specific issue.)
    When the Mac Pro first lost the network connection earlier today, within 30 seconds (after turning Mac Pro Airport off/on to reconnect) I went back to the AL iMac and it still had Airport on/linked. However looking at the Console messages on the iMac also showed several "No Beacon for too long a time" messages within the last few hours, although typically within less than 1/2 a second (from the timestamps) it reconnected (automatically). However later dropouts today (again no beacon) required re-authenticating and finally after seeing so many cases of it today I cycled power (waiting 30 sec or so) on the base.
    I don't know what the AE base's Beacon Interval is (way back in the early days of 802.11B, typical intervals were 100ms IIRC) but it seems (IMHO) even this new AE base (w/7.4.1 firmware) has a problem with beacon consistency/reliability.

    And although the above comments are related to a new AE base (w/7.4.1), as this page shows (and many more mails in the last week not yet posted here) - quite a few of us with previous model 802.11N bases have seen problems like this after the 7.4.1 firmware update. (No network available, although Airport base shows Green (OK) LED, and some have had other issues like WDS.)
    (And yes, I've read the AirPort troubleshooting guide but you shouldn't have a wireless network dropout this frequently, nor have to routinely cycle power on bases. Although it covers many things, the problems I and others have seen only started after the 7.4.1 firmware update - network settings, client/base settings, base location, etc. are the same here. Unfortunately wireless reliability is not... far from it.)

    As noted here earlier, some affected readers have reverted back to the previous base firmware (i.e. 7.3.2 for pre-Simul. AE bases) in frustration, although some have noted problems doing that.

    Had problems w/7.4.1 Base Firmware? Let Apple Know:
    So far I've not not reverted back but if I see another day like today I may have to. (I don't want to give up the security fixes in firmware 7.4.1 but miss the reliability I had before the update.) I'm hoping that Apple will get enough complaints on this to issue an update that helps.
    If you've seen problems with Airport (or TimeCapsule) firmware 7.4.1, let Apple know about it via these feedback forms. (Apple doesn't really monitor their forums so a direct and detailed report on problems may get more attention)

    In the past (before 7.4.1/recent updates) there may have been lost beacon instances perhaps but I never noticed them in the logs/console and certainly not anything like the frequency I'm seeing w/updated bases. (It's not been a daily problem of having to reconnect to the network or cycle power on the base - but today is one of the worst. And from what I've seen on the iMac console messages, I wonder how many times it's lost the beacon but auto-reconnected before I noticed a problem.)
    As I said before, I ran a v7.3.2 firmware AE N base (gigabit) with the same network settings, etc for about 2 years, on 24/7 with literally no problems like this. I've sent a long/detailed (and polite) message to Apple on this via the feedback form above. If everyone that has seen a problem w/7.4.1 firmware does the same - it may get their attention. (I know some have never seen a problem, or think some tip solved it - but like me, you may go a week or more without any apparent problems only to have it crop up again later.)

    (added 3/16/2009)
    "My setup involved with the AirPort Extreme 802.11n (Fast Ethernet) and AirPort Express 802.11n, they were connected to a DSL modem (DHCP off) and WDS in between the base stations. I successfully applied the 7.4.1 firmware on my first attempt and never had a problem since.

    Days later, I went ahead and ordered the Time Capsule 1TB (sim. dualband) from the Apple Store. I planned to replace my AirPort Extreme 802.11n (Fast Ethernet) with the new Time Capsule. Out of the box, it came with 7.4 firmware. I made screenshot on the old (working) setting from the AirPort Extreme and filled them into the Time Capsule via manual setup. It won't get any Internet access and never found an IP address, worse it even tried to turn on DHCP on my DSL modem. I ran out of ideas and decided to download the 7.4.1 firmware. This time it gave me flashing amber light and failed to show up on AirPort Utility.

    I gave up and reserved an appointment with the Mac Genius at the local Apple store. The Mac Genius tried it out and didn't find any problem, which she got the Time Capsule to work. She suggested I should follow the onscreen guide rather than manual setup. I went home and followed her advice, AirPort Utility reported some issues with my local IP address starting and ending schemes. I corrected them and everything went A-OK. It has been more than 19 hours and I haven't had a single connection issue nor related to AirPort Utility.
    Regards, Kenneth"

    There was also an update to Airport Utility (v5.4.1) (Mar. 3rd) - not sure what version is included on disc with the new Simul. Dual-Band models though. (Just a FYI.)

    (added 3/16/2009)
    " I have the same problem, but with a twist. Whenever I wake my Macbook Pro from sleep and it tries to connect to my Airport Extreme, the Extreme loses its network connection. The light remains green but there is no activity shown on my Verizon DSL router. This happens even if the Airport Extreme is working normally, as my wife has a Macbook and it doesn't do it. She loses her connection when my Macbook Pro tries to connect. Powering off and on restores function but is a bit of a pain.
    (he later wrote)
    Yes I did apply the Airport Client update (2009-001). My spouse with a MacBook has deliberately NOT applied the Airport client update and she doesn't have this problem, so perhaps it is an interaction between the 2 that screws things up. I have to reboot the Airport every day now and it is getting very annoying. -Rich"

    When this happens again, check the (log) messages in the Console app to see if there's anything related. (I'd just be curious what it shows.) I've only seen this problem twice since I updated the firmware on Mar. 5th (and I sleep/wake the iMac (w/2009-001 client update) dozens of times a day typically) but frustrating when it happens (even PC 802.11n clients see the same problem when I lose the base connection). I'm tempted to go back to firmware 7.3.2 if the base does this again.

    (added 3/16/2009)
    " Same prolems, even helpdesk can't solve it. By the way only on pc not on apple hardware. (I and others saw it with Macs also. Although when it happened here a Vista PC also could not connect (no network available)-Mike) Reinstalling etc, etc does not help.
    Trying the suggestion to go to earlier firmware to solve the problem and then waiting for apple solution.
    Regards, Arnout"

    (added 3/16/2009)
    " Same problem here with essentially the same set up as described. Three times in two days the entire network (wired and wireless) disappears to all clients, and the time capsule disk becomes unaccessible (and yes the green light remains on). Restarting the device works, although once I had to restart twice to get it to work, and one time the time capsule needed a second restart in less than 15 minutes.
    Does everyone agree that reverting to the previous firmware resolves the issue?
    -Ray B."

    So far everyone that had a problem and reverted back to previous firmware version hasn't written back to say they've it's repeated. (If anyone that has reverted back to earlier firmware sees the problem repeat, let me know.)

    "I have exactly the same problems.
    Time capsule doesn't work after 3 or 4 hours.
    Sometimes LED is green, sometimes LED isn't blinking.
    The only way is to reboot (power reset) the time capsule.
    I reinstalled firmware 7.3.2 and after that, everything was ok.
    Just for info, Apple support download has removed the new (7.4.1) firmware.

    They may have removed one of their download pages, but as of 9PM Eastern (3/13) the support/download page from the March 5th news here is still online: support.apple.com/downloads/Time_Capsule_and_AirPort_Base_Station_Firmware_Update_7_4_1. The download link on the page goes to this page with instructions on using Airport Utility to download firmware. But I do not see the 7.4.1 update listed now at their http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/firmware_hardware/ page however.

    "I've had this issue with both of my 15" MBPs in my home office when hooked to a late 2008 AE base station. In my work office I use a Netgear N router and this has not happened here. After I updated the firmware I noticed that the MBP would attempt a connection and then fail. Then it would try again and fail. The only solution for me was to remove the network from the remembered networks and then manually add the network back in. I also had to switch to WPA Personal from WPA2. Weirdness abounds.

    There are whole host of errors in the console related to my airport connection being down but these sort of stand out:
    3/12/09 9:51:01 PM airportd[13983] Error: SecKeychainSearchCopyNext() returned error: -25300
    3/12/09 9:51:02 PM airportd[13983] Error: _ACKeychainCopyPassword() expected password for "(your network name here)" not found: -25300 (The specified item could not be found in the keychain.)
    3/12/09 9:51:02 PM airportd[13983] Expected password for "(your network name here)" not found; skipping..

    It looks to me like we're having an issue with the latest Airport Client update that came along with the firmware in the Base Station. (But as I mentioned yesterday, I saw the problem even with a Vista 64 (builtin N) system when the base network was lost. Scanning for networks (OS X and Vista) showed my network (name) was not found (not setup as closed network so it's broadcasting the network name)-Mike) And it seems like it's causing an issue with authentication, which would make sense since I can see the airport for a second or two then I can't. Once I got connected (after I reset the connection info) I stayed connected. But I have this same error every time I connect these days. (I don't - knock on wood only twice in the last week (used heavily for OS X machine, once a day for the Vista machine (just to get AV updates)-Mike)

    Not sure if you are having this issue as well, or if yours is more straight up connection drop at the AEBS. Hope that helps,
    Kim C."

    " I also updated two 802.11n (non-Gigabit) AE base stations last week. Since then my MacBook Pro (802.11n) has not been able to see or connect to them at all. It's very frustrating.
    If you come across any solutions, I'd be interested in hearing them.
    -Michael K."

    Are any other clients able to connect? Did you try cycling power on the base (waiting a minute then reconnect power). Or a base reset. (Some that have seen problems however just reverted back to the previous firmware 7.3.2.)

    "I updated my 802.11n Airport Extreme (Gigabit) to the 7.4.1 firmware. After playing with some settings, the network disappeared in the same manner you described. My wireless computers were unable to get a network connection and it did not appear in the Airport Utility. I reset the Airport Extreme using the button on the back and when it reappeared, I attempted to restore the previous settings. This led to the same problem. I then reset it again with the button and manually re-entered all my settings. No more problems!

    I had zero problems initially after the firmware update (verified settings were the same as before) - only after 24-48hrs did the first occurrance of the lost network appear, and then about 4 days later it happened again. (99.9999% of the time it's been fine, but after years of zero problems to see this happen twice within about a week with the exact same settings/config bothered me.) Knock on wood as of Friday (3/13) it's not happened again. (Used heavily every day.) Maybe it won't happen again but I welcome long term feedback from others also (that haven't already reverted back to 7.3.2 firmware as several readers already have).

    " Yep, I applied the Airport firmware update 7.4.1 and my Airport Extreme 802.11n was hosed: green light, signal but no internet data. After messing with it for an hour I did a hard reset and all has been well since. I was afraid I would have to reinstall the old FW but no need at this point.
    Aloha, Peter"

    Let me know if the problem reappears (my update went fine and has been fine 99.99% of the time, but has seen this problem twice in the first week of use.) Knock on wood not seen the problem again since wednesday night.

    " I am having the same no network connections, since the update...
    -Michael B."

    " I've had the same problem since installation of 7.4.1! I keep losing connection after 'sleep'. I've never had this problem before.
    (I sleep/wake this AL iMac dozens of times a day w/o a problem but as I said twice in the last week of using 7.4.1 I've seen the lost network issue. And it's not client related as when this happened both a 10.5.6 Mac and Vista PC (802.11N) saw the same thing - network not available. Maybe try a reset/resetup of the base. If it still repeats, go back to the 7.3.2 firmware.-Mike)

    I also had a problem with the original software update (AE froze after sw loading). Had to reboot and create new network.

    What's frustrating for me is the rarity of the problem here - with heavy use day and night (6AM to 2AM typically) only twice in a week have I seen the problem.

    "I had to revert back to firmware 7.3.2 on my base station (802.11n, 100BT version) as this update broke my extended network. I was able to upgrade the satellites (802.11n express units), though.
    -Bill D."

    "Identical problem.
    Firmware 7.4.1 on Time Capsule resulted in intermittent loss of internet connection a few times a day. Green light on TC but no network. Reverting to 7.3.2 resolved the issued completely.

    " I'm running a Time Capsule and now that you mention it, I have a similar problem that has cropped up just after the 7.4.1 patch - I didn't immediately think about the patch being the cause at all until I read your notice today, partly because I have a machine that has exhibited similar problems before (although it was always isolated to that machine) - I thought maybe something had changed with my wireless situation (unlikely, I like quite a ways away from any neighbors, and I don't have any new equipment or anything that could be causing interference, but stranger things have happened).

    My wireless signal shows available and full strength, but has intermittent periods where it just drops temporarily and comes right back - web pages will fail to load or stall halfway through, anything that streams gets disconnected, the wireless strength indicator stays at full. Hitting refresh or reconnecting will almost always work after a second or two. My MBP has always had this problem with wireless (been going through Applecare on that since I got it back in October and no resolution yet - maybe it was the router all along), but it was always just isolated to that machine. After the patch it started happening on all my wireless machines, which previously were all connected fairly trouble free - 7 devices in all.

    I gave up last night on it and just ran a long ethernet cable across my hallway so I could get my work done, but that's not going to be able to stay there long. Router is currently set to 802.11n (b/g compatible), I have a manual channel selected (part of the ongoing MBP connectivity troubleshooting), interference robustness checked, MAC address filters for all my machines, and no encryption (I don't recommend this for most people, this is just how my finicky MBP stays connected best). I'm going to borrow an older Linksys router from work that is sitting on the shelf and see if that acts any differently. This Time Capsule isn't that old, I got it when they were first released, so that's what, about a year?
    -Brian B"

    " I've had similar problems that were fixed when I rolled back to the earlier version.
    I'll wait a while then try again.
    Good luck.

    " Had the same problem after switching from automatic to channel 44 in a 5Ghz network by means of the alt button. Then the airport express was at last recognized after a few re-scans.
    After a new start it was again not recognized. Via another computer on my LAN I set it back to automatic and it works again without flaws.

    My base has been set to Automatic channel setting since day one. (Never had a problem in years of use until the firmware update.) Knock on wood it's only had the problem twice in the last week. If it happens again I'll try a reset.

    "I had an issue like that too with the 7.4.1 update. Worked fine at first, but started cutting out. Then wireless stopped working period on my iPhone (1st gen), Mac Pro (2.8GHz, 2nd gen), and Macbook Pro (2.4GHz, prior gen, pre-Unibody). Wired is still worked on my PC. Nothing wireless could even see the base station though, even though it said it was connected to the network.
    Tried restarting everything several times. No luck. Even tried reapplying the firmware update. Only thing that worked was dropping it back down to 7.3.2. It's worked fine with that ever since.
    -Erik W."

    " I have an issue with the 7.4.1 upgrade on an original AEN (non-gigabit). My network is the AE N network extended to an original with AE via WDS WPA2 b/g compatibility and an Airport Express. the AEN is the default gw and DHCP server for the network.

    i have a macbook pro 2.16GHz updated with the airport client 2009-001 (all machines running latest leopard + patches) that continues to perform as expected. I have an iMac 17" intel originally upgraded with the N driver that was sold for additional $$$ ($1.99 for tiger users, included with OS X 10.5) that no longer connects to the AEN. I applied the same Airport 2009-001 Client update using a manually downloaded installer. it does however connect to the AE and/or an Express via the 'g' wireless mode. This imac does not get a valid ip address from the WPS main base station (AEN) but will authenticate to the AE or the AExpress but won't route traffic to the AEN. weird huh?
    my wife's powerbook G4 1.25 connects normally to the WPS remotes (AE in this case), so the basic WPS network seems to be configured correctly (no config changes except for upgrading to 7.4.1).

    So, long story short, i'm thinking about reverting to an earlier version of the AEN firmware (7.3.2 maybe?) to see if the imac connects. I'm thinking that something in the 7.4.1 or 2009-001 client update breaks on this early 17" imac machine.
    is anyone else reporting a similar problem?
    (At least one other reader reported WDS issues after the firmware update (noted reverting back to 7.3.2 firmware and then working again).-Mike)
    (he later wrote)
    Reverted back to 7.3.2 firmware on my Airport Extreme N and now WDS works properly.
    thanks, George H."

    "Updated two Airport Extreme Base Stations with firmware 7.4.1 and have had no problems at all since friday when it was done.
    (I asked for more details on his setup/config)
    I have two setup in different systems/environments. One is serving as normal router at home - 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible), auto channel, WPA2, DHCP serving from cable connection and private network with several clients. This unit is about 15 months old - gigabit model. Second in small office using feed from central router as input in bridge mode no DHCP (basically provide wireless access to existing wired service) and up to a dozen or so wireless clients balance of settings same as #1 above . This unit purchased just recently - right before new models came out - wish I had waited.
    All pretty straight forward - nothing particularly unusual. Both units were 7.3.2 firmware (I think that number is right - did not make a record of it) before updating. Since updating firmware all clients have been n capable, but did have g only models G4 PowerBook connecting no problems before updating.
    -Leonard C."

    " I applied 7.4.1 to my gigabit AE base and my older 100Mb one the other day and both have been working properly since. The gigabit one is at my home and connected to an AT&T dsl modem, the 100Mb one is at work and directly connected to our LAN.
    Mine are set for 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible) though, so that could be a difference.
    -Mike C."

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