Problem with Airport Extreme Base Station

I just posted over on Apple's boards but the theme seems to be constant. There is a problem with the Airport Extreme Base Station and version 5.4 of the Firmware. The problem manifests itself as the Base Station loosing its internet connection every 24 hours. The problem lies in having the base station setup to use the network time protocols for syncing its clock. The clock on the base station really doesn't matter unless you want the dates to show up correctly in logs (and you have remote logging turned on) so there are probably only a handful of people who will encounter this problem. The workaround is to have the base station not report in the correct time and to set the log file to "mark" the log instead.

below is an excerpt of the log file. The times by the way are UTC, not the local time zone, so people will see the problem occurring at different times ranging from about 8am to Noon in the continental US.

May 12 23:50:34 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (leaving service set).
May 12 23:50:39 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Re-associated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx
May 12 23:52:37 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (inactivity).
May 12 23:52:47 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (leaving service set).
May 12 23:52:54 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Re-associated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx
May 12 23:53:40 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (inactivity).
May 12 23:53:44 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (leaving service set).
May 12 23:53:44 HOST.charterpipeline.net last message repeated 2 times
May 12 23:53:48 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Re-associated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx
May 12 23:58:55 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (inactivity).
May 12 23:58:55 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Disassociated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx (leaving service set).
May 12 23:59:02 HOST.charterpipeline.net AIRPORT dot11: Re-associated with station 00:0a:95:f6:xx:xx

UPDATE: I'm pretty sure this is what is going on so I filed a bug report (#3653650) with Apple.

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8 Comments

airport problems

I hope I am posting this right...

I am having simiar troubles. Airport, Powerbook, but the main symption is that my VPN drops (it uses a long term TCP conenction).

I have been looking into this for a long time.

I have disabled the NTP clock because I was having similar problems. My problem was that I was getting messages "adjusted -2 seconds" every 3 hours and it seemed to be at the same time that my VPN is getting messed up.

I am also, sometimes, getting messages that my Airport connnection is coming and going. Since I have peripheral vision it speaks to me about this event. I have thought that this was the Airport crashing and re-booting.

In looking at your log, I see that you have the associated/disassociated messages and so was I, so I started looking around and wanted to get some symptoms categorized...

I found out that the associate/disassociate was an iBook in my household. (In terms of wireless, all I have is 2 laptops and TiVo). So I started doing experiments on my own, simply opening and closing (sleeping) my iBook.

I found that the symptoms could be triggered in this way. Not every time, not the same symptom either, but the good news is that these events only occurred during these events so that I could recreate them at will.

The symptoms that occur when I am opening and closing the other machine (iBook) are:

1. VPN dropping. (I don't know why, maybe resetting the NAT or something that makes the ports change?)

2. My machine (Powerbook) momentarilly dropping the base and then coming back.

3. Number 2 and my getting another IP address.

4. While pinging the iBook, I get numberous duplicate responses (maybe because I have my interface in promisc...

I dont know if this information helps. Maybe you can recreate the same test and see if this is indeed what is happening. There really does seem to be a problem here, and the only debug help that I know of is the syslog set at debug.

Thanks!

jim

Associated/Disassociated

The associated/disassociated comments in my syslog were primarily due to an iMac that was at the outer limits of the airport range because of the construction of the building.

When I was at the University of Washington this past week I had considerable problems with the airport connection dropping momentarily and then coming back. Interestingly when I forced it to stay with 102.11g (turned off "Use Interface Robustness") the problem went away. It was possible to seen then that their 802.11g connection was getting a lot of interference but it was strong enough to have a full time signal. I surmise from this it was the powerbook's attempt to switch to 802.11b that was causing the problem.

Oddly when I try to replicate the problem described above with a local AirPort Base Station I can't but the distant one (the one on Charter Cable's system) still has the problem.

Marking the log

"The workaround is to have the base station not report in the correct time and to set the log file to "mark" the log instead."

If you don't mind my asking, how do you set the log file to mark the log?

Setting syslog to Mark

To configure the syslog to mark you usually add a "-m 15" where you want a mark every 15 minutes, to the command that starts syslogd.

The syslogd(8) man page has some more information.

Charter Issue

Looking at the logs, I wonder if changes on charter's end might be causing the problem.

problems

Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Mac Airport

I am having problems setting the time on the base station. Any suggestions?