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Reader Feedback on Airport 3.3/AE Base 5.3 Firmware:Return to News Page

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Reader reports on Airport 3.3/AE Base 5.3 Firmware Update
Posted: 1/27/2004
Last Updated: 1/28/2004 (more user comments)

The Jan. 26th news page had info on the Airport 3.3 and Airport Extreme base station 5.3 firmware updates. (Available via Software Update or from this Apple kbase doc.) This page has reader reports on using these updates, including comments on using WPA and some using non-apple wireless cards and a tip for those that had problems applying the base's firmware update.

Reader Reports (most recent first)
(I welcome other feedback on the Airport 3.3/AE Base 5.3 firmware updates. Also interested in readers using OS 9 clients with the update.)

(added 1/28/2004)
" Your reader "Richard" (report directly below) is confused about how to use AirPort and WPA.
When he selects "Create Network" from the AirPort Menu Extra, it will create an ad-hoc (IBSS) network which is certainly not what he wants to do. He should simply select the name of the network being published by the LinkSys access point. If the LinkSys AP is configured to hide the network name, he should choose "Other..." from the menu extra and type in the name of the network and then choose "WPA Personal" from the Wireless Security menu and then enter the Pre-Shared Key he used when creating the network.

Also "WPA Personal" is recommended terminology from the Wi-Fi organization and not, as he suggests, "Apple trying to hang their own name on things..." "

(reports posted Jan. 27th, 2004 follow)

" Hi Mike, Just a note about my Wi-Fi setup and WPA.
I am using a Linksys WRT54G (apparently version 1) Wireless-G Broadband Router and WMP54G (version 2) Wireless-G PCI Adapter in a Digital Audio G4 with OS 10.3.2. I am using some external directional antennas rather than the whip style antennas that come with the Linksys gear as they allow me to put things where I want and put the antennas where they need to be.

I had been running it for awhile without encryption (but "dark") after checking the neighborhood for signals that might cause a problem. I went ahead and tried to configure it for WPA after about a week of running Panther.

I was able to configure the router for WPA Pre-Shared Key using the TKIP Algorithm (Linksys says that they are working on the AES, but that it is not presently functional) and enter the Pre-Shared Key. (It had taken me a while to confirm that it is simply an ASCII character string of between 8 and 32 characters, not hexadecimals or other things.) I set the Group Key Renewal for zero seconds per the instructions in the user guide.

When I clicked on the Airport Signal Icon in the Menu Bar and selected Create Network and clicked Select Options I was presented only with the choice to "Enable Encryption (WEP)" so I went ahead and clicked on it and entered my Pre-Shared Key. The first time I tried this I was unable to establish a connection and so I (by wired ethernet) enabled the SSID Broadcast and was successful in establishing a connection. MacStumbler and iStumbler (only when SSID Broadcast is enabled) show the network and "yes" under WEP, which I suspect simply means that it has detected that there is an encrypted network and is not yet "aware" of WPA as there was no column for it.

I ran the Airport and Security updates this morning and nothing appears to have changed. In clicking on the above items to try to get the names correct in this note I think I clicked on "OK" once instead of "cancel" while working in the Create Network window and got a pop-up window when I wanted to rejoin the network that said that a password was required to join the network and described it as "WPA Personal" which I guess is simply Apple trying to hang their own name on things which should be industry standard. It also offered the opportunity to save the Personal Password in Keychain (which I had previously entered manually).

I have not yet tried creating multiple passwords and setting a time for rotating them. I suppose that is project for another day.

It would be interesting to know whether the users of Apple brand Airport equipment are having the configuration for WPA referred to by the correct name or not in the setup windows.
Regards, Richard "

Reply to this post

"Mike, This is from the 3.3 installer notes:
"Computers with wireless cards that only support WEP cannot join an AirPort network that has WPA enabled."

Looks like I can go ahead but still can't use WPA due to the OS9 machines which, it seems, will never be able to support WPA.
(he later wrote)
Installing the updates today went without a hitch. Testing from the 9.2.2, 10.2.8, and 10.3.2 partitions in my TiBook/1GHz turned up one significant new wrinkle. For the first time since I began using Airports, Admin Utility (v2.0.4, 3.2, & 3.3, respectively) was actually able to detect both AEBS units here immediately, a clear benefit from the 5.3 firmware update. In fact, each Admin Utility detects both AEBS units instantly, every time. Amazing.
Bob F "

" In regard to the WPA password not sticking after sleep, (previous report below) you have to enter the password in the network settings preference pane in order for it to stick. I'm using WPA on a Linksys WRT54G wireless router and accessing it with an OWC 802.11g PCMCIA card.
Tony "

In reply to an earlier (not common) report from a PB G4 17in (first model) on wake from sleep connection problems:

" I have a rev.1 17 in powerbook. I updated it just before midnight. The "book" slept until about 8 AM and awoke without problems.
David J"

" When I tried to upload the firmware from my wireless PowerBook the Airport Admin Utility would simply crash - repeatedly. I then tried from my PowerMac G5, this time it didn't crash but did give me an error that prevented the update from happening. One of the previous hints was to reset the Airport, so I tried that and then the update worked just fine.
Christian T. "

" Sounds like Manny V. (see report below has the same situation as me. I've got a D-Link DWL-2000AP and tried turning on WPA after updating last night. I could connect to the network, but I did get an error when doing so. What Manny will quickly find out, is that the Powerbook will not automatically reconnect to his D-Link when he wakes it from sleep. I have to enter the WPA password every time and get the error before it connects. Not worth it so I switched back to WEP. And a word of warning to Mac users out there : the DWL-2000AP's setup pages are not Mac compatible. It can only be configured from a PC (luckily, I've got one of those too).
Keith C. "

I've used some non-apple bases in the past that were configured via a browser without any problems but maybe the DWL-2000AP's an exception.

"Hi Mike,
Updated the firmware on the AE Basestation to 5.3 with no problems. I have a 17-inch Rev 1 PowerBook and didn't have any problems with the Airport update per se, although I left the PB on (unplugged) overnight and then faced a Wake-From-Sleep issue in the morning, where it wouldn't wake up. Tried holding the power button down, various key sequences, etc. and had no response. So I pulled out the battery and waited until the NVRAM ran out of juice. Light went out, and then pressed the power button. (I updated a PB G4 17in (latest model) and don't see any wake from sleep problems so far. Slept it for several hours after midnight last night and awoke fine this morning.)
Not sure if this had anything to do with the recent updates, but it was the first time I saw this issue.

Unfortunately, the Airport update still did not allow me to use multiple WEP encryption keys on my Orinoco Wireless network at work. Every Windows 2000 or XP computer, including Pocket PC and even Palm OS, has the ability to change to a different WEP key slot. But my $3000 PowerBook still cannot select an encryption key other than the default. For an example of what I'm referring to, go to any Windows XP computer and look at the standard wireless config screen. See where it allows selection of the key index? (usually 4 key slots in that config/panel) That is what is necessary for my PB to work on our corporate network. Soon we will move to WPA and PEAP, so there is some hope since it IS included in the current Airport software. Thanks for the incredible site!

I know what he means by the (typically 4) key slots in windows (see it here in XP but never tried using any other than the first). Also I typically have to use the Network Equiv. password (hex) for WEP with PCs vs a text string.

" So far, the WPA stuff seems to work fine. I enabled WPA on my D-Link 614+, set the passphrase, deleted my old airport keychain passwords (the old WEP password seemed to confuse things), then rejoined and entered the new passphrase.

It said there was an error when joining the network, but everything seems OK. Both iBooks are now WPA-Personal enabled.
There's also an WPA-enterprise option when connecting to a network, I suppose that's the RADIUS-powered one?
Manny V."

" I've updated the firmware of my Base Station. And everthing works well. Both my Cube ands my iBook are still recognized and printing sharing via the Base station works great.
Best regards, Arnaud "

I also see no problems so far after the updates to the base and two Macs running 10.3.2. (Sharing cable modem and USB printer.)

" I've downloaded the new Airport 3.3 driver and updated my Extreme basestation to the new 5.3 firmware. So far nothing seems amiss. I am able to connect to it via an 11Mpbs AirPort card using WPA Personal with password. I haven't tried using the pre-set key option at this time.
Regards, Christian "

" I installed the AP 3.3 software on three machines (2x2Ghz G5, 800Mhz PowerBook G4/DVI, and a Rev 2 B&W G3 with a Linksys WMP54G PCI card) as well as flashed my AP Extreme from rev 5.2 to 5.3. ( hooked up to a SpeedStream SDSL modem and bridging is turned on rather than NATing.) I have a Dr. Bott external omni antenna attached, but no USB printer. All Macs are running OSX 10.3.2.

Prior to this, I didn't have WPA enabled because my PowerBook's 802.11b AirPort card didn't support it. Well, it does now, and I'm happy to report that all three machines are running the AirPort 3.3 software and WPA Personal encryption without problems.
-dale "

" I applied the Airport update to My dual G5, my iMac 800 MHz 17", and my 1GHz iBook. I also applied the firmware update to the base station. Initially the firmware update kept quitting but a reset of the base station solved that problem. Everything seems to be working fine now but I'll let you know if any problems occur.
Dick P. "

I welcome other feedback on the Airport 3.3/AE Base 5.3 firmware updates. Also interested in readers using OS 9 clients with the update.

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