Even More Bizarrely Automatic

I did mention I was having an issue with my wireless network topology and channels. I was having to use the Automatic channel setting which meant my older UFO shaped Airport Extreme decided channel 13 was best.

UFO 802.11g Airport Extreme

Well first problem I had was my HP TC1100 Tablet PC did not like channel 13 and refused to connect and co-operate.

So I knew I had to change the channel.

Well I changed the channel from Automatic (13) to channel 6 and guess what? Yes it all works fine now!

Bizarre!

Photo source

Changing my Network Topology

Over the last week or so, I have been messing about experimenting with my network topology.

Previously I had a relatively simple network, a sole Airport Express with a lot of wireless clients. After having quite a few connectivity issues with the Airport Express, I knew I had to replace it with my newer Airport Extreme.

Once I did this, I left it in place for a few days to iron out any wrinkles or problems. I am running it in 802.11n b/g mode so that all my wireless clients can connect to it.

Yesterday I started to rearrange things, so that I could have wired clients, a pure 802.11n network and a separate 802.11g network.

My Airport Extreme now sits under my television, connected to it is my EyeHome, this should mean it can communicate to my iMac (which I use to record television via an Elgato EyeTV device) and stream video, audio and pictures without stuttering. I also intend to hardware a Mac mini as well and this will be my media centre for the moment – longer term I will replace this either with an Apple TV or another Intel based Mac mini. This Mac mini will have an Elgato USB EyeTV device attached.

I will also connect to the Airport Extreme (the third device to the third LAN port) an older 802.11g Airport Extreme which will be running a pure 802.11g wireless network for the older wireless clients. I will very likely stop using 802.11b devices, but as these are only PDAs I am not too worried and if I do need to test them I can always use the airport Express and plug that into the AirportExtreme as and when necessary.

Both wireless networks will use WPA as this is secure compared to WEP, however I will not be closing my networks, nor will I be using MAC address access control.

I am hoping that this will improve the network and make it much faster for internal file transfers and as I replace older Macs with newer ones which support 802.11n it should also be future proof as well.

The only downside I guess is the location of the 802.11n Airport Extreme does make it difficult to test USB hard drives and printers.

802.11n EyeHome

I know some reading this may be thinking, yes, Elgato have released an 802.11n version of their (sadly discontinued) EyeHome media streamer.

EyeHome

Sadly no, though like others I hope one day Elgato do release a new EyeHome, though Apple have released the Apple TV, I think there is still a gap in the market for a revised EyeHome.

However onto what this blog post is about… My EyeHome with is non-wireless is connected to my wireless network via a Linksys WET54G which was connected to my 802.11g Airport Express wireless network.

Now I have been having problems with my Airport Express so streaming video has been difficult as it stutters a lot. Particularly I have been having issues with my EyeTV BBC digital (Freeview) recordings which seem to be of higher quality than other Freeview channels.

Today I connected a cat5e cable from my 802.11n Airport Extreme to the EyeHome, as my TV is one side of the room and the telephone point is on the other, I have had to get a long cable.

First tests have been very positive. My content is on my iMac which is in the office in another part of the house, this is linked wirelessly to the 802.11n Airport Extreme, but streaming video, including BBC recordings, has been nearly perfect. Compared to what was happening before this is so much better, much much better.

I am pleased, as up until now I have been forced to burn my EyeTV recordings to DVD before I could watch them on my TV.

Another reason why I am glad I upgraded my wireless network to 802.11n.

What is FON?

I have been hearing a lot about FON recently.

Basically you have a router which creates two wireless networks, one for you and one for other FON users.

Then when you are out and about you can access the net through other FON networks.

Personally I think it’s of little use, as how often are you in a residential area and need net access. Generally I need net access when I am in the centre of cities or in transport nodes.

So if you want to share your internet, FON is a good idea, less so if you are going to depend on it for net access.

Stable Wireless

Well after upgrading to the new Airport Extreme (802.11n) base station, it does seem to have had an impact on my network stability.

Today my wireless network has remained stable and I have maintained connectivity.

It would appear that the fault lay with my Airport Express, though it didn’t help that my ISP had problems at the same time.

All working now.

Annoying Printer

Though I really do like my new Canon MP600r multi-function printer, there is one aspect which does annoy me slightly.

If you need to reconfigure the wireless connection you need to connect it to the Mac by USB cable. This can be difficult if the printer is not near the computer, which it might well be as that’s certainly why I bough a wireless printer. If I wanted a wired USB printer I would have bought the much cheaper MP600.

Canon MP600r

Ah well, at least I have reconfigured the printer to join my new Airport Extreme wireless network, and now I can print and scan over the wireless network.

Upgraded to Airport Extreme 802.11n

After a few days of a really flaky internet connection and problems with my wireless network I started to wonder if it all was my ADSL connection or possibly my Airport Express was on its way out.

So I went ahead and replaced my Airport Express with my new Airport Extreme which I had been meaning to use for something else, but was currently hiding in a cupboard.

Apart from not plugging in the power properly (wondered why I couldn’t find it when I scanned for it) and a double NAT issue, it is working fine and seems to be making a real difference to my connection and the reliability of the wireless network.

As I have 802.11g devices I can’t use a pure 802.11n network, but even so it does seem a little faster.

We’ll have to see if this change of Airport base station solves the issues I have been having over the last few days, I certainly hope so.

Wireless just went…

So there I was about to write a new blog entry when my wireless went down (again). Quite weird in that I could ping other devices on the network (even use VNC) but could not access the router via a browser or even ping it.

In the end I just unplugged the router and the Airport Express, waited ten seconds, and then plugged them back in again.

Now working.

Wireless Connectivity Issues

Recently I have been having a few issues with the connectivity of my Airport Express base station.

Airport Express

I have had to power cycle the base station a couple of times now, as the wireless network just seemed to stop working.

My Airport Express is quite old now, I bought it when it was first released and on the Apple Discussion Forums there have been quite a few people who have had issues with their Airport Express units “dying”.

I am not sure why I am losing connectivity, there doesn’t seem to be a pattern.

I am not too worried as I have a spare wireless base station or two hanging around, it’s more the hassle of reconfiguring the wireless network and all the clients.

Wireless Update Worked

Updating the wireless driver on my HP TC1100 seems to have done the trick. I have mainted a wireless connection for ages now without it dropping.

If you are having wireless connectivity issues and you have an Intel 2200BG adapter, check to see if there are new drivers as this could make a big difference, it did for me.