Need HELP! connecting to Linksys WAP Router

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by achinfish, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. achinfish macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2004
    My wife has a 1st gen G4 running Jaguar, it has an original airport card. I can't get it to detect my Linksys Model BEFW11S4 WAP router w/ 4-Port Switch. It works fine w/ ethernet. I don't know too much about macs, so any help getting this thing working will be appreciated!!!
  2. cpjakes macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    Buffalo, NY
    A little more information is needed. Does wireless work on other computers or is the router new? If it's new, it's probably not activated for wireless. You'll need to activate it.

    Also, if it is activated, you'll have to see if it's a closed network or not. Closed networks are not visible to the everyone unless the client knows the name of the network.

    But Linksys routers have a default config page at I think, so you can try that if you've never configured it. I would recommend doing so because you can put security features on your network.

    So with a little more information, we can help you out.

  3. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca
    This is actually a major issue for me also. I've been through three WAP routers in the last year with every single one having some sort of irreparable issue.

    First, I had a Linksys WAP router which would crash my Linksys cable modem. The two simply would not sync no matter what I did. I returned them and tried a Netgear AIO Modem WAP which refused to route SMTP (that is another issue because Netgear is causing me the biggest nightmare I've ever experienced with hardware. I've been fighting with their tech support phone system for 10 months and now I'm still stuck with a very expensive peice of junk that I apparently can't return because it's past 90 days!)

    Most recently I bought a Zoom cable modem because COX Cable actually lists and supports the model and a D-Link router which works okay with my Powerbook(15" FW800) but now refuses to route ANY traffic from my iBook(12" 600 COMBO)!

    I'm no slouch when it comes to troubleshooting and I can usually fix things myself but the wireless issue has been one of the worst nightmares I've ever dealt with. Apple (and my good friend who is a real apple techie) pretty much says that the computers are fine because they both happily connect to an Airport base station with no apparent issues (verified on two seperate occasions). I'm at the point of finally giving up and buying a stupidly expensive Airport because that's the only thing that (so far) has worked with both computers on a consistent basis.

    If there are any people here who can shed some light on the issue it would be much appreciated. This wireless nightmare has cost me countless hours of frustration and several hundred dollars which I will probably never recover.
  4. MictXP macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2004
    I have a 12" PB with Airport. I've connected to Linksys (BEFW11S4), Netgear, D-Link, Airport...I've never had any problem with any of them. Well, a few dropped connections with the D-Link, but never had problems connecting.

    I set up the Linksys connection myself. The first thing I'd recommend is having the latest firmware in the linksys.Then go into the config ( username (blank) password admin), go into wireless, and make sure Wireless and Wireless SSID broadcast are enabled. Then wireless security, and put in a 128-bit WEP key (not 64-bit). You'll need to put the generated key into the mac, not the passphrase used to generate the key.

    Hopefully you'll be able to connect with that.
  5. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca

    That's apparently good advice because I've heard it on more than one occasion. In my case it has been fruitless. My PB works fine in all modes but the iBook has zero wireless traffic. WLAN and WAN are fully connected via wireless including verified fresh DHCP but absolute network silence anyhow.

    I might note that if I shut off the Airport card and connect to the router through the ethernet port in the iBook (after a full system restart) it connects to the internet just fine.

    Basically a blocked/locked/failed Airport card connection locks up the whole network system on the iBook requiring the airport card to be shut off completely before a network connection will work. Once again Apple insists that the Airport card and iBook are fine. "It connects fine to the Airport Base Station [B&G both], there's nothing wrong with it" is what I get from tech support.



    EDIT: I fixed it last night! After diligent searching I discovered that the preamble needs to be set to LONG for the iBook/Airport card to communicate properly. This setting is apparently set to SHORT by default on the D-Link router.
  6. achinfish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2004
    The two PCs are plugged in via ethernet (they are right near the router, so we used cable to save money) but I did pick up a usb wireless adapter when I first got the hub, for testing purposes. I unplugged one of the PCs from the router and used the wireless adapter successfully. As far as I can tell, The router is properly configured. I read a bit of a book at Barnes & Noble called Os X missing manual, and apparently the Mac may not be detecting the router. It's all the way across the house, which may be slightly over 100 feet, and it's an old house with brick walls. Do you think I need a signal booster? Are there any settings I need to check on my MAC to make sure if its detecting any networks or not? The Network option for Airport says "connect to the network with the strongest signal" on restart. if it could detect the network but just couldn't connect to it for some reason (settings, password) would it tell me as much, or simply not say anything?
  7. dudeami macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2004
    It sounds like the Mac may be too far away from the linksys. They should be compatible. Make sure the Airport software is as up-to-date as possible. On Jaguar you will not be able to run the latest Airport software, as that requiers Panther.

    By the way, if I may offer further insight into this. Both the Linksys WAP device you have and the Airport running on Jaguar will only support 128 bit WEP as the maximum encryption. As I work with security, I personally do not find this exceptable, because of inherent weaknesses in WEP. It will obviously have cost associated with this recomendation, so you will have to determine if a secure network is worth the cost or not.

    I would recommend buying a wireless access point that supports WPA. Then configure the WAP device to use WPA for security, run as a closed networked, and allow only the MAC (Media Access Control) address of the Airport on the Macintosh to join the wireless network. However to use WPA security on the Macintosh, you will need to update the Airport software to at least version 3.3, and to do this you will have to be running Panther. As I said there would be a cost involved, but for me, I would do whatever I could to stop someone from accessing my internal network.

    [Edit]I hate giving out bad info, so I had time to search more this morning, last night I went to linksys site and the sales pitch still only says WEP, but this morning eent to linksys site to verify info and searched further, Linksys says they have added support for WPA, so you may be able to flash the firmware on your linksys if it does not already support WPA. I would recommend using WPA. For WPA in the Macintosh, you can go to Airport help and search for WPA, after you have installed at airport software 3.3 or higher.

    Some additional reading about WEP (an older doc, but just lets you know how long the problem has been around.

    Good document on caomparing WEP and WPA, plus securing wireless in general

    [end Edit]

    Cost here ... let's see
    Buy a WAP device that support WPA, such as Airport Extreme Base Station.
    Upgrade the operating system on the Macintosh to Panther.
    Possibly still have to buy an additional Antenna. If you do go this route with the AEBS, and don't need the modem port, I believe you can still add an antenna to the AEBS model that does not have the modem port or antenna port, by opening the bottom of the AEBS and conecting the antenna internally. That would save you $50, but I would confirm that before purchasing your AEBS.

    Anyway good luck.
  8. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca
    I have a question then. If I disable SSID Broadcast, turn on MAC filtering and run 128 bit WEP is that still not secure? I am not technically proficient enough to know how one would break into such a configuration (provided one wishes to anyhow!). In a residential situation I am tempted to think that the likelyhood of a real black hack working away diligently to find out how much I spent on milk last week seems pretty low. I know one needs to be concerned about PW and CC info security too.

    So anyway, as my ongoing education continues, is it really worth spending $250 for an airport extreme as opposed to a $75 802.11b router(of whatever brand)? Aside from the configuration headaches with a PC brand (see my earlier post), the cash outlay difference is pretty extravagant. Dr Botts XtendAir is $99 and a simple white 5DBi Omnidirectional Booster Antenna frm D-Link is ony $50. So by that measure we're talking the difference between $350 and $125.

    I love my Mac but some things are just plain too outrageous to buy OEM in my opinion.
  9. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    There's really not much else you can do at that point. That's as secure as you are going to be able to make it. There's really no other way to do it.

    As far as buying an Airport Extreme base station, I don't see the point. The cheapest model is $200, which is pretty ridiculas if you ask me. Heck, BestBuy has a D-Link, 54G wireless router with a 4 port switch built in for $50 after rebate.

    When I get a wireless router, it most certainly will NOT be an airport basestation. They are too expensive.
  10. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca
    Be prepared for some minor headaches. D-link so far has been the only brand that actually works in my opinion and they still come out of the box configured like a monkey's butt. Also be aware that you DO need to lock them down. My D-Link (DI-514) allows full configuration access over the wireless connection.

    Just FYI - My latest Netgear device would not route SMTP and Netgear tech support in freaking Pakistan honestly didn't care(on hold for literally an hour every time and still trying to get my money back a year later!). Also, every Linksys device I've ever dealt with had major stability issues and I've since learned the hard way that they're the easiest brand to hack through also. Both are on my "Never Buy Again" list.

    Of course, I really am NOT an expert. If I was I suppose I wouldn't have these *#$&! problems.

  11. dudeami macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2004
    I probably got my edit in a little late.

    Actually, as part of the developing standard for 802.11i, WPA is the interim solution as 802.11i is still beign refined, the upgrades to this security level should be able to be applied by flashing the firmware, upgrading the software or a combination of the two. So most likely, when you research your device further a large portion of the WAP devices should be able to support WPA. I just happened to mention that the AEBS does support WPA but the actual recommendation is to use a WAP device that supports WPA. I know AEBS are expensive when compared to other WAP devices.

    Also if you look at the edits I made to my original reply in this thread I have included some references to help you better understand the risks.

    Hope this helps.

    Just read the reply about linksys being the easiest to hack through. Probably true, though I have not campared them all, one of the reasons - stateless inspection of packets -

    However here we are talking about firewall. As a general statement firewalls are intended to protect networks. This is at layer 3. If the get onto your wireless then they are on your network. At that point communication between the machines will be at most at layer 2 and will not need to pass through your router/firewall. So if they on your network, they would have full access to try to breach your machines, unless you have additional protection on those.

    In many ways there is truth to the saying you get what you pay for.
    [end Edit]
  12. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca
    Fascinating and educational!

    My understaning is that:

    With WEP the encryption level is practically inconsequential. 100 MB of transfer would take about 10 minutes to actually intercept and record for "cracking" which would take about one second thereafter.

    SSID is good for keeping people from "seeing" your network accidentally but anyone with a kiddie script and a wireless card can discover it anyhow.

    MAC address filtering is good for keeping all but the most diligent of hackers off of your LAN but does nothing to prevent data interception and decryption on the wireless.

    SO, a lone laptop in a parked car outside of a large business could do a lot of damage security wise. The hacker could leave it there while getting lunch, go home and crack the various transmissions, flash the MAC address on his (or her) wireless card and run a network snooper program during lunch the very next day. All with total anonymity.

    Am I clueless? Are cops suddenly going to start carrying 802.11 sniffers to combat war drivers?

    What a fun thread.
  13. achinfish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2004
    Ok, now I'm pissed. I've verified through multiple sources that everything is setup correctly. I went and bought a D-link Range Extender, set it up, stuck it in the kitchen, tested it, it's now LESS than 20 feet away (diagonally) from the frigging MAC upstairs. The MAC still says it's not detecting any Wireless network. Apple says everything is turned on and working correctly. I'm trying really hard not to turn this into a MAC bashing thread, but every time I pull one of my PCs off the ethernet cabling and stick a wireless adapter in it, it works without any problem. I had 3 wireless PCs talking to the router and surfing the net, one of them upstairs, RIGHT NEXT TO THE MAC, and they all worked without any difficulties. I give up. I'm going to have to save up for a friggin Airport Base Station. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  14. dudeami macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2004
    Have you tried moving the Macintosh to where the PC's were? Maybe its in a cold spot.

    Have you tried setting a specific channel on the airport and linksys to rule out that issue?

    Have you tried to force the airport to join the wireless network by name?

    Have you verified that the builtin antenna in the G4 is properly connected to the airport? Or reseated the airport in the connector?

    Have you relaxed the security, like no password, no encryption and open network, just to see if the aiport can detect the wireless network?

    This one might be a pain, but do you have any friends that have a wireless access point, maybe they'll let you bring your Macintosh over to there network just to see if your airport can detect their device.

    If none of these things are working, I would push harder with Apple or whatever vendor sold you the airport to RMA the airport card because it doesn't work. Maybe a different airport card would work better.

    I hate pointing out the obvious as you have probably tried these things, but I am just trying to help.

    By the way, I can understand your frustration when technology doesn't work as advertised. But seven mad faces, is that on a scale of ten? :)

    When you were on the phone with Apple did they give you any advise on verifying that the antenna in the Macintosh is not broken? I don't know if there is a way to do this, but it could also be the culprit.
  15. Surfernate macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2003
    Encinitas, Ca
    I feel your pain as I've been through it before. It's entirely possible that you have some small default configuration in the Linksys that is preventing your Mac from seeing it properly. I did research your base station and it is a fairly old model with a history of this kind of problem. No good solutions made themselves apparent in the few minutes I spent searching.

    Nonethless I'll ask a few stupid questions too...

    On the router -
    Is SSID enabled?
    What is your Preamble length set to (try LONG)?
    Have you done the required firmware update to be OSX compatible?

    See this report on that particular model.

    Anytime you choose cheap mass produced PC centric hardware you're usually paying for cheaply built cheaply coded poorly supported devices. (try Dell tech support some day!) You pay a premium for Mac hardware because it is all tested and configured to work together with *relatively* fewer problems in the long run. There isn't aa single PC or PC centric device at our office without a really annoying problem that we just learned to live with.

    Dudeami is also right. troubleshooting wireless is a headache because you often have nothing concrete with which to compare a problem. Did you try running ICS on the wired/wireless PC (or the Mac for that matter) to see if the Mac/PC can "see" each other without the router involved? Does your router show a DHCP client listing for your Mac? I would be tempted to think that if all else fails you might really actually have a bad Airport card. The best way to tell is to see if it is transmitting/receiving a signal at all.

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