Forwarding Address: OS X

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

[[ This post originally discussed me replacing my dead Airport base station with a Linksys WAP11 that cost $135. After using it for a while and finding some weird network problems, I probed further. I'm now pretty sure that the WAP11 does not work reliable with Airport cards, with the TCP/IP stack in OS X, or both. The easy-to-reproduce syptom was that I could send very short mail (where the message all fit into one TCP packet) but could not send longer messages. Using tcpdump, I could see that the second packet of the message was simply not going through. When I switched to Ethernet, it worked fine. And, after I fixed my Airport, that worked fine.

I hope no one followed my earlier message about using the WAP11. If so, I apologize. I'll leave in my previous note about using WEP passwords from OS X with non-Airport base stations.]]

You will find a horrible gotcha in OS X that is unrelated to the Linksys box. In the Network system pref, to enter an ASCII password for a non-Airport base station, you have to surround it with quotation marks even though you don't use them for Airport base stations. This is incredibly confusing, and caused me to waste a lot of time. It also caused me to call Linksys and discover that their tech support is incredibly lame (although it was toll-free in the US).

For more information on how to use OS X with non-Airport base stations, see AppleCare document 106250, which also shows the magic you need to use to enter a hex password.