AirPort Extreme is lame

The baby pictures are just one post down, feel free to skip this if that is what you are looking for.

Ah, Apple. If you know me, you know my fascination with Apple. Apple's products are all so wonderfully designed and are such a delight to use. They also usual represent the right technology at the right time, and they generally beat their competitors to the punch. When they are late to the party, they usually show up with a entry to a market that makes all the existing products look primitive and passe.

The problem with constant and relentless innovation is that you can't fully test a product and get it out to market first. Apple's Quality Assurance is hit and miss. They generally do a great job, but due to Apple's amazing new stuff to employee ratio, sometimes things slip through the cracks.

Apple was the first vendor to use wireless Ethernet (802.11b). I was one of the first users of this technology and it has changed my life. The effect of untethered network access on the life of someone who's livelihood depends on connectivity can not be overstated. I've owned each and every revision of the AirPort product line.

They've all had problems. Every single one.

My original graphite base station had to be exchanged for 3 new ones before I found one that lasted. The others all died in rapid succession. I had them connected to a UPS and surge protection. Then along came the Snow base station. I had to exchange it twice.

Apple then released the dual Ethernet version. I only had one, but I had to do a hard reset every 30 days because it would just lose my cable modem. The modem would work connected to a machine, or even another access point, but not to the AirPort Base Station. Only a hard reset and a manual reconfiguration would do.

Then Apple released AirPort Extreme. This was an 802.11g product, so it was much faster than previous iterations. Since I upgrade to new Macs very often, I bought a new PowerBook, G5 and iMac for Jenny and moved into the Extreme age.

After 2 weeks, my Extreme Base Station stopped working. The lights were fine, but you couldn't connect to it, even over Ethernet. I called Apple and went through all the dummy routines and they sent me another one. It worked great until tonight.

My father-in-law called me because he could not connect to the Internet. As I was talking to him, I realized that I couldn't connect either. As I looked up to my AirPort status menu I saw the dreaded light gray bars that indicate you have no signal.

I spent an hour trying to get the thing to come back. This one did this every 60 days or so, but the old hard reset routine always brought it back. Not this time. Even when connected to a LAN with only a DHCP server on the WAN port and my laptop on the Ethernet port, a hard reset does nothing. Sure, the lights flash like a reset, but it never shows up.

So now, my wonderful little AirPort Express is running as my main base station and the AirPort Extreme is sitting on the living room floor. I have a very important meeting with my boss tomorrow at 10:00 AM, and I will be too tired to be effective. I want to call Apple and demand a new unit, but at this point I am really thinking about going with another wireless vendor. I'm tired of the late night AirPort dance.

Sorry Apple, you've lost me on this one.

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