The pain of updating a router versus a desktop
By tdh on Nov 11, 2009
I recently updated my home desktop to Win7 - I wanted to get the 64 bit professional version and update my system memory to 8G. I managed to loose my Firefox config information - i.e., mainly my accounts and passwords. Not that big of a deal to recover from. I did have a recent backup of my bookmarks, so I didn't loose all of my favorite web comics.
Last night I updated my Linksys wireless router to an Airport Extreme and even though I had all of the config information, that was much more of a pain. Changing routers always is it seems.
I went with the Airport Extreme because I liked the Airport Express I carry around to quickly setup a wireless network when I travel. There was a Hilton Garden Inn in Austin that does not like my Mac Book Air, so the Express solved that issue.
I checked to make sure I could configure port translation (look in the NAT settings) and I assumed I could easily VPN out of it.
The earliest issues I had were all related to getting the internet connection established and understanding the Apple nomenclature. I could not figure out whether the DHCP pane was talking about the external connection or the internal one. I think the internal address is determined by the DHCP range that you offer.
The big problem was that the DSL modem and the Extreme didn't seem to want to communicate. I could ping the Extreme, but couldn't seem to see out. Note, make sure to record an external pingable IP before you change your network infrastructure. Don't count on DNS working!
I put back the Linksys, did some searching, and decided to reboot the DSL modem and then the Extreme. That did the trick. Note that with other routers you might try MAC address cloning to fix this issue. Evidently the DSL router I have is smart enough to detect the MAC address it is connected to upon reboot. But it will also only talk to that one device.
My other issues revolved with the Airport Utility software - making a simple change to the Extreme configuration requires a reboot. And then the Airport Utility software might not be able to detect the Extreme. I rotated among three different clients to make changes.
I got through all that and tried using my Express to extend the Extreme's network. Now I can't see it at all via Airport Utility. And searching the web does not make me feel comfortable about getting Airport Utility to work properly.
The last issue I hit was that my mail server started rejecting requests from my Thunderbird desktop mail client. I don't know how I had my earlier Thunderbird outgoing server set up, but the current one was set to my outside DNS name. The Linksys must have automatically short cut the packet back to my internal server. The Airport Extreme was sending the request back with the external address of my DSL router. And my sendmail config was rejecting the relay request.
The solution here was to modify my mail server account in Thunderbird to be in the internal DNS subdomain.
I'm happy enough with the Airport Extreme - like most Apple products, it takes some getting used to. BTW - the reason I replaced the Linksys was it started locking up - after one "We've lost the internet!" call on a business trip, it is just too much to deal with! :-> I wanted N, dual band, and GigE ports. We'll see if I stay happy with the Airport Extreme...