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#35546 - 08/16/15 02:15 PM Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
I have an older Extreme ( V7.6.4 - purchased 2007 ) that has the 802.11.n wifi standard.

Now, I also have a house guest with a new Dell laptop (13" XPS) that uses the newer 802.11ac standard.

The Dell does not see my Airport Extreme router.

Thoughts?

Edit: And, I now got a rather disconcerting surprise. I thought I should check the Airport Extreme settings to see if I have done something like making the Extreme invisible (haven't configured for many years, so can't recall). However, I can't find out. The version of Airport Utility installed with my Mountain Lion 10.8.5 will not work with an older Extreme.

Boo, hiss, Apple.


Edited by ryck (08/16/15 02:40 PM)
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#35547 - 08/16/15 02:47 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The 802.11a/c standard specifies backward compatibility with 802.11a/b/g/n. However, it wasn't until the fourth generation Airport Extreme came out in March of 2009 that they were based on the 802.11n standard. Prior to that time Apple was forced to use the 802.11n draft standard. The devil is in the details, especially in network protocols, and there were some compatibility issues between devices at that time. While I have not encountered it personally there could be a compatibility issue between draft 802.11n devices and 802.11a/c.

If your Airport Extreme is dual band (2.4 and 5 GHz) capable, be sure the 5GHz band is enabled. It might make a difference.
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#35549 - 08/16/15 03:19 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
If your Airport Extreme is dual band (2.4 and 5 GHz) capable, be sure the 5GHz band is enabled. It might make a difference.

I would except the Airport Utility installed with my 10.8.5 Mountain Lion will not configure an older Airport Extreme. Apple won't allow me even to see the settings - it just has the spinning bars ad infinitum.

Boo, hiss, Apple.

It sure looks like an attempt to force a user into spending a pile of dough on a newer Extreme. I know the new standard is much faster but, to be honest, I'm in no hurry and the old standard is just fine.


Edited by ryck (08/16/15 03:22 PM)
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#35551 - 08/16/15 03:22 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
The version of Airport Utility installed with my Mountain Lion 10.8.5 will not work with an older Extreme.

Boo, hiss, Apple.

Been there, and I think I posted about it. (Compatibility info here.)

If you search around, there's a "fix". (I never got to work in Yosemite, although it's supposed to work with all post 10.6(?) OSs.) frown
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#35552 - 08/16/15 03:32 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: artie505]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: artie505
Been there, and I think I posted about it. (Compatibility info here.)

I downloaded Utility V 6.3.1, which is supposed to be for OSX 10.7.5 or later, and I just get the spinning bars telling me that it's reading the setting on my base station. Then, after 5 or 6 minutes, it announces "An error occurred while reading the configuration."


Edited by ryck (08/16/15 03:33 PM)
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#35556 - 08/16/15 04:03 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
I downloaded Utility V 6.3.1, which is supposed to be for OSX 10.7.5 or later, and I just get the spinning bars telling me that it's reading the setting on my base station. Then, after 5 or 6 minutes, it announces "An error occurred while reading the configuration."

When that happens, you will probably need to Reset the Airport Extreme by pressing and holding the reset button until the front light begins to flash rapidly. Then it will show in up Airport Utility as "another device" and you will have to completely reset it.

You probably need to consider a new Airport Extreme or Airport Express. If your WiFi networking needs are relatively simple the Airport Express will save you $100 and it will get the job done. Apple does offer their own and some third party wall mounts for the Express to get it up on the wall and that greatly extends the coverage. I have the cheapest mount and it works well. I mount it on the wall with 3M removable mounting tape and it has been there for a couple of years.
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#35559 - 08/16/15 04:49 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
Apple does offer their own and some third party wall mounts for the Express to get it up on the wall and that greatly extends the coverage.

Thanks for posting that; I've got no place to put the horizontal Base Station I'll have to buy next time around.
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#35575 - 08/17/15 07:50 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
also quite interestingly, the white airport extremes use a stock Apple 802.11g airport card. Plugged right into the motherboard in the base, and the antenna uses a standard connector to the built-in antennas. So it shouldn't be too difficult to wire up your own external antenna. Just be sure to keep the antenna leads short. Getting it up in the air better and away from large areas of metal is always a good idea. (no, don't sit it on top of the fridge either)

They use an MMCX connector. Here's one with a bit longer coax than I'd care to see. (good though if your radio is in a hole and you need to go a ways to get up to where the antenna needs to be) http://www.l-com.com/wireless-antenna-24-ghz-5-dbi-desktop-omni-antenna-4ft-mmcx-connector

search eBay for: mmcx antenna
make sure it's tuned for 2.4ghz
compare DB gains, bigger is better. consider each foot of coax to eat 0.5 DB of that gain. (that will mean NEGATIVE gain in some cases. but getting your antenna outside your car instead of inside it can be worth it, where simply BEING in your car may be giving you a 10db loss)
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#35578 - 08/17/15 08:04 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
….you will probably need to Reset the Airport Extreme by pressing and holding the reset button until the front light begins to flash rapidly. Then it will show in up Airport Utility as "another device" and you will have to completely reset it.

I don't understand.

Is this so I can make sure 5GHz is enabled, which might resolve the issue? I am the sort who, if given the option to have both 2.4 and 5 when first configuring, would have chosen both. I am a bit concerned about doing something that "might" be the issue if it could mean I lose what I have now.

Which brings me to….

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Then it will show in up Airport Utility as "another device" and you will have to completely reset it.

If the latest version of Airport Utility is disinclined to work with an older Airport Extreme, can I be certain that it will be configurable when it shows up as "another device"?


New Edit: We have now achieved success in getting the Dell connected. The list of available networks on the Dell included a "Hidden Network". Thinking about the way I am about security, I assumed that could be my network as I would likely have originally configured to it be less visible.

We entered the name of my network, which was accepted, and then entered the password…..and we got lift-off.

However, I still need to fix the problem of accessing configuration through the Airport Utility, so that I can adjust the wi-fi signal strength.


Edited by ryck (08/17/15 09:26 AM)
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#35581 - 08/17/15 09:43 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: ryck
I downloaded Utility V 6.3.1, which is supposed to be for OSX 10.7.5 or later, and I just get the spinning bars telling me that it's reading the setting on my base station. Then, after 5 or 6 minutes, it announces "An error occurred while reading the configuration."

Today, I unplugged the Airport Extreme and, after several seconds, re-powered it and that seems to have fixed the issue above. I now have access to the configuration settings for the Extreme.

When I click on the Extreme in the Airport Utility window, a dialogue box pops up with a description of the Extreme (Network Name, IP Address, LAN IP Address, Serial Number, Version Number and a list of Wireless Clients followed by an "Edit" button.

The Edit button gives access to a number of configurable settings (Base Station, Internet, Wireless, Network, Disks) but I can't find anything that would change the output power.

Where would that be?


Edited by ryck (08/17/15 09:44 AM)
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#35582 - 08/17/15 10:50 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
There is no power setting for any Airport device. The output power is specified in the 802.11 standard. Variations from that are not only a violation of the protocol but also a violation of FCC regulations and potentially subject to fines running well into five figures.
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#35583 - 08/17/15 10:57 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
There is no power setting for any Airport device.

I don't recall the specific functional description but I absolutely do remember being able to adjust the distance at which the device could be seen. At the time we were about 110 from the road and I definitely used a setting that was much less - thinking that it would be extra protection from someone in a car with a laptop.

Perhaps it was something with a different nomenclature (e.g. transmission pattern) but there absolutely was an ability to deal with range.


Edited by ryck (08/17/15 10:59 AM)
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#35584 - 08/17/15 11:01 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
There is no power setting for any Airport device. The output power is specified in the 802.11 standard. Variations from that are not only a violation of the protocol but also a violation of FCC regulations and potentially subject to fines running well into five figures.

Legally speaking, transmitters never have a minimum power, only a maximum. Although the power may not be editable via the GUI, it's quite likely to be available in the exported settings file. This file is in XML and allows changing of numerous things that are unavailable in the GUI. I've personally used it to override the airport's selection of an IP address for the station itself. I don't know offhand if power is there. If it is, it's probably in a percentage, and is currently set at either "1.0" or "100", and will not accept a value above its licensed maximum of whatever 100% represents.

I haven't reviewed the 802 standard recently, but iirc it does allow for lowering power for base stations, especially in congested areas, and also allows for clients to lower their transmit power when in closer proximity to the base station. This works to lower the effects of congestion when many transceivers are in close proximity. (cell phones definitely work this way)
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#35586 - 08/17/15 12:09 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: Virtual1]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
….transmitters never have a minimum power, only a maximum.

I haven't reviewed the 802 standard recently, but iirc it does allow for lowering power for base stations...

Bingo. Reducing the base station power sounds right.

I went back to the Airport Utility and, under Network, found Network Options.

There is DCHP Lease with a box that has a 4 in it, followed by Hours.

Then there is IPv4 Range with a pulldown menu that has 3 options. 10.0, 172.16, 192.168

It is followed by 2 boxes that have a decimal point in front. The numbers in the boxes are 1 and 2.

Following the second of these boxes is the word "to" and a third box that has 200 in it.

Below, there is a check box to "Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol." It is checked.

A second check box (not checked) says "Enable default host at:" followed by a box with nothing in it.

Am I in the right neighbourhood for increasing output?


Edited by ryck (08/17/15 12:12 PM)
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#35594 - 08/18/15 05:29 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
MacManiac Offline

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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
Not yet...the DHCP Range setting that you have access to in that interface is dealing with the upper and lower IP ADDRESSES that the Extreme will serve out and assign to the client devices which connect to it wirelessly,i.e., it allows you to set the starting address that it will assign and the total number of addresses that it will assign sequentially counting up from that start point....192.168.1.100 up to 192.168.1.119 would be the result if you chose to start at 192.168.1.100 and allow up to 20 client addresses in your DHCP pool.
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#35596 - 08/18/15 06:29 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: ryck
Am I in the right neighbourhood for increasing output?

no, I think you're going to have to download the settings and pick through the xml file, edit it, and then restore the file back to the airport like I did. Power settings have never been available via airport consoles afaik. I've only seen them on a few wireless routers over the years, all Linksys I think.
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#35597 - 08/18/15 08:26 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
If you want to really increase the power of your WiFi signal and are unconcerned about legalities there are any number of Do It Yourself articles on the web for building amplifiers. Simply do a Google search for WiFi Amplifier.

NOTE: If you elect to go this route and you live in an apartment, an urban neighborhood or anywhere other than in a single family dwelling be aware that you will likely make your neighbors very unhappy because you are interfering with their WiFi.
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#35600 - 08/18/15 11:42 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
If you want to really increase the power of your WiFi signal…

But that's not what I want to do. Rather, I want to make sure I get as much as the device offers. I am certain that, when I first configured the device in 2007, I restricted its power output for security reasons. Now I wish to reverse that decision.

We may have some confusion by my saying "increase its output" rather than "restore its output".


Edited by ryck (08/18/15 11:44 AM)
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#35609 - 08/19/15 04:51 AM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: ryck
But that's not what I want to do. Rather, I want to make sure I get as much as the device offers. I am certain that, when I first configured the device in 2007, I restricted its power output for security reasons. Now I wish to reverse that decision.

We may have some confusion by my saying "increase its output" rather than "restore its output".

If that's all it is, just do a factory reset?
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#35633 - 08/19/15 05:24 PM Re: Dell XPS - Airport Extreme Issue [Re: Virtual1]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
If that's all it is, just do a factory reset?

Will give it a shot.
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