Cross-platform AirPort Wireless Networks

NOTE: this page contains older information. Some of the info on this page may still be relevant (the most recent information is near the bottom), but this page is no longer updated.

For current information about usinsg Windows PCs on Mac wireless networks, click here.

Updated July 17, 2003

On this page:



AirPort is Apple's implementation of the IEEE 802.11 DSSS-compliant wireless networking.

AirPort Configuration Software for Windows

FreeBase is a free Windows utility that lets you configure the Apple AirPort Base Station from a PC. According to the developer, the FreeBase also enables "replacing the WaveLan card with a 'WaveLan/Orinoco Gold' card so users can have strong encryption."

AirPort Base Station Configurator and Modem Hangup Utility are a pair of Java utilities that will let you configure the Base Station from Windows, Unix, or Macintosh running a Java 1.1.8-compliant runtime environment.

KarlNet Configurator by KarlNet.

AirPort Admin Utility for Microsoft Windows, a utility for Windows 98, 2000, and XP that enables users to configure Apple's dual -Ethernet AirPort Base Station (Snow), though not the original Graphite Base station.


March 5, 2001-- Apple released AirPort 1.3 software for the AirPort Base Station and Mac AirPort clients. The new version added a number of new features, including:

Scripting ability and sample AppleScripts

AirPort 1.2 was released in June 2000.

Using Apple's AirPort Base Station with Windows PCs

by Henry Norr

Staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle

Copyright 2000 by Henry Norr. Redistribution subject to restrictions - see note at the end of this document.

May 10, 2000; Updated July 10, 2000

This piece is a follow-up to a column that appeared in the May 8 San Francisco Chronicle under the title "Welcome to My Wireless World.

Cautionary notes

Before you go any farther, stop and consider whether you really need to be reading this. Judging by some of the e-mail responses to my Tech21 column (in the May 8 San Francisco Chronicle), it seems that I may not have made it clear enough that you don't necessarily need a base station at all to enjoy the advantages of 802.11b wireless networking.

In fact, you can use an ordinary PC (or a Mac, though I haven't tried that) to play the same role a base station would - that is, to be the "access point" through which your wireless devices connect to the wired Internet.

The PC (normally a desktop system, but conceivably a notebook) just has to have a wired connection to the Internet - either a dialup modem or an Ethernet connection to a local-area network that is in turn in turn connected to the 'Net. And it needs a slot - ISA, PCI, PCMCIA, or, in the case of new Macs, Apple's special AirPort slot - where you can plug in an 802.11b card. Install the routing software that comes with most, if not all, such cards. Enter the required setup information. Install a similar card and software in your unwired PC (desktop or notebook), and with luck you'll be all set - no base station required.

Since 802.11b cards are available for less than $200, this is a cheaper solution, at least for those who have a PC available to serve as the access point, than buying any base station, even Apple's relatively affordable ($299) model.

The PC does not have to be dedicated to this role. In my limited experience with such a setup, with only one wireless client, routing data had no noticeable effect on performance of applications running on the gateway PC. As I did say in the column, however, there is one catch: the PC has to be powered up, or else the laptop (or desktop) you're hoping to use wirelessly won't have any way of connecting to the Internet.

For a variety of reasons - the noise, the electric bill, the possible security risks - some people won't find that a good solution. If you're in that category, you may want to consider using a separate base station as your access point.

Even then, however, the Apple product may not be your best bet if you're trying to get one or more Windows PCs online wirelessly, even if you also own a Mac. Apple doesn't ship PC software with its base station, nor, as far as I can tell, will it provide tech support if you're having problems connecting a PC with the product. (As Apple's AirPort product manager, Robin Witty, told me when I discussed this issue with her, Apple is in the Mac business, and its view is that users who want the best experience with wireless networking should get a Mac.)

The main argument for even considering trying to use the AirPort base station as an access point for PCs is that it's the only 11-Mbps base station available now at a price that's at all reasonable for home or small office users.

Even that, though, will change soon, with the arrival (scheduled in mid-July 2000) of Lucent's RG-1000 residential gateway. At $349 list, it won't be much more expensive than the Apple product. It looks like an iron rather than a flying saucer. (Brumley & Associates, a system integrator and online reseller specializing in wireless networking, has posted a picture and is taking pre-orders.) It will come with Windows software for setup and configuration, as well as PC-oriented documentation and support. (I hope it will also offer Mac software, documentation and support, for the sake of multiplatform customers, but I'm not sure.)

In short, the Lucent gateway will very likely offer some powerful advantages for people who want to do wireless networking from Windows - advantages substantial enough to justify waiting a couple of months and spending $50 extra.

What follows is intended only for those who, like me, are too impatient to wait - and who don't mind either living without encryption or going through a slightly cumbersome cross-platform configuration process.

Lucent Alternatives

(Updated June 5, 2001)

There's been a lot of confusion, here and elsewhere, about pricing and configuration details for the Orinoco RG1000 residential gateway, the Lucent-branded equivalent to Apple's AirPort Base Station. The following information, straight from the PR rep who works for Lucent on the Orinoco products, should set things straight:

Because the card built into the gateway is the Silver (64-bit encryption) version, and it's non-removable, there's apparently no way to get 128-bit encryption through the RG1000, even if you have a Gold (128-bit) card in your notebook. But 64-bit encryption should be plenty for most people.

If you do need 128-bit security, you'll have to go one of the access-point products Lucent and others market to corporate users. These are much more expensive: for example, Lucien's WavePOINT II, which has no built-in card but two open slots where you can install either Silver or Gold cards, is $995. According to Lucent, the vast majority of its customers opt for Silver over Gold.

One note about 64-bit security as opposed to the 40-bit encoding that Apple says the AirPort Base Station provides. In fact, these are identical. The encryption is 64 bits, but 24 of the bits are sent in the clear with the packet, so only 40 bits are secure. Similarly, the gold card is 128 bits, 24 bits for clear, 104 bits unknown.

[Reader Alan Larson notes that:

A Gold card talks to the Silver card just fine -- the machine I am typing on (and it's predecessor) are PC machines using Gold cards, and they are doing fine at work in 128 bit and at home talking to the AirPort at 64 bit.]

AirPort 1.1

All of the following assumes your AirPort base station has Apple's AirPort 1.1 software installed. If you have an early model, be sure to update it - 1.1 is a major improvement, and it's essential for interoperability with other vendors' 802.11b products. You can download the updater. Needless to say, it runs only on a Mac.

[Editor's note: AirPort 1.3 , released in March 2001, is Apple's latest version.]


One other preliminary note: If you're planning to buy wireless cards for a PC notebook and/or a pre-AirPort PowerBook, particularly for use in a cross-platform environment, consider Farallon's SkyLINE 11 Mb PC Cards. I didn't mention them in the column, because they're not shipping yet, but Farallon announced them in February, and they'll be shipping soon. (The company has offered 2-Mbps SkyLINE cards based on the original 802.11b spec since last summer.)

Farallon doesn't offer a complete solution - at least for now it doesn't offer PCI or ISA versions of its card, nor its own base station. But there are a couple of reasons why the Farallon cards deserve special consideration by cross-platform networkers: Unlike most competitors, Farallon has developed the product from the ground up with the idea of supporting both Mac and PC clients. It will ship drivers and documentation for both platforms. And it claims it has carefully tested its card and software to ensure interoperability with products from all the other leading 802.11b vendors, including Apple, Lucent and Aironet.

I haven't tried the Farallon cards, even the 2-Mbit ones. But the company has specialized in cross-platform networking for years, and if any company can get this part of the picture right, it's probably the one. I can't say yet what the 11-Mbps cards will cost, but whatever premium there may be compared to PC-oriented bargains, it might be worth paying to avoid getting stuck out on a cross-platform edge where it's hard to get support.

Dell (Aironet) 4800LT

The cheapest 802.11b card I know of is Dell's 4800LT - $139 for the PC Card, $179 for the PCI version. It's made by Aironet, a company that originated at Ohio State and was acquired by Cisco in March. I've used several of these cards in a number of Windows laptops, and they worked fine with the Apple base station as long as you have the encryption (WEP, for Wireless Encryption Protocol) option disabled (unchecked) in Apple's AirPort Admin Utility.

With encryption on, however, it's no go. The Dell card does support 40-bit encryption, same as Apple's, but my many efforts to get them to work together with encryption on have all been in vain, I've heard from one other user who's also tried and failed, and just the other day Dell confirmed the problem. They do say they are working on a fix, but they're not ready to make any promises or set any dates.

(To avoid such problems in the future, 802.11 vendors have formed a group called the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, and last month it began awarding its compatibility certification, called Wi-Fi, to some products. But neither Apple's AirPort nor the Aironet 4800 cards Dell is using made the grade. Besides, some industry sources tell me that WECA's current interoperability specifications and testing procedures aren't yet complete and clear-cut.)

Whether the absence of encryption is important for you depends, obviously, on what you do and how you feel about your privacy and the security of your systems. Personally, I doubt anyone is very interested in monitoring my surfing, and I don't think I'd care a lot if someone were. But of course I'd be unhappy if they swiped my credit card number and started using it. And clearly many other people have even better reasons to make sure prying eyes can't easily examine their communications.

On the other hand, some people argue that 40-bit encryption isn't much more than a placebo anyway. According to this argument (which I'm not in a position either to endorse or refute), anyone with the means and motivation to intercept your wireless communications could crack a 40-bit key in minutes. If you're really serious about security, the argument continues, you should have something like 128-bit encryption, which rules out Apple's AirPort anyway. If that's your situation, and you accept this logic, check out Lucent, Aironet or other vendors who offer 802.11b products with 128-bit encryption.

One note about installing the Dell software: You start the installation, oddly enough, from an HTML page that autolaunches when you insert the CD. Read through the page, then click the "install" link and follow the prompts. The first time I tried it, and on most of my many subsequent reinstalls (as I tried to solve the encryption problem), I wasn't asked for any info about the base station. The installer just did its thing (apparently installing the driver and adding the adapter to Windows Network control panel), and as soon as I rebooted and launched Internet Explorer, I was online!

On some occasions, though, a screen came up during the installation process asking for the name of my wireless network and a 10-digit encryption key. I was unable to get past this dialog without entering a key, and it wouldn't accept 0000000000, so I had to quit without completing the installation. I'm frankly not sure what determines when the installer is going to ask for this stuff - maybe it's because I had not completely removed the previous installation, or maybe it happens when the base station is in encrypted mode.

In any case, if this should happen to you, make sure the base station's encryption is off, then remove all references to the wireless card in Windows's Device Manager (where the card will be listed under Network Adapters), reboot, and start the installation again.

But if you have encryption off in the base station when you start, and you do a clean install, so to speak, my experience suggests that you'll probably never have to deal with this problem.

As I noted in the column, you probably have to call Dell on the phone if you want to order these cards, because (at least as of last week)there was no way to order them on their web site unless you're ordering an Inspiron notebook.

Lucent Orinoco (nee WaveLAN Turbo)

The WaveLAN Turbo card I used with the Apple base station was the Silver version, which means it supports 40-bit encryption. Lucent also offers a Gold version, which does 128-bit encryption, but I didn't try it and I'm not sure whether it's possible to get it to work in 40-bit mode with the Apple stuff. [Editor's Note: a reader below says it is possible.]

There wouldn't be any point in trying unless you need a card you could also use at a different location with an access point, from Lucent or someone else, that supports 128-bit wireless security. (Lucent's 2-Mbps WaveLAN line used to include a Bronze version, with (I believe) no encryption, but apparently there's no Bronze version of the 11-Mbps card.)

If you want to use any Lucent wireless card with the Apple base station, the first thing to do is download the latest Lucent firmware and software. (People using these cards in Apple PowerBooks need to be extra careful about what software they have on the card and base station - the wrong combination could actually "disable the functioning of your card," according to Lucent .)

Once you've installed the update, there's no problem getting the card to work with the base station if encryption is off. (As noted above, you can turn it on and off with a checkbox in Apple's AirPort Admin Utility.)

If you want to use the 40-bit encryption, things get slightly trickier, because Apple and Lucent (not to mention Aironet) handle encryption keys in different ways. The 802.11b spec (maybe also 802.11 without b - I don't know) apparently calls for a 5-character alphanumeric password (one character = eight bits, so five characters = 40 bits) or a 10-character hexadecimal string. In a commendable effort to be more user-friendly, Apple lets you enter any word or phrase you want as your key, then "hashes" that to produce a key that matches the spec.

But if you define your key on the Mac (as you presumably would when setting up an Apple base station), odds are you'll come up with something the Lucent software won't have any idea how to deal with.

So here's the workaround: Before you do anything with on the PC side, make sure you've set up your wireless network successfully for your Mac using Apple's AirPort Admin Utility, including giving the wireless network a name, making sure encryption is enabled and defining your key. Write down the network name on a piece of paper. Then, still in the AirPort Admin Utility, pull down the Base Station menu and select the "Network Equivalent Password" item, which will display a bunch of numbers and letters. Write them down on the paper that has your network name.

Update: If you're enabling encryption for the first time, or changing your encryption key, you must hit the Update button before you record the Network Equivalent Password. Updating also quits the Admin program, so you'll have to relaunch it to get the Network Equivalent Password. It's a minor pain (and definitely an odd bit of software design on Apple's part), but you have to do it or else you'll get an incorrect Network Equivalent Password.

Then go to your PC, taking the piece of paper with you. Launch the Lucent Wireless Card Setting application, which, with the current Lucent software, you'll find at Start:Programs:Orinoco:PC Card Settings. (The app's actual name is different from what's listed in the cascading Programs menu, but whatever...) On the Basic tab, click "Enter existing network," then enter your wireless network's name (referring if necessary to your trusty sheet of paper).

Then, still in the Wireless Card Settings app, click on the Encryption tab. Click in the checkbox marked Enable Encryption. Below it you'll see four fields for encryption keys (so you can use the card in up to four separate secured networks). Click in the first key field and type 0x (that first letter is a zero, then, without a space between, the Network Equivalent Password you got from the AirPort Admin Utility and wrote down. (For the technically inclined, the Network Equivalent Password is a hexadecimal string, and Ox is a signal to the Lucent software to treat the characters following as a hex string rather than alphanumeric characters.)

Credit where credit is due: I first came across the 0x trick in a forum on the excellent MacFixIt web site, where it was pointed out by a user going by the handle asxless. I later found the same information in the Lucent settings app's online help.

Configuring the Apple Base Station without a Mac

Although, as noted above, Apple doesn't provide Windows software for configuring the AirPort base station, in theory it should be possible to do so, and I know of pieces of software designed to do the trick.

One is the KarlNet Configurator (currently v. 3.54). KarlNet is a Columbus, Ohio, company that claimed in a Dec. 31, 1999, press release that Apple and Lucent had turned to it for help in developing some features of the AirPort products. Apple's AirPort product manager refused to confirm this claim when I asked about it, but I assume it's true.

But in the same conversation the AirPort product manager, Robin Witty, also said that no non-Apple software could be counted on to configure the AirPort base station correctly and reliably in all cases. I didn't really believe that either, but indeed when I tried the KarlNet Configurator from a Windows notebook, I couldn't get it to recognize my Airport base station at all.

Of course, you might have better luck.

The other AirPort configurator I know of is the AirPort Base Station Configurator developed by Jon Sevy of the Geometric and Intelligent Computing Lab at Drexel University.

It's written in Java, and according to the author it " should run on any platform with a Java 1.2-compliant runtime environment installed, permitting the configuration of a base station from any host." That includes not only Windows, but also Mac and Unix systems.

Sevy has updated the program three times since he first posted it on April 28. That's a good sign, in terms of the developer's commitment to getting it right, but it also suggests that the program is still a work in progress.

Personally, I haven't yet had time to try it, nor have I asked Apple about it, for what that would be worth. But if any of you try it, let me know how it works out.

Good Luck

That goes for other discoveries you make, too - I'm interested in how it goes. I don't promise to keep sending out updates or supplements to this document - I don't have the time, nor am I paid to do stuff like this - but I might pass along major developments. Or perhaps one of you would like to set up a mailing list?

In any case, I hope this much helps you get started in the joys of cross-platform wireless networking. Good luck!

Henry Norr (
San Francisco Chronicle
May 10, 2000
Copyright 2000 by Henry Norr.
You're free to post or redistribute any or all of this article for noncommercial use only, and subject to the following restrictions: You must credit it to Henry Norr and include this copyright note, Henry Norr's e-mail address, and the date of the document's publication.

Reader Reports

The most recent reports are at the bottom of the page.

Using Airport to share DSL link. June 6, 2000 -- Nate Caplin explains how he uses AirPort BaseStation to share a DSL line with both wireless and Ethernet computers:

I've been happily using an Apple AirPort Base Station not only as a wireless access point, but as a cable/DSL router to share my Roadrunner service among both AirPort-enabled PowerBooks AND desktops Macs via standard Ethernet. Essentially, the AirPort Base Station is a full-fledged Ethernet-to-Ethernet [bridge] (besides just Ethernet-to-wireless or modem-to-wireless).

Note that in the AirPort Admin Utility, you must check the option to assign addresses on the Ethernet segment, too. The only other trick to get it to work properly is that when you first power everything up, you must turn on your cable/DSL modem first, then the AirPort Base Station, then any computers. This way, the AirPort Base Station obtains the IP address that the cable modem gives it via DHCP, and then all other devices on the network receive their IP address from the AirPort Base Station via DHCP. The AirPort uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to give out "fake" internal address such as, etc. It all works like a charm and makes the purchase of a so-called cable/DSL router entirely unnecessary. It also makes it unnecessary to purchase additional IP addresses from your ISP. Roadrunner, for example, charges an extra $10/month for a second IP address.

I find it surprising that Apple doesn't promote this feature in its marketing literature, especially given the hot market for SOHO cable/DSL modems that by themselves sell for $200-$300, almost as much as an AirPort Base Station.

Mike Searer
June 23

Currently using the 3Com 802.11 card with the AirPort (since it was cheapest I could find - though your Dell find beats mine by some). Any 802.11 card should work -- a recent article in PC Magazine lists several cards.

The Java control program works GREAT. Okay, could use some polish but it does what it needs to. I was able to configure the AirPort [Base Station] as a bridge, which allows me to get laptop my IP addresses from my DHCP server on the other side of the AirPort. I was quite happy to find the Java program since I don't own any other Apple products other than Airport.

My wife is appreciative of not having to trip over the long Ethernet wires I used to drape across the floors from my home office.

Michael Perbix
June 23

We have been using the Airport 1.1 with both PC's and Macs using both the Lucent Wavelan silver card and the Airport cards. One thing I noticed is that after you set up the network from a Mac, you must save the configuration, then go BACK into the base station config and look up the Password Equiv. to use with the lucent card. Without this, you get the wrong password equiv. 8-). Took me awhile to catch this, but with the recent firmware, the Lucent card works directly with Airport 1.1 drivers and software with 9.04. With anything older (previous than 9.0) you need to use the Lucent drivers, this also works. And from Windows, I tested Windows 95/98/NT to work wonderfully. One note on NT, I was using a Compaq Armada and had to disable the Card services for the Lucent card to even function.

But other laptops with 95/98 worked first try. Also from Windows 98 using VPC using the AirPort wireless connection for networking, I confirmed using the Karlnet Configuration utility to access the base stations (we have 3 so far).

Also it is my understanding that you can open the Base Station and replace the internal card with a Lucent GOLD card and get 128 bit encryption, however I have not tried that personally. It would be nice for Apple to offer a 128 bit version. But overall, roaming access and cross platform compatibility has been excellent!

Kevin Bolduan
June 23

We bought an AirPort Base Station before we even had any Macs that could use it, just PCs. We chose the Lucent Orinoco Silver card for our Micron PC laptop, and everything was working just great.

The one issue we found was that when tried to put a Windows 2000 Professional laptop onto the wireless network. Under Windows 2000 the card worked great - as long as the Airport wasn't doing DHCP or NAT. If we manually assigned an IP to the Windows 2000 laptop (and configured the Base Station not to do any addressing), it picked up the signal from the Airport without incident. But using either of the dynamic IP-assignment options in the Airport Admin Utility (running on a Mac), Windows 2000 wouldn't see it.

Oh well - not that big of a deal, but something to consider. I'd wonder, too, if anyone has had success using the Airport Base Station, DHCP (and/or NAT), and Windows 2000.

Airport 1.2 + Lucent Firmware/Software 6.04 /6.0 + Win98 +MediaOne cable = OK

Adam Glick
July 6, 2000

Just set the above up for my neighbors. Had a bit of a problem with the AirPort initially, but decided to do the AirPort 1.2 update from my Mac and check it's settings with the Admin utility. The java configurator unfortunately doesn't show show the current IP info from the upstream ISP and also doesn't seem to have the same explicit checkbox "Enable bridging of the ethernet port" (off for this config). NAT works fine. The Lucent updates are definitely crucial since the recently ordered boards from MacConnection were still the WaveLan Silvers with version 4.1 firmware and software. Range seems to be very good.

AirPort and JAVA Configurator and the 3COM Airconnect card

July 10, 2000

Olaf von Rein about Jon Sevy's AirPort Base Station Configurator for setting up Apple's AirPort Base Station from a PC. He also reports on using the 3COM Airconncect 802.11b card with AirPort and other topics.

I use a TECRA laptop with a 3COM Airconncect 802.11b card which talks to an Airport to provide dial-up Internet service and LAN printing (I have a cheapo Epson printer and use an Axis print-server gizmo - very cost-effective).

First, Jon Sevy's JAVA Configurator is the business - no doubt. Reading some of the postings to the Apple board, I would suggest that even Apple users use it. (In fact, I'd suggest Apple buy it and pitch the AirPort as a cross-market product; as your site correctly states, it is one of the most competitive access points about). Apple' software appears to mess about with the modem string, etc., on the Mac, making life hard for folks with unusual line configurations. The JAVA Configurator does not, giving you more flexibility with configuration.

(I found Jon's support very responsive: There existed certain problems with the International modem settings which he promptly resolved.)

Second, the Airconnect card works very well on the physical layer. But I suspect there are still problems with the driver: I had to re-install the 3COM driver on numerous occasions after my TCP stack simply packed up for no good reasons. This may be linked to my changing the power settings for the card in their config, but I haven't prooved it. I have now left the power settings alone, and the card works perfectly with the AirPort.

Third, 3COM is just beginning to ship its 40-bit encryption software and I can report that it does NOT work together with the AirPort. I am presently trying to establish whether this is a problem with 3COM's driver, Sevy's Configurator or the AirPort.

Four, you are right to point out that folks don't necessarily need an access point. That a PC does just as well. However, I'd rather have an access point than a LAN server because my AirPort requires zero maintenance whereas my laptop (and a LAN server is no different) requires a reboot every 10 days at the latest.

But there is a REAL problem with all of today's access points, Airport included, on networks without a LAN server (such as mine): today's low-cost peripherals all come with USB interfaces. I cannot find a single manufacturer that would offer a LAN-to-USB hub. A future design for a next generation AirPort should probably be based around a USB rather than an Ethernet port (or, preferably, offer both).

In conclusion, it may well be cheaper to buy a second computer as an access point so that you can run USB peripherals, rather than using a dedicated access point and then having to spend incrementally on LAN-to-whatever servers. Or not being able to get these devices at all for any money, as is my situation at present.

Mac/PC use of 802.11b WEP encryption (AirPort and 3COM)

July 17, 2000 --
Tom Willis

Just a quick word about encryption on the 3COM and Airport products; I've got the Airport 1.2 utilities and firmware, and the 3COM encryption-enabled 1.2 ditto. Windows 98/ME and the 3COM card, iMac (OS 9.0.4) and the Apple card, plus 3COM AirConnect and Airport base stations. I have both types of client talking to both types of base station, using 40-bit encryption.

Encryption works fine. Make sure the 3COM AirConnect base station and adapter are set to use Key 1 as their WEP key, and place the hex Network Equivalent Password value in the key 1 slot.

I had major problems getting this going, until I decided to put the hex key as key 1 on the 3COM AirConnect base and card settings. The Mac products (software and firmware) only seem to use key 1 (and I deduce that the key index is part of the negotiation protocol). I haven't tried using the Karlnet utility to set the other key slots on the Airport Base Station, but that might be a workaround.

I found your "Network equivalent password" setting myself, and would have saved 3 hours' effort if I'd met your description first - so you did a good job!

TIP: AirPort encryption with a 3COM Airconnet base station

September 29, 2000
Darryl Lee

Hi, I wrote before about not being able to get encryption working on AirPort cards with the 3COM AirConnect base station.

Tom Willis recounts getting both types of clients (Apple and 3COM) working with both base stations. [See directly above.] But he neglects a *key* piece of information.

On the 3COM base station, you enter the WEP password as a 10-digit hex key, like: 00010 20304.

The problem is, I couldn't figure out how to enter a 10-digit hex key as a "password" for the Apple Airport card. That is, until I started digging around in the Apple Tech Exchange forum for Airport. There I found a very useful tip from "asxless". To wit:

On the Airport card, you *can* explicitly set a 10-digit key by entering it as $0001020304

(Otherwise, any text you type in as a "password" will get magically hashed into the 10-digit hex key that you would see using the "Network Equivalent Password" option in the Base Station software.)

This is *critical* information for getting encryption working on Airport cards that are trying to connect to non-Airport base stations.

Another thing I learned just today in trying to test this with another user: It doesn't work unless you've got Airport client software rev. 1.2.

Brad King
December 15, 2000

I have a WL100 ( the PC Card) version and had no problem getting it to work -- at least in unencrypted mode. I think that the AirPort Base Station does only 40 bit and the Compaq card does 64 or 128 bit. Otherwise the card seems to work just fine. After matching the SSID between the base station and the card it worked immediately.

More on setting up PCs; and, limitations of Lucent's PCI board

August 3, 2000 -- Todd Anello's sent in a report about using AirPort wireless networking with Windows machines. Anello describes how he set up the PCs. In his report mentions that Lucent 's PCI version of its WaveLAN IEEE 802.11 adapter only runs in motherboards that contain only PCI slots:

Here is what I was able to do:

Advice for beginners: setting up a X-platform wireless network

August 10, 2000 -- Karen Arms just installed a cross-platform wireless network, and has some tips for beginners. She describes how to get the correct Lucent adapter, configuring it (she says "Installing the adapter and Orinoco card in the PC is a nightmare if you're Windows-illiterate") and setting up Miramar's PC MacLAN wirelessly for file sharing.

Thanks to Henry Norr and everyone who took the time to write about cross-platform wireless networking. There's so little literature on this. I've never even used a network before, so I thought we might as well leap straight into the 21st century. After a week of useless fiddling, I was about to raise the white flag until I found John Rizzo's article in MacAddict referring me to Today, we have a wireless network in our small office.

We had 2 goals: for people with PCs to be able to use our company database, which is hosted on our most powerful computer, a Mac, and for everyone to share one Internet connection. Now we have laptops and a PC equipped with Orinoco cards working on the database on a Mac with an AirPort, all of them using one Internet connection via an AirPort base station.

Apple AirPort 1.2, AirPort base station, Orinoco Silver Card with Lucent Firmware/software 6.04/6.0, Win 95, Miramar PC MacLAN, no encryption.

Tips for beginners:

Computer consultants, friends, and relatives were ignorant, irritating, and unhelpful. Our local Windows expert thought it couldn't be done wirelessly, a Miramar tech said the same, a relative in a university computer science department said it could be done but he didn't know how and wouldn't give me the name of the person who knew (your tax dollars at work), a Lucent tech was rude and unhelpful. The exception was Joe Colonna at Microwarehouse: he exchanged parts and called people for advice; for a while there he seemed like my only friend.

First step is to set up the Mac to access the Internet wirelessly via AirPort and base station. That's all in the AirPort manual, but I managed to crash the base station. Resetting it didn't work until I found an obscure corner of AirPort Help that said if all else fails, connect the AirPort to a Mac by an Ethernet crossover cable and use AirPort Admin.

That worked.

Murphy's Law: you'll get the wrong Lucent adapter for the PC. A reminder that if the PC has both PCI and ISA slots, you need the ISA adapter, NOT the PCI adapter.

Installing the adapter and Orinoco card in the PC is a nightmare if you're Windows-illiterate like me. Keep trying. When you think you've got it working, run WaveMANAGER CLIENT IEEE, in the tools folder on the Lucent CD. What a thrill to see the radio waves wiggling across the screen! I fiddled with orientation, ran the microwave, and experimented with things that affect the strength of the signal.

Now you only have to figure out the networking and PC/Mac software. The relationships between TCP/IP, Ethernet, AppleTalk, protocols, clients, etc. were a mystery to me. For those equally ignorant: The wireless network mimics a wired Ethernet.

You need a unique IP address for each unit. Apple assigns these to the base station and Macs, (although you may need to change some of them if you have a lot of Macs), but you have to assign them to the PCs.

The Mac OS recognizes PC files, of course, but the PC doesn't recognize Mac files, so we bought Miramar's PC MacLan and use it to run AppleTalk on the PC.

It's GREAT when you get it up and running. Good luck. You'll need it.

Problems with Compaq cards

September 6, 2000 -- D. J. Williams has been unsuccessful in getting a Compaq wireless card to communicate on a cross-platform wireless network:

I have an Apple Airport running 1.2 happily working with several WaveLan cards, but seem to be unable to get a Compaq WL200 802.11b to communicate at all in this network, and I have their latest drivers and firmware.

A suggestion:

December 19, 2000 --
Clive Moss

We have 2 of them but they wouldn't even talk to each other properly (only 8 feet apart). Had updated the firmware and software but no luck.

I got the WL200's working here after much effort. I've just discovered that I have to use the PCI-to-PCMCIA-Bridge driver that comes with Win95 and NOT the one that comes with Compaq's drivers (although I'm not sure the Compaq install actually installs a PCI-to-PCMCIA-Bridge driver into the system).

I'm not sure what OS you tried using the WL200 in but if it's Win95 just use the 'UPDATE DRIVER' button in the PCMCIA devices properties and use the standard Cirrus Logic one that comes with Win95 !

I'm a bit happier now.

Tip: Disabling encryption on Lucent cards, replacing Dell drivers with Aironet drivers

September 25, 2000 --
Charles Johnson found it difficult to disable encryption on his Dell PCs with Lucent cards connected to a wireless network via an AirPort Base Station.

Thanks to the excellent advice in your article, my office now has 4 laptops running with Dell 4800LT cards and one apple Airport Base Station. It's running like a champ, but my odyssey was a long one.

First, your article mentions that one should disable encryption on the cards and on the airport. Well, thanks to the airport configurations software for initial setup and later a little help from FreeBase, getting encryption turned off at the base station was easy.

What you don't mention is that getting encryption turned off using the Dell drivers is nigh impossible, and they've fixed whatever error your author encountered with the installation CD. I was nearing the end of my rope and ready to throw the towel in when I decided to try the drivers for the 4800 series by Aironet. Lo and behold, not only did they work, but in a side-by-side comparison they are actually FASTER than the Dell drivers. Further, the utilities set that is available on Aeronet's site for these cards allows you to disable encryption with just one click. Bingo, provisioned, bingo, IP routing.

Also, you might want to note that with encryption enabled, the cards will provision correctly with an AirPort Base Station, but refuse to route packets.

Now that the pilot program's been a success, time to go buy a couple dozen Lucent Golds and upgrade the place to 128bit.

Windows CE works on Airport wireless network

October 9, 2000 -- George Goldmark reports that he is using a Jornada 820 Windows CE machine to communicate with the Internet through an AirPort Base Station linked to a cable modem connection. (Also on the net is an 8500, iBook, and iMac). Goldmark says:

I recently purchased a wireless Orinoco PC card for my Jornada 820 handheld running WindowsCE. (Orinoco drivers are available for the WindowsCE OS).

With just a small glitch ( I had to do a hard reboot of the Jornada), I am now able to run Explorer on the Jornada ,wirlessly communication with the Airport network. This handheld has a great color screen (although small), long battery life, and with no CD or HD drives is very light. At a cost of $170, the card was a great deal. Orinoco Tech support was also helpful in getting me on line.

Airport and satellite Internet access

Macworld has an article by Christopher Breen that details the software and hardware configuration of the StarBand Internet satellite connection with Macs and Windows PCs. Part 2 of the article is here.

October 9, 2000 -- Stephen Pike wants to use AirPort Base Station to share a Direct PC satellite Internet connection with Macs and PCs with a SatServ software router. He is looking for advice, and we are curious about this. If you've had experience with Internet satellite connections, please let us know. His setup:

I am in the process of setting up a small network of one Presario desktop, one Presario laptop, one G4 and two G3 PowerBooks connected to a Direct PC satellite USB modem. I have been using only Macs in the house until this latest project which required a Windows 98 platform and a broadband connection. Living on an island left us with little choice other than a Direct PC satellite connection for down link and modem for up link. The satellite sub modem is connected to the desk top Presario and the lap top is connected to the desk top by way of an Asante friendly net Ethernet hub, Using SatServ software router this works OK at present but is only the initial stage of the project, My next intention is to connect the desk top Presario to my Mac/Airport system. The AirPort has worked flawlessly with the two G3's using Lucent cards and the Presario lap top using a Farallon. Do you have any advice before taking this next step or, do you know of anyone with a similar situation?

I plan to remove my small Asante hub and plug the Ethernet cable into the larger Asante hub on the Mac network. I will change the AirPort to receive from the Ethernet cable. If I am extremely fortunate the whole thing will work with the SatServ software router.

Any suggestions would be very much welcomed.

January 4, 2001
John Mendenhall

I am a pilot tester for StarBand, the 2-way satellite Internet service. I have 2 PC's and 2 Mac's currently on an Ethernet LAN, and I wanted to put my wife's computer, about 80 feet across the house, into the network without stringing cable, which presents difficulties in my house.

I got the Lucent Orinoco system: Residential Gateway 1000 (which is the receiver, and plugs directly into the wired LAN), ISA adapter card, and PCMCIA card. The distance claims are so inflated they ought to be illegal. No way could I maintain a connection at that distance. If I strung the RG-1000 halfway down the house and had line-of-sight between my wife's PC and the unit, I could get maybe 40 feet, and that only if I left the side cover off the PC. That, of course, defeated my purpose altogether.

However, if I used the wireless with a laptop, range was better, and when you're in range the system is absolutely flawless, perfect, wonderful and problem-free using either a Mac or a PC. The Orinoco documentation is not so hot, and I ended up with a successful connection by accident, and probably couldn't do it again any faster than I did it before. The Orinoco system has to operate as a bridge, without any DHCP or any other capabilities, and the client PC has to be proxied to the host PC within the network--all connected clients have a 192.168.0.x permanent addy, with the host being .1.

The Starband system is now shipping as a "modem" unit that is independent of a PC (it has the send and receive satellite cards in it) and the network setup is a little different but easy enough. On this system the download speeds on host and client are fantastic, the upload speeds could be better.

It is my understanding as I write this that DirecPC has just announced general availability of its two-way service (it has traditionally been phone-out satellite-in). My advice: wait a while on DirecPC. There is a tremendous number of bugs that has to be worked out. The Starband system has worked out most but not all of them in the many months I've been involved with it.

In short, if you can get the system to work through walls, etc.--and there's no way to find out until you've spent the money--it's an excellent solution. Satellite Internet, I should say, is not for everybody. Cable and DSL are cheaper and sometimes faster, particularly on upload. Lag time is significant enough that VOI protocols don't work yet, though it's said they may soon, and Internet shoot-em-up gaming is now and forever impossible. It takes a while to send a signal 22,000 miles to the satellite, have the satellite send it 22,000 miles to the server, upload it another 22k to the satellite, and send it another 22k to me.

StarBand satellite connection, AirPort Base Station, 2 iBooks and a PC

February 20, 2001
Bill Hanson writes from the wilds of Montana about how he connected two iBooks and a PC to a StarBand satellite Internet connection via an AirPort Base Station:

The AirPort is linked to the Dell "server", an old Pentium Pro 200 MHz (the StarBand PC), running Windows 2000 Professional via 10BaseT cable. Cable from AirPort to simple hub. Cable from hub to simple NIC on the Dell. StarBand 180 modem is hooked to Dell by USB.

The best online lead I've found was the StarBand home networking FAQ.

The absolute key is to set the three software components from the Mac side using static IP's. The sequence of the three, configure base station, setup Internet, and setup TCP/IP is still unclear to me, but fiddling will do it. The other key is to configure the NIC on the StarBand PC with a static IP - actually you have to use which is an IP reserved for closed local networks. You do this with the Properties dialog box on the NIC in the StarBand PC. The StarBand home networking FAX has good instructions on setting up WinProxy. It all actually works really well. I live in the sticks 20 miles from Bozeman MT and we've had 33K DUN. Just now I downloaded a 7.5 MB file to the iBook I'm using in my living room (the AirPort and PC are in the basement) in about 3.5 minutes. Don't give up. Now I have to setup my wife's iBook. Good luck. It's cool.

AirPort and microwave Internet access, with VPN.

October 10, 2000
Garry Kline sent

Having recently moved beach-side in Daytona Beach, FL , I found my choices of broadband slim to none. I managed to find a wireless dealer that provides both satellite and microwave based service at a fraction of the cost of LAN based systems. I opted for the microwave solution, however this may apply to your situation as well. In order to VPN to our corporate network via DreamWeaver Ultra Dev running on the PowerBook (FireWire), I needed to have the following things in place:
  1. Have a 10/100 Ethernet PCI card in the Compaq Presario to share the ISP connection coming in on a Cisco Aironet PCI card.
  2. Connect the PC 10/100, the AirPort Base Station, and the PowerMac 8500 to the Ethernet hub.
  3. Configure the free Analog X software ( on the PC to act as the proxy server at
  4. Manually set the IP of the BaseStation to and act only as an Ethernet bridge.
  5. Set the PowerBook IP to (router set to and the PM8500 to (router set to DNS is the same as the PC connected to the service provider. 

    With Secure Remote enabling VPN connectivity on the PC, I can access any corporate network resources through the proxy server on any of the Macs. The shared connection is also available running OS X Public Beta via AirPort ; contrary to documentation from Apple. OS X forum outlines that workaround.

    On a side note &endash; I should mention that I had to edit the Windows registry to get the maximum throughput. Default settings in Windows 98 limited bandwidth to about 30K/sec up/download.

Mac-less AirPort setup

October 24, 2000 -- Joseph Barnett sent us a detailed report on how he configured an AirPort BaseStation wireless network without any Macs, using PC configuration software:

I'm on a university 100BaseT Ethernet network, and I just spent the past few hours setting up and fiddling with my AirPort set up, and finally got it right.

Hardware-wise, I've got a desktop w/ 2 network cards connected to an apple airport using a crossover cable, and an IBM ThinkPad laptop with a Cabletron Systems wireless networking card.

So I plugged everything in, and tried using the Java Configurator. It saw the airport, but when I copied in the IP address, it failed to find a response... FreeBase, however, told me to reassign the address, and I did so, to, since I'm running an AnalogX Proxy server bound to (which is the IP address I fed my second network card). set up the routing and DHCP stuff on the AirPort using the Java Configurator because the FreeBase interface looked kinda strange. (Transparent bridging, IP of and router of with a subnet of DNS to the same as the desktop.

Then went over to my laptop, set up the CableTron card's ip to, gateway to, subnet to, DNS to the same as the desktop. in various Apps, set up to use proxy of with the proper port (see proxy docs on what exactly to use).

More Mac-less AirPort setup: updating AirPort Base Station from a PC

December 29, 2000 -- A reader asked how one could update the firmware of an AirPort Base Station without a Mac. Michael Perbix says that you can use FreeBase running on a PC:

Freebase has the ability to upload Macintosh Airport Firmware right from the Identity tab when you start freebase. Click on the Update Base Station Firmware button and point it to a Base Station software file (you can copy it to a server, zip disk or something) to freebase utility sees it and loads it up, when you press the Update Base Station button, it does the job. I tried it and it works, actually the Freebase utility has a little more configuration options, like microwave robustness and the like which are not available from Airport Admin Utility.

Aironet and Orinoco with an Apple AirPort Base Station.

October 31, 2000 --Vihung Marathe sent in a report of setting up an AirPort network with Macs and PCs. He reports "unhelpful" support from Lucent and Dell and helpful support from Aironet/Cisco:

I had an existing wired network consisting of an old Mac and two PCs -one running Services for Macintosh under Windows NT Server. A recent acquisition of a new Apple G4 with an Airport card and an Airport base station got me thinking of removing the wires.

The G4 setup was an absolute breeze...I was able throw away the Ethernet cable with ease in about 15 minutes.

The PC's were a bit harder.

I ordered a WaveLAN Silver card and a PCI adapter. Installing it on a Dell Precision 210 running Windows 2000 had me tearing my hair out. After installing the card, Windows 2000 automatically detected it and installed the drivers. It recognized it as a WaveLAN PCI card, but it kept saying that the Network Cable was unplugged. At first I thought it was out of range. I tried moving the base station and the PC around to see if that would help. Then I thought that maybe I had the wrong drivers - I downloaded new drivers. For some reason, these would often prevent the machine from booting at all. I even tried installing it under Windows NT (I had another partition with Windows NT on it), thinking that they might not have proper Windows 2000 support yet. It just didn't work.

That is, until I read your article and found out that I probably needed the ISA adapter instead of the PCI one. I had called up Lucent once around about the same time. They were very very unhelpful and rude - they basically told me to RTFM and not pester them any more! Apparently there is a little insert in the manual, that I either did not get or had mislaid, that said that if you have a PC with ISA slots, you MUST use the ISA adapter. I don't understand why they couldn't they say so EXPLICITLY on their website, and in the product info on their reseller's websites? Had they done that I would NEVER have bought that one. I had looked around their site and MacConnection's product info quite a lot before actually placing the order.

Anyway, once I found out that little piece of information, setup was a cinch - I bought and installed the ISA card, booted up, installed the card drivers and the WaveLAN drivers, set the IP address and rebooted.

It was now time to try the third machine - a Dell Optiplex running Windows NT. Having read your article, I decided to see what Dell had to say about wireless networking. They too were surprisingly unhelpful, though they were not rude. The representative I spoke to did not know that Aironet works with Apple Base Stations. In fact, he specifically said that they would not work, because it didn't say so in his literature.

The people at Aironet/Cisco, however, were VERY helpful. The sales representative said that although they don't officially support it, they did know that their cards work with Airport Base Stations.

So with that information, and having decided not to go with Lucent based on my previous experience, I ordered the Aironet card. This setup was also very easy. In both cases, I never had to do any configuration, like setting the Network ID etc. although the documentation said I would need to.

Also, the Aironet card seems to have the best range - probably because of the longer antenna. Airport is the worst in that respect - maybe because it uses the computer case as an antenna.

That just leaves my old Mac now - a five-year-old Motorola StarMax 3000/200 Mac clone. I have a Lucent PCI adapter spare (though no PCMCIA card yet) and I might try installing it if I can build up the courage. But as of now, I am happy with having that one wired.

Configuring TechWork's AirStation from a Web browser.

November 22, 2000

TechWorks' AirStation is an access point similar in function and price to the Apple AirPort Base Station. It can be configured from a web browser. Bruce Reilly, marketing manager at TechWorks, sent us this note about configuring AirStation:

The AirStation configures through whatever browser the user has. The default IP of the AirStation is and subnet is The user sets his IP to and subnet to then the user types in the URL of in their browser and the AirStation firmware comes up. This is when the user is connecting wirelessly or is wired to the AirStation. Once the firmware comes up in the browser, all functions of the AirStation may be configured.

Airstation's NAT can be disabled via web browser; works well

December 4, 2000 --
Wil Doane

I'm using an AirStation (Cable/DSL Model (WLAR-L11)) on the Hampshire College campus to provide wireless networking in the Cognitive Science department, and, it's been working like a charm.

I confirmed with their tech people that that NAT features could be disabled thru the standard web browser setup, thus making it, in effect, just like the Standard model....Simple setup, easy integration with our network (i.e. turning off the NAT/DHCP features of the AirStation so that the campus DHCP server would do the job.)

In another situation, a cable modem user in western Massachusetts was unable to get an Apple Airport [Base Station] to work properly with the broadband connection... the connection would drop for 30-60 seconds, work for 2 minutes, drop, work, drop, etc. The AirStation just works for him.

(More on AirStation here)

X-platform wireless networking with a Linux Internet gateway and DSL/PPPoE

November 28, 2000 --
Richard Stovall

I have a home network which has a couple of PCs and a Macintosh sharing a DSL connection through a dedicated Linux firewall. The PCs (1 desktop, 1 laptop) use good 'ol Ethernet to communicate with the firewall. The Mac has an AirPort card and talks to an Apple Base Station which functions as a wireless-to-Ethernet bridge. The system works flawlessly.

I know you can use the Apple Base Station as a NAT device, but my DSL provider uses the PPPoE protocol for connecting and assigning an IP to the gateway machine. I am currently using the Roaring Penguin PPPoE client on the Linux box. (Unsupported by the isp, but works like a charm.)

I'm thinking of putting a wireless card in the PC desktop and moving the firewall to the basement. I'm definitely going to put a wireless PC card in the laptop. (Why, I don't know, but the freedom to roam is so enticing...) Finally, I have configured the Macintosh and the Base Station to have manually assigned IP addresses.

AirPort and DSL

Below are several reports of different configurations of PCs using DSL Internet Connections with AirPort Base Station

Windows VPN/IPSec connection over DSL with Apple Airport Base Station

December 4, 2000 -- John DeRosa is running an IPSec Virtual Private Network client on a Windows PC using AirPort over a DSL connection. He ran into a problem and describes how he solved it:

I have the following setup. Airport 1.2, Windows 2000 with Lucent Orinoco Gold card with V6.14 firmware. I have DSL service from Rhythms with a Cisco 675 router. The router provides me with 3 DHCP addresses and 2 fixed addresses. I also have 3 Macs.

I used the default Airport configuration which picks up a DHCP address from the Cisco router and then uses NAT to provide DHCP addresses to my wireless client. This all works great to get to the Internet.

The problem comes in when I try to this setup to work with my company's VPN client with uses IPSec. To get this to work I had to change the Airport into a bridge. This is done by using the Airport Admin tool:

  • Go to the Network tab.
  • Uncheck the "Distribute IP address" check box.
  • DO NOT use the "Enable Airport to Ethernet bridging" check box. This is to allow AppleTalk to pass through the Airport.

Mac and Win 98 PC share ADSL/PPPoE connection via AirPort

December 4, 2000 -- One reader is sharing a PPPoE ADSL connection between a Mac PowerBook and Win 98 Vaio laptop., using the AirPort Base Station , which doesn't support PPPoE. This reader says he uses a Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL router, a small piece hardware. However, he can't get network encryption (WEP) to work:

My Mac PowerBook and Win 98 Vaio laptop share PPPoE ADSL connection via AirPort. I thought it would never work, but with the right parts, the setup is simple. The laptops communicate with the AirPort Base Station using standard 802.11 wireless Ethernet PC cards (AirPort in the Mac, Linksys Instant Wireless in the Vaio). The config was pretty much plug-and-play for connecting both machines to the base station:
  • The AirPort Base Station is connected to a router.
  • The router is connected to a DSL modem.
  • The DSL modem is connected to the wall (i.e. phone line).

AirPort itself doesn't support PPPoE, so the key to making this work is the Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL router which I've configured with my ISP's required TCP/IP address and on which runs a PPPoE client and DHCP (although the base station is also running DHCP and is assigning the LAN IP addresses to the wireless laptops). The router is also running a web server and the configuration tool is web-based and accessible from any local machine with a web browser. The PPPoE client has a "connect on demand" setting so the dial-up is totally transparent -- I never have to use WinPoET or MacPoET again (good riddance!).

The only thing I can't seem to get to work is network encryption (WEP). I'm guessing the Linksys PC card encryption and the AirPort encryption aren't compatible. This is a little scary because now adding wireless machines to my network and using the DSL connection is just a matter of getting them in range. Adding fixed Ethernet machines would just require a simple hub between the AirPort base station and the router.

Win2k PPPoE DSL Internet connection via AirPort

January 4, 2001 -- Johannes Kratz sent us step-by-step instructions on setting up a wireless network using Apple AirPort Base Station with Windows 2000 and a Mindspring/EarthLink PPPoE DSL connection using an Orinoco Gold LAN card:

1. Plugged in my Apple AirPort without attaching the Ethernet cable connection to my DSL modem.

2. Downloaded the Java based PC base station configurator.

3. Using the configurator, I retrieved AirPort's default settings, then changed them to the following settings:

a. Under main tab, I left the Base Station name the same.

b. Under wireless LAN settings, I named my network ANY, and left everything else unchecked.

c. Under network connection, I clicked on connect to network through Ethernet port, and selected DHCP configuration of base station.

d. Under bridging functions, I selected provide DHCP address allocation, and unchecked the distribute Ethernet addresses on Ethernet port, too box.

e. I left the other tabs blank. (If the settings cannot be retrieved, refer to the bottom of the html help file included with the configurator. Manually changing my IP address worked for me. Just be sure to change them back once you are done. Also, I have found that trying to retrieve settings when the Ethernet network cable is plugged in does not work).

4. Update the Base Station.

5. After updating the Base Station, turn off you computer. Unplug your AirPort from the power supply, plug-in your Ethernet cable and reconnect the power supply. Restart your computer.

6. If you're not using the PPPoE client, NTS EtherNet 100, you can download it. Create a new connection, but select "Orinoco PC Card" under the select a device option in the last dialog box.

Hopefully, those steps will work for you as they did for me. Good luck.

Lucent Orinoco Gold Card, Apple Airport and WEP. December 4, 2000 -- John DeRosa

Background: I am using Airport 1.2 and Orinoco Gold card with firmware V6.14.

First, thanks for your information about using the Airport with a Lucent Orinoco card. I was trying to get WEP working and your information lead me to understand how to determine the "Network Equivalent Password" which worked like a champ.

I am writing to let you know that it worked great with my Orinoco Gold card (128 bit). I thought I'd let you know because you state that you were not sure that the gold card would work in 40 bit mode.

Also you mention in your update that you need to write down the "Network Equivalent Password" only after you update the Airport access point. I may be wrong but it seems that the "Network Equivalent Password" changes even before the update is accomplished. Your mileage may vary.

PS - I also found that I didn't need to enter a network name.

Using AirPort software to configure Orinoco RG1000

December 19, 2000
Evan Wetstones

I've got an Orinoco RG1000 at the office and an AirPort at home. The RG1000 configuration tool requires an encryption key (5 characters) and does not provide any mechanism to enable or disable DHCP or NAT. I was concerned about configuring my AirPort to use the same encryption key as the RG1000. In searching the web, I found a reference that the RG1000 uses the same configuration protocol (KarlNet) as the AirPort. On a whim, I fired up the Java AirPort Base Station Configurator. It found the RG1000, and with the default community string of public, showed me the configuration. Even nicer is that you can configure the RG1000 directly with the AirPort configurator, changing the community string, DHCP/NAT settings, etc.

The RG1000 appears to require that the first 6 characters of the network name be the ID of the box (if you change the network name, it appears to overwrite the first 6 characters with the ID). Other than that, it works perfectly!

Replacing cable to get wireless to work

December 28 -- Philip Clark replaced a cable to solve a problem with the AirPort Base Station connecting a wired LAN:

I have searched for accurate information on configuring a home network with a Netgear Hub/Router/DSL using DHCP and a newly added AirPort. I came across your site. A single link to the Apple TIL archive helped me to understand that I need to use my AirPort Base Station as a bridge not a DHCP server...

An additional problem that I was unaware of was the CAT 5 wire that comes with the AirPort Base Station is not compatible with the RJ-45 connectors I placed in every room in my house. I swapped the wires for true CAT 5 and voilà it worked. Please forewarn your readers that the OEM wire that is shipped maybe inferior if you are hooking up to data jacks as opposed to a hub or router.

Tip: SkyLINE in PC and Apple AirPort Base Station

January 16, 2001
Ed K.

I have recently purchased a Farallon SkyLINE 11 Mbit PC card to network my ThinkPad via the AirPort Base Station. Driver install under Win 98 SE was problem free. Configuration was extremely easy. I did, however, end up calling their tech support.

When initially configuring the driver the manual suggests entering the exact name of the access point in the SSID field to ensure maximum compatibility. After having done so, the card could not establish a link with the AirPort Base. From speaking with a support rep I learned that the actual preferred setting (and the only one that worked for me) is not the Base name, but the default setting "ANY". As soon as I reset the driver to default config, the card immediately connected and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

RedHat Linux on AirPort network

January 26, 2001
Chris Bailey

I have an Airport Base Station with 1.2 version of software. I have the Base Station set up in bridging mode, so it's not doing DHCP or NAT, etc. It is connected to a hub, which is connected to my firewall and VPN box, which is connected to the cable modem. The hub also has five or so other computers connected to it (Mac, Windows, and Linux).

The Airport is currently only serving my laptop, which is a Sony VAIO PCG-Z505JS running Linux (currently RedHat 6.2, but with a 2.4.0 kernel, etc.). I'm using the Lucent Orinoco Gold card with it.

The Airport Base Station is configured with closed network, and using an encryption key (note, the less than 128 bit key of the Airport works fine with the Orinoco Gold cards, as others have reported). I also use this laptop at work, which uses some Lucent base station with 128 bit encryption key. The whole setup is really slick.

D-Link DWL-120 USB wireless NIC

January 26, 2001
Ron Postma

I just installed a D-Link DWL-120 USB 802.11 wireless NIC on a Gateway desktop to use with my AirPort Base Station. Once I got the driver to load properly the unit works perfectly. I have WEP enabled using the "Network Equivalent Password" the EESID is the network name. This is a USB unit it is very small about the size of a PCMCIA card. It has a pivoting antenna. I had problem getting the driver to load on a Gateway computer because the owner had installed Windows ME then removed it.

There must have been some driver mismatches. As soon as we reinstalled Windows ME the driver loaded and the card connected to the Airport Base. The only issue I have using D-Link is there customer service and documentation is horrid. But for $160 at this unit is a great and simple way to connect a USB Windows machine on an Apple AirPort network.

Problems with connectivity to Airport Base Station

March 6, 2001
Doug Harris

I'm using the Airport Base Station as the network access point to connect to my dialup Mindspring/Earthlink account. The phone line is plugged into the base station. I have an Orinoco/WaveLAN silver card in my Dell laptop which communicates with the Base Station under Windows ME and Linux.

The base station is connected by a short cat-5 cable to a small Linksys hub. Also hanging off of this hub is my desktop machine, which is also dual boot -- Win 98 and Linux.

Everything works fine, except Windows 98 on the desktop. It will work fine for 3-5 minutes, connecting through the base station to the outside world. But then it seems to forget how to use its gateway. I can still ping the base station and the laptop. Typing "route print" in a command window shows the same routing tables. If I walk away from the desktop for 20-30 min., it will work again when I return, but again only for 3-5 minutes.

March 8, 2001
Scott Sorensen

This problem is not unique to Windows 98. I had my blue and white G3 hooked up to a hub, which was hooked up to a base station. I too, had the problem of sporadic connectivity. I think the problem is with the Base Station software in this particular configuration. I have since installed a Farallon Skyline PCI/PC card combo in my G3 and it works just fine. No more wires!

March 9, 2001
Peppermint Pademelon

I alas am quite familiar with the symptoms described. I used the Airport's modem for about two months while waiting for DSL to be installed, and... well, it's not something I'd like to repeat.

The network in question was a fluctuating number of Windows 9x and Linux machines plugged into a hub hanging off the Ethernet port on the airport, and one Dell laptop, mostly running Linux, connected to it via a Lucent WaveLAN card. The laptop *always* worked,while the machines connected via the Ethernet port would periodically just, well, stop. Pinging away or just waiting for a few minutes would usually bring a connection back up for the Linux machines... which would eventually quit again, while Windows would usually give up for good. Occasionally, if I opened a persistent connection, such as an SSH link to an outside server, from one of the Ethernet connected machines it'd seem to stabilize it a bit, but I've got this sneaking suspicion that was just random chance.

To further tarnish the Airport's reputation, I'll mention that after getting the DSL line I tried to use it for a while to do 'one-armed NAT'... running the DSL connection through the same hub as the user machines, and having the Ethernet port on it do double-duty for internal and external connectivity.

(Doing this is generally safe, since the ISP's router will just drop packets that belong to 'internal' hosts only.) While a friend who does the same thing claims perfect success using the Airport in this manner, I found:

A: The bad connectivity to Ethernet hosts remained a problem, under Windows. Strangely enough, Linux seemed happier.

B: The Airport would occasionally crash. (Yes, crash) Generally what would push it over would be opening multiple FTP connections at once. Everything would stop, and I'd find the Airport with the Ethernet activity light stuck on. It'd take unplugging it to bring it back to life again.

The final solution to all this was to install NetBSD and a couple of cheapskate network cards on an old Cyrix 166+ machine and set up a 'real' NAT router. The Airport is now castrated down to being a dumb ethernet-wireless bridge hanging off the internal hub.

In short, I think it's fairly clear that the Airport's Ethernet port was designed with one thing in mind: talking to a DSL or cable modem, leaving the primary internal routing duties to the wireless card. It does that perfectly. Even though its software allows using the port for internal hosts, it's often buggy and broken when used that way. Perhaps it's a firmware issue that might be fixed at some point.

Anyway. Given this, I'm not quite sorry I bought the Airport, yet, but I'd be really cagey about recommending it to anyone else, given there are some comparatively priced alternatives on the market now.

Farallon SkyLine in Win 2000 works with AirPort

March 12, 2001
Max Dichter

I just bought the Farallon Skyline 11 and put it into my Compaq Presario running Windows 2000. It works like a charm. First off, the Farallon card can be had for about $145 at The list is almost $200 but I found plenty of places that had it for much cheaper. 

The only installation problem was getting the right driver for Windows 2000. I had to download it from their site. Once that was done, it installed with no problems, and worked immediately on my Airport. I am not using my AirPort as a DNS so I do not know if it will work if you decide to configure that way. Once again you have to uncheck encrypted mode on the AirPort for it to work. I noticed some documentation about using encryption, but I just don't care, so I did not even look into it.

Tip: Orinoco/PC setup with WEP on AirPort Base Station

March 14, 2001
Mike Sullivan sent this item about using a Lucent Orinoco Silver card on Apple AirPort Base Station / WEP On:

It is no longer necessary to enter a '0' (zero) prior to the Equivalent Network Password key copied from the Apple AirPort Admin Utility / Base Station / Equivalent Network Password menu. Just click the 'Use Alphanumeric Characters (0-9, a-z)' radio button and enter the 10-digit key given in the Apple dialog box.

This is with Orinoco Client Manager Variant 1, Version 1.18 software on the PC.

Advice for getting Compaq iPaq on an AirPort network

March 20, 2001 -- David Karlsson is using a Compaq iPaq Pocket PC on an AirPort network. Here's how he did it:

I was able to get an Ipaq with the Compaq WL1000 card working together with an AirPort Base Station. The trick is to use (on the Ipaq side) a setting called "infrastructure" in the cards config menu. The other two options in that section is 802.11 AdHoc and one I can´t recall.

TIP: Orinoco/Airport card and Intel Pro/Wireless

March 26, 2001
Chris Dollmont

The Intel Pro/Wireless WAP only allows a hexadecimal password for its WEP. Both the Orinoco control panel and the Airport control panel expect a password as an ASCII string. Here's what I've discovered:

1) On the Orinoco control panel, precede the string of hex digits with '0x'. If your Intel password is 3131313131, enter it as 0x3131313131.

2) On the Airport control panel, precede the string with a '$'. If your Intel password is 3131313131, enter is as $3131313131.

3) If you are using an Orinoco card because you have an older PowerBook (like me), you can use the Airport drivers and control panel (Airport cards are Orinoco Silver relabelled). The Airport drivers are a better choice because you get the control strip application and scripting abilities for easily switching between settings.

Dell TrueMobile 1150 and AirPort

March 26, 2001
Jim Hines

Is compatible with AirPort Base Station. I have WEP disabled (as per your suggestion) and haven't bothered trying with it on as I am using the ABS as a bridge from my Macsense router which (via NAT) provides a measure of security (I think).

Basically all I had to do was plug the card into the PCI slot and restart the machine (Dell Dimension 8100). Windows ME installed the drivers. I used the Internet configuration wizard for my email account info and I was online. I have since set the TCP/IP manually on this machine as well as the others.

I have one Mac G3 (without airport) and the Airport Base Station plugged into the router via Ethernet. The Base Station is configured from my PowerBook (with airport) and all three machines are sharing a ADSL connection.

WEB encryption works with Dell TrueMobile 1150

April 24, 2001
Jim Hines

You can report to your readers that WEP encryption works with the Dell TrueMobile 1150.

Thanks to Rus Maxham's April 16th report I took a chance at ruining my working wireless network and utilized the network equivalent password in the Airport 1.3 administration utility (Menu/toolbar).

Checked the enable WEP encryption check box, applied a new password, reestablished my connection to the network via the airport control panel, set the network equivalent password in the Dell TrueMobile Client Manager and it was done. It took me longer to type this letter.

There are those who say WEP encryption is tantamount to a placebo but hey, it's my placebo.

More on using the Dell TrueMobile 1150

September 4, 2001
Lance Lichtor

I thought I would share my final success in getting a Dell Latitude [notebook] with TrueMobile 1150 (Windows 2000) to link up to the Internet using an Airport Base Station. Before I go on, the person at Dell with whom I spoke said that this could not be done. Nonetheless, I finally found the MacWindows Cross-platform AirPort special report page, and knew there was some hope.

Based on what was in this article, I disabled encryption on the Mac side (although I did set up a closed network). When I did this, on the PC side, I saw that there was a radio connection, but I could not get my browser to connect to the Internet. Finally, when I selected start->settings->network and dialup connections->local area connection-> and then double clicked on Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and selected "obtain an IP address automatically" and "obtain DNS server address automatically", voilà .

Configuring Linksys card in PC and AirPort Base Station using WEP encryption

April 16, 2001 --
Rus Maxham

I was trying to set up a Dell laptop with a Linksys 802.11b PC Card to connect to an AirPort Base Station. I have the things I learned from getting it to work to contribute.

Base station config

Access control on: had to poke in the MAC address of the Linksys card into the AirPort admin software.

Encryption on: this was the trickiest part. Apple creates an encryption key in a way that isn't part of the 802.11b spec, so they take an ASCII passphrase and create the encryption key with it. Luckily, the AirPort admin software v1.3 has a menu item to display the encryption key to use with non-Airport cards. Entering this into the Encryption: Manual fields finally yielded a connection.

DHCP server off: the AirPort base station is just an airport Ethernet bridge. Our network has a DHCP server on it which serves out IP addresses internally

Linksys card config

SSID: had to manually type in the name of the AirPort network. This field is case sensitive It doesn't seem to be able to glean a list of network names out of the air. Lame.

Mode: Infrastructure -- this is cryptic. They had three choices:

Infrastructure, AdHoc, and AdHoc 802.11b. The AdHoc modes are for computer to computer connections, as it turns out, though this is *not* obvious. Infrastructure apparently means a preinstalled network base station.

Encryption: WEP, 40 bit key. The above mentioned encryption key extracted from the AirPort admin tool menu.

Then it all began working. It doesn't receive quite the signal the PowerBook does, but it doesn't have a built-in antenna. All in all, the Linksys software has an abysmal UI, with *lots* of cryptic edit boxes and combo boxes and tabbed dialogs. Nothing particularly intuitive. I got the AirPort base station and PowerBook configured without opening a manual. The Linksys card required thorough reading of the docs to understand what things like SSID mean.

I have a such greater appreciation for the work Apple put into making the AirPort easy to setup and use, even though they used some add-ons that aren't 802.11b compliant.

 More on configuring PC with Linksys card

March 26, 2002
Angelos Hannides

I have just managed to connect to an AirPort Bas Station using a Toshiba Satellite Laptop and a Linksys 802.11b PC Card (WPC11). I would like to supplement Rus Maxham's very useful comments from April 16, 2001, with certain details of critical importance for the ignoramus such as myself!

The critical key to success in the above task is the encryption. The password of the AirPort network for third parties is *not* the same one as for folks with Apples. To find this password, go to the AirPort Admin utility software, stay on the AirPort tab and select "Configure" from the menu. The software will explicitly give you a 10-digit key to enter *manually* on your card configuration encryption screen. I will describe how to configure your Linksys card on your PC below, step by step:

*You have installed the card. You will see a symbol on the taskbar, next to the time at the bottom of your computer screen.

*Double-click the symbol. A configuration utility screen will appear with four tabs. The "About" and "Link info" tabs do not require your input.

*"Configuration" does:

  • Wireless mode: Infrastructure
  • SSID: the network's name as defined on the base station
  • Transfer rate: fully automatic
  • Power Saving Mode: disabled

Also, "Encryption" does:

  • Encryption (WEP): again, if your AirPort utility says you have selected 40 bit, that corresponds to 64 Bit here.
  • WEP Key Entry: select "Manual entry" and enter the 10-digit key that I ranted about in the first paragraph.
  • Default Tx Key: 1 (don't touch that)

Hopefully this helps. If only documentation by Linksys was better!


Running PCMacLAN over a wireless network via AppleTalk

April 24, 2001 -- A reader named Joe sent a report on how he successfully ran PC MacLAN over an 802.11b (AirPort-compatible) wireless network via AppleTalk. (Miramar Systems' PC MacLAN is an AFP file sharing client/server for Windows that can use AppleTalk or TCP/IP.)

I have a home network setup with wired Ethernet connections between Macs and an NT4 Server. I was recently testing a DLink wireless DWL-1000AP and DWL-650 PC Card setup on a SONY VAIO laptop for a client, and decided to give PCMacLAN a spin to see if it could connect to the AppleTalk network.

Worked like a champ. The AppleTalk info is not being sent via TCP/IP, as I tested one configuration where the TCP/IP address of the wireless adapter was not in the wired network's subnet. This kept the Windows file sharing and NT MacFile volumes invisible, and allowed only PCMacLAN volumes to be shared. File and Printer Sharing worked both ways - the Macs could get and send files to the SONY and vice versa.

Here is how to connect one or more PC laptops that would like to access a Mac Ethernet LAN;

  1. Install PCMacLAN on the Wintel machine(s)
  2. Get a $99 DLink DWL-650 PC Card Adapter or similar for the Wintel machine(s)
  3. Use an existing AirPort Access Point, OR
  4. Add a wireless interface to the LAN by installing the $200 DLink DWL-1000AP

    The 802.11b standard was written to be platform independent. Only drivers and configuration software are platform-specific. So one can use:

    • AirPort cards for PowerBooks
    • Farallon SkyLine PCI cards for Mac desktop machines
    • Any number of PC Card adapters for PC laptops
    • Ditto the PCI adapters for PC desktop

    Use whichever Access Point or Gateway/Router/Access Point hardware that you wish, as long as you can run the configuration software on a local machine.

    This is too much fun - I can't wait to test a PowerBook with an AirPort card and Dave installed, on a PC network with wireless access.

Reader review: Linksys WAP11 base station and AirPort card

April 27, 2001 -- Mark Siple sent us review of the Linksys's WAP11 base station, as used with a Mac with an AirPort card. Although it can be found for US $120 less than Apple's AirPort Base station, Siple says that the Linksys lacks may of the features of the AirPort Base Station, including NAT, DHCP, and built in modem. Siple also provides details of configuration:

Here's my experience in setting up Linksys's WAP11 base station for use with the Airport card in my PowerBook. Best Buy has these in its ad this week for $299 - $100 instant rebate - $20 mail-in rebate = $179 + tax. Although that appears to be a steal, the limited feature set it has versus the AirPort Base Station makes think that should be its regular price.

My report:

The Linksys WAP11 is far from being equal to Apple's Airport base station in that it lacks these features:

  • Network Address Translation
  • DHCP server
  • DHCP client
  • Built-in modem
  • AppleTalk protocol compatibility
  • Limiting wireless access by wireless card MAC address

Without those, it's essentially a wireless hub. Drop it onto an existing Ethernet network and you'll have an easy way to use that network's resources wirelessly.

Out of the box, the WAP11 comes configured with an IP address of, subnet mask of and WEP encryption disabled. Assuming you're using the 192.168.1.x range (not uncommon with a hardware/software router), installation is plug and play. Plug in the power, connect it to a 10mb-capable hub, activate your Airport card, select the Linksys network in the Airport control strip, switch the Connect via: popup in the TCP-IP control panel to Airport and away you go.

You'll have to use one of Linksys' PC utilities to change its IP address, enable WEP or make other configuration changes as it doesn't offer web-based configuration like their Cable/DSL routers. I connected it to my PowerBook via Ethernet crossover cable and had no problem using their Access Point SNMP Manager under Virtual PC to enable WEP and change its network name (otherwise known as its SSID). You could also use their DFU Utility via USB connection but I didn't try it as Ethernet is much less complicated than USB under Windows.

To enable WEP, go to the WEP tab, enable it, type in your passphrase, click DONE next to the password to create the key and then click APPLY at the bottom to save the change. Write down the Key 1 hex code as you'll then have to enter it with a dollar sign ($) prefix on the client when you initiate the connection. For example, if Key 1 is 743DE2A148, enter $743DE2A148 as the passphrase "Linksys" won't work. If you don't want to memorize the code, write it down somewhere safe and make the entry automatic by using Apple's Keychain.

Both PC configuration utilities can be used to set other options but I found the defaults worked fine. Unfortunately, you can't set a password to protect your settings so anyone with wired or wireless access can change them. Since you can't limit wireless access via MAC address like Apple's AirPort, this made WEP an absolute necessity for me.

The biggest downside to the WAP11 is loss of AppleTalk networking. I use Axis' 1440 Print Server to share an Epson printer but it won't talk AppleShare over TCP/IP so I can't reach it wirelessly. Enabling file sharing over TCP/IP on my desktop G3 let me connect to it but even that required the Network Browser or manually entering its IP address in the Chooser to connect. As MacOS X doesn't support AppleTalk and Apple doesn't officially support it with Airport, my printing setup will have to change at some point anyway so guess I'll start looking now.

If you're looking for a simple wireless base station, the Linksys WAP11 fits the bill nicely. Linksys has steadily added features to its Cable/DSL routers via firmware updates so we can probably expect a few more for the WAP11 as well. That said, if you desire the rich feature set included in Apple's Airport base station, you'd be better off buying it instead.

Experience with SMC Barricade wireless broadband router

May 29, 2001
William Schaff

Finally got WEP to work using Apple PowerBook G3-500 with internal Airport and SMC router (firmware R1.92b), but in an odd fashion. Following some others experiences reported on these pages, I pasted the string 3131313131 into the 10 Hex digit string of the SMC. Then on the PowerBook, I pasted the same string (no $ or other special prefix), and the connection was running under WEP. This is a little odd since earlier attempts using manually entered strings did not work. I can now enter the string manually into the PowerBook, or into the SMC and still get them to work under WEP, even though I could not before.

The other odd behavior of the SMC is that it changes the wireless network name after power down/power up. If I set it to something of my choosing, it changes it back to the word "game" despite any attempt to save it as something else. I've decided to just give in and call my wireless network game.

The SMC is somewhat slow to navigate www setup pages compared to others such as the Linksys, and is a little inflexible in its choice of NAT addresses. Although it was a best buy when it came out, the Linksys gives a better impression of quality.

Using DELL Aironet 4800LT with RG1000

July 2, 2001
Ken Kwok

I recently acquired a Dell 4800LT PCMCIA adapter made by Aironet and was trying to get it to work with my Lucent RG1000 base station. This turned out to be a tricky proposition becos the Lucent base station config software does not allow WEP encryption to be turned off (for reasons that will be clear below, I am unable to use WEP encryption with my 4800LT). But thanks to an earlier posting by Evan Wetstones, I was led to J Sevy's excellent Airport Base Station Config Tool which was found to have worked with the RG1000 as well. In this tool, there is a checkbox under the "Wireless LAN Settings" tab that allows you to get the RG1000 to "Allow unencrypted data". This is great becos I think what it does is to set up the RG1000 to work with unencrypted data streams (which my 4800LT puts out) while still working with encryption with my Lucent WaveLan Silver card. In any case, I am now able to use the 4800 LT with the RG1000.

I would have very much liked to use the 4800LT with encryption as well and for a while, was trying to do that. The Airport Base Station Configurator would have helped me here too becos it allowed me to retrieve the RG's WEP key as a 10-character Hex string which is the format used in Aironet's Client Encrytion Manager (again, this overcame a stumbling block in the RG's software - it only takes in WEP keys as 5-character ASCII strings and I did not know how to convert that into a 10-character Hex string). I tried this with the 4800LT but it did not work. I was puzzled until I read the Aironet help documentation which said that WEP encryption only worked at 1 or 2 mbps with 4800 cards (it apparently works at 11 mbps with later 4800a and 4800b versions of the adapter)... Weird! But that seems to be the way it is and I have to be content with using the card without encryption.

Procedure for connecting wireless PCs to AirPort Base Station using WEP

July 3, 2001
Bruce Reilly

I have determined how to use the WEP on an Airport Base Station and connect with a PC using a Techworks wireless PCMCIA card. Assuming your Mac is already setup to talk with your Base Station using DHCP or TCP/IP, and your PC is using the same network protocol---- First, (on a Mac) open the AirPort Admin Utility. This is located in the Apple Extras folder, inside the Applications folder. The utility will automatically search for your Base Station.
  1. After the Base Station is found, select Configure.
  2. Enter your administrator password for the Base Station and select OK. Place check in the box labeled "Enable encryption (using WEP)". You will be asked to enter the new WEP code.
  3. Enter a quotation mark ("), a five letter password, and another quotation mark ("), with no spaces. Click OK.
  4. Now select Update. The Base Station will take about 30 seconds to reset. The Base Station will disconnect all computers using the Base Station at this time.
  5. After the reset is finished, use your AirPort control panel to reconnect to the Base Station. This time it will ask you for a password. Enter the WEP password, without the quotation marks.

    For the PC:

  6. Open Client Manager. Go to File, then Manual. Enter the ESS-ID of the Base Station.
  7. Enter the word "any" or (if there is more than one access point within range) use the six digit code shown in the AirPort control panel for the Base Station and follow the six digits with "GROUP", in capital letters and no spaces.
  8. Select Add, then OK. The Client Manager will then ask for a WEP key.
  9. Enter the five letter password you used for the Base Station (without the quotation marks) into the space for ASCII or String.
  10. Select OK.

    The PC will connect to the Base Station, but the Base Station will not show up in the Client Manager window-this is normal. You are now fully connected and using the Base Station WEP.

    This may help with people using other Wi-Fi cards in a PC, who want to connect to an AirPort network.

OS X client with WEB on Lucent/Cisco AP wireless network

July 3, 2001
Charles Firth

The WEP encryption on the OS X client needs to be entered with a prefix. For example, if your Lucent/Cisco (both I've tested, and I'm assuming other APs work the same) access point has a 5-string ASCII WEP password of HAPPY, under OS 9 or Win 9x, all you have to do is put HAPPY in the WEP password and it'll work. However, under OS X it s necessary to place this in quotations, "HAPPY". If the WEP password is a Hex string, such as 123456789a, then it needs to be lead with a dollar sign, $123456789a

I found this info in Apple TIL article 106250 and have confirmed it with both a Lucent and a Cisco AP:

Tip: Multiple wireless access points in close proximity

July 3, 2001
Charles Firth

If you're planning on having multiple Access Points (be they Lucent, Apple, etc.) close enough that you're worried they may interfere with each other's RF signal, (for example, you wish to load balance the wireless network in a room over 3 APs) then you need to make sure you set the channels far apart. A wireless AP has channels 1 - 11, and they are not all separate frequencies, but overlap. The point where there is no overlapping is with channels 1, 6, and 11. Channels 2-5 share part of the range of both 1 and 6, while channels 7-10 share range with 6 and 11. So you can have a max of 3 APs (on channels 1, 6, and 11) and guarantee no overlapping of frequency.

Any more APs will cause interference, although in testing, the interference isn't that great, and probably won't make much of an issue unless you're hammering the wireless network, or already dealing with a bad SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).

AirPort with PC and Linksys USB adapter

July 9, 2001
Peter Stogios

I just wanted to share my experience with Mac+PC+Airport networking.

Here is my setup:

Rogers @Home Cable Modem

Airport Base Station ---> Linksys USB Wireless Network Adapter --> Desktop PC

PowerBook G4

The Linksys USB Wireless Adapter is this model WUSB11. It was relatively easy to setup. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well it works. I set up the Airport Base Station to distribute IP addresses, share IP addresses via DHCP and NAT, and enabled DHCP server over Ethernet as well as bridging Ethernet with Airport.

-The PC was set up to recognize (the Airport IP Address) as the DNS server, and to obtain an IP address automatically.

-The PowerBook was set up to recognize the Airport as normal. It works fine in both OS 9.1 and X.

Airport and Cisco 350 WEP wireless experience

July 19, 2001
Jim Boyer

Just wanted to share my cross-platform experience. In short - all went very smoothly, thanks to the "Equivalent Network Password" tip on this cross-platform page. I ended up choosing Cisco for 3 main reasons:

1. I needed both PCI and PCMCIA cards that would support 128 bit if needed. No other vendor stated that 128 bit was supported in the PCI cards

2. If I decided against WEP and wanted stronger methods, the cards had to support it

3. The Cisco 350 series PCI cards are also supported on the Blue/White G3 and all the G4 computers. This is great news for those really concerned about moving beyond WEP security and are running a Wireless cross-platform infrastructure. Hats off to Cisco to supporting the MAC towers already.

My logical setup -

TW RoadRunner Modem (Toshiba) ---->Xsense Cable Router (MIH-130A)---->10/100 Switch ---->Airport Base Station

Connected to Airport ...

- iBook G3 500 with Airport Card (Running OS9/OSX and YDLinux)
- Windows 2000/XP Dual Boot with Cisco Aironet 128 bit 350 PCI Card
- Windows XP with Cisco Aironet 128 bit 350 PCMCIA Card

Airport Stats...

- Firmware v3.81, Config Tools v 1.3
- Airport Tab: Closed Network and WEP enabled, network password set
- Internet Tab: Using ethernet and dhcp (from Xsence router)
- Network Tab: Bridging enabled
- Access Control: Mac Addresses entered for all Wireless cards

To get the Cisco cards working I loaded the drivers off the CD and then the client tools. The tools consist of Aironet Client Utility (ACU), Link Status Meter (LSM), and Client Encryption Manager (CEM). What I did in order was...

1. On the Airport: Get the Equivalent Network Password and then added the Cisco 350 Mac addresses

2. On the client machine: Open ACU and set the Authentication Method to NONE (WEP-aware), you have other choices, but they only apply if using a RADIUS server.

3. On the client machine: Open the CEM (the default password is "Cisco") and then when to Commands/Enter WEP Key. Enter the Airport Network Eq. password. Be sure the Persistent Key Type is checked.

4. On the client machine: Open the ACU again and go to Commands/Edit Properties. Under System Parameters enter the SSID and select Infrastructure Network type. Under the Network Security tab check "Enable WEP"

5. Close all Cisco apps and enjoy your Wireless connection. I updated the firmware and the drivers off the Cisco web site and did not have any issues afterword.

Steps 1-5 took about 30 minutes as I had to hunt for the CEM default password. For my first cross-platform attempt I consider 30 minutes to be outstanding. Thanx to all on this Web Site for sharing your experiences as it encouraged me to go for it.

Also I will be running AiroPeek and Network Stumbler in the near future to determine if I am going to upgrade the Airport to 128 bit encryption or not. If desired I can send an update on what I find.

X-platform wireless with old Quadra Mac

July 23, 2001
Guy Masso

I have a ATT cable modem connected to the built-in network connection of a Quadra 700 running OS 7.6.1. This then is running a ViCom Internet gateway application which performs the NAT function. We have an Airport base station. Behind this lurks a Beige G3 desktop, a Dalmatian iMac(Airport equipped), a Pismo PowerBook(also Airport equipped) and now a Gateway pentium III tower running Windows ME. The Beige and the q-700 are hard wired together.

I used an Addtron AWA-100 PCI card to enable the PC to connect to our wireless world. This basically went off with out a hitch, although I was required to go fetch the proper drivers from Addtron, as they were not on the supplied CD-ROM.

After some basic setup in Windows the connection was established and the machine is on our network and can do all that is required of it.

Security - always an issue. Since this is a home network I have set the hardware addresses of the cards in the Airport config. Should prevent any unknown bad guys from getting in. Also have made it a closed network. Have to log on, oh well...

Oh about the Quadra - The ATT tech said it would not work, not capable of surfing the web through ATT's cable connection. Well It not only surfs but it also serves the connection for 4 other machines. Not bad for an 8 + year old computer.

Cross-platform wireless--3Com Airconnect card and Mac software base station

August 13, 2001
Dan Appelquist told us how he configured a 3Com Airconnect card to use WEP encryption with the software base station running on an iMac:

I have an iMac DV with an AirPort card and a Sony VAIO laptop with a 3Com Airconnect card (First rev). I have cable modem service through Blueyonder (Telewest) which uses the Motorola surfboard cable modem/router. The iMac is on an Ethernet network with the cable modem and acts as a base station using the software base station utility. Currently running MacOS 9.1. I hope to upgrade to MacOS X soon but from all the information I can find the software base station functionality isn't present in MacOS X, so it looks like I'll be stuck with 9 for a while, or until I plunk down for a base station.

The only hitch was correctly configuring WEP, which I've been banging my head against on and off for months. The information on this page about entering the network password as a hex string preceded by a $ worked great. I simply set a HEX password in the Airconnect setup screen and then, using the AirPort software base station admin utility, entered that same HEX string preceded by a $ into the network password dialog. After that, everything clicked.

How to configure 3Com AirConnect and Airport clients

February 19, 2002
Albert Booky

The information on this site has been most helpful in finally getting the correct configuration to work on a 3Com AirConnect acting as a bridge on a wired cross platform network with 3Com PCs and Mac Airport clients. There are so many hoops to jump through that it is was very painful.

For testing I purchased the 3Com (3CRWE62092A) XJack PCMCIA card with the Airconnect AP [access point]. Out of the box the card would connect to the AP but only with no encryption. When I turned on encryption at the AP the 3Com card would fail even after configuring the correct encrypt. After talking to 3Com tech support (1st layer is actually Stream) and a firmware and software upgrade (this required filling out an online form for a security check at the 3Com website, waiting for confirmation and a 2 download maximum) I finally got the 3Com card working at 40 and 128 bit security. Be sure to select Encryption Key and not string from your client.

Airport Clients - I downloaded the latest Airport Client (2.0.1) and I was still unable to connect with a new iBook. After days of listening to 3Com passing the blame and the 3Com rep at CDW say their AP doesn't support Airport Clients, I finally got connected:

To get Airport Clients working, at the AP using the web interface to configure:

Under Easy Setup: "Wireless LAN Service Area " has to be "ANY" (uppercase and no quotes).

Note: "Unit Name" can be anything

Under Security: WEP (Privacy) Enabled
WEP Algorithm 40 bit key or 128 bit key

Encryption Key Setup type in your code in Key one (Airport clients apparently want Key 1)

Access Control MAC addresses do work for both PC and Airport clients (shock!)

Under RF: "Short RF Preamble" disabled

Be sure to select "Save Settings" after each change on that screen and then under "Configuration" / "Special Functions" check "Reset AP / Perform Function". The AP had to be reset before the configuration changes take affect even though you have saved them.

At the Airport Client (iBook)

I was then finally able to connect from the iBook by selecting "Other" from the Airport Network section and then specifying ANY (has to be uppercase) for the Name of the Airport Network and the 40 bit (or 128 bit) encryption string I had set up on the AP preceded by the $ (no spaces or colons) as mentioned in previous articles on this site. The 3Com AP does not show up as an Airport Wireless Network at the Airport Client. The airport client remembers these settings and will auto connect after the initial authorization.

3Com AirConnect AP info:

AP Firmware Version 02.21-01
RF Firmware Version V2.20-02
HTML File Version 02.00-05

3Com XJack PCMCIA info:

firmware: 3.2.4 #447 (Dec 13, 2001)

Wireless adapter options for PCs and Macs

August 16, 2001
Charles Martorelli is successfully using a Linksys USB adapter to connect a Windows PC to a an AirPort network:

I have a G4(2001) & G3 Pismo on my AirPort Base Station connected to a PacBell DSL Modem. I wanted to add a PC to the network. After checking around I decided on the Linksys USB adapter. My decision was basted on price and the fact I could not spare a PCI slot for a internal card. I was all set for a evening on configuration nightmares and restarts on my Widows 2000 system. I installed the software restarted and plugged in the Linksys USB adapter and that was it. It works great I even test my thought put and it is as good as being connected to the modem directly. I also logged on to Shields Up and the firewall in the AirPort Base Station is working great.

However, Dan Mangialetto is looking for a similar solution for his older iMacs, which don't have an AirPort slot. He did find a wireless Ethernet adapter:

I want to hook up some old non-AirPort iMacs wirelessly, but the USB wireless adapters are all for PC's. I found Linksys and SMC have them but I do not think they will work on the iMac.

I did find the Nokia A040 which actually connects to the Ethernet port, not USB, to make it wireless. I am pretty sure it will work with the old iMacs because their downloadable PDF document features an iMac.

If you've had experience with the Nokia device with Macs, please let us know.

Problem with AppleTalk and Lucent Orinoco AP-1000 and other wireless access points

August 16, 2001
John Young

I've been successfully using an AirPort, but upgraded to the presumably more sophisticated Agere/Lucent unit in order to create a wireless backbone and avoid running network cable between floors of the same building. In the Lucent Orinoco AP-1000 configuration application, AppleTalk is very clearly listed as one of the bridging protocols, but none of my OS 9 machines can see each other unless I use File Sharing over TCP/IP to interconnect. All communication over IP is flawless, and of course all of my Windows machines work just fine. None of the FAQs on seem to address this issue.

If you've seen this problem, please let us know.

Xsense Aero

August 17, 2001

I have the same problem with a Xsense Aero router. None of the wireless machines on the network show up in the AppleTalk network. They are accessible however if File Sharing over TCP/IP is enabled and by typing in their IP address in the Chooser. I have one hardwired and two wireless networked computers. The wired computer is a PM8500 and the others are a 20th Anniversary Mac connected with an Orinoco wireless Ethernet converter and a G4 PowerBook with an Airport card. All can access the Internet via the router but do not show up in the Chooser. If I hardwire more than one of these computers to the the router the wired computers can see each other in the Chooser. All computers are running OS 9.1. I have found no other information on the web regarding this issue. Xsense Tech Support stated that their routers support AppleTalk over a wireless connection and the computers should be accessible via AppleTalk with no special settings.

September 20, 2001
Bohdan Zachary

For what is purported to be Mac friendly (and I know they've been all along) the purchase two days ago of the Xsense Aero has cost me one day out of this weekend. The setup at first seemed relatively easy. Got my G3 laptop to do the configured -- I'm on PacBell DSL and used my manual IP info (though via DHCP in the TCP/IP control panel). All seemed to be fine. Then after sleeping the laptop, unhooked it off the Ethernet cables/router and was delighted it ran two rooms away as it's meant to.

The problems arose - and continue to be -- when ever I launch my G4 tower and turn on Airport It recognizes the wireless network, it's on the same channel that is assigned by the Aero router -- but after that, forget it.

1. Can't launch the browser and can't even get to the Xsense configuration page. (The machine's downstairs one floor below the Aero location and I don't want to haul the tower, monitor, etc. to try it up here. I would believe - tell me if I'm wrong - that as it recognizes the network that I should be off and running.

2. I open the G4's TCP/IP configuration file to figure out if it's some setting in there - but I am assuming the Aero's given it the info it needs.

3. Xsense's support FAQ alludes to some program that gives you DNS numbers. I couldn't make heads or tails how this would be of help to my situation as the Xsense folks don't specifically tell you anything.

4. My G4 doesn't get anything... and I discover the laptop isn't getting anything either. The Aero router has crashed with a constant orange light in the Wireless Act box. I have to unplug everything, try and reset (very often the Aero reset doesn't work) and then start all over again.

This isn't my idea of easy or uncomplicated - as advertised.


September 18, 2001
Mun Chin

I had the same problem with my D-Link 713-P router, and got no help from their technical support. I decided to look around and found a firmware update for it and applied it. After installing it and restarting the router, AppleTalk shows up from the wireless and hub sides of the router now. Possibly there are firmware updates now to these other routers.

Wireless for under $250 with D-link Wireless

August 16, 2001
John DiBease

Using a D-link 713P and it works fine with the latest AirPort card and 128-bit security. Wireless Internet hooked up immediately using Apple install software. Network had a problem. Couldn't see other computers.

D-link recommends you update the firmware before one uses the system. Typical Apple user didn't read and attempted installation. D-link has a new Tech number for just the wireless portion of its products. They were very helpful. The Firmware 2.56.6a update provided for apple talk packets and solved the problem.

Currently has the D-link713P (Cable/DSL wireless hub and three ports 10/100 Ethernet) for $229.0 with a D-link $50.00 rebate which equals $179.00. Added a Airport card to the G3 PowerBook (FireWire) for $99.00 can have one up and running for $278.

I am currently up and running wireless for $232.00. Note this D-link Cable modem was in Dealmac on 3 Aug 01. It was then $212.99 and I also used a coupon from Dealmac coupons for $30.00 off 300.00 @ for a total cost of $213-rebate $50 -coupon $30 =133. Add a airport card for 99.00 That's how I went wireless for $232 pus shipping. Check the coupons at Dealmac and the rebates @ vendors sites.

Using the Linksys Cable DSL Router and an Airport Base Station together

August 17, 2001
B. Etemad

I currently have 4PC's and two iMacs at home, and I was interested in finding a way of networking them together both for file sharing and shared Internet access. We have DSL coming into the home for broadband access. At this time, the different PC's are designed for different tasks - one is a video workstation with 2 Xeon Pentium processors in it, the other is a framegrabber dedicated machine, another is an NT server and the forth is a Windows ME machine. I wanted to be able to network these machines together, share Internet access, as well as provide Internet access for the two iMacs.

So I purchased a Linksys BEFW11S4 (Cable/DSL Router with 4-port switch) and connected this to the broadband modem. It serves as a DHCP server for the four PC's for Internet access and works very well with no difficulties at all (very easy to set up). I then checked to see if the iMacs, with Airport cards in them, would recognize the Linksys wireless network, and sure enough, it did. Using the TCP/IP control panel, I set the IP addresses for each of the iMac's manually to be within the range of the IP addresses associated with the router. This was new for me, so I'll explain for others that haven't done this, but basically, the router asks for how many DHCP connections you want it to set up for. It will then assign IP addresses from (as an example) - for the DHCP assigned connections. I assigned my iMac's static IP addresses of and and voila! - they are both on the network and able to access the Internet using the Linksys router. The iMacs are in the upstairs bedrooms and the router is in a small downstairs office (at least 50 feet distance) and the signal strength is at 75 percent.

For the heck of it, I wanted to see if I could put the Airport base station "behind" the Linksys router. I configured the Airport Base Station to find its Internet connection by DHCP, set its channel for 7 (I put the Linksys on Channel 1), and voila!, I now have TWO wireless networks in the house.

It's probably overkill, but I wasn't sure if the AirPort would be compatible with the wireless cards I intend to buy for the PC's when make them wireless eventually. I have been worried about this - how could I share wireless Internet access for all my machines and have a TCP/IP network for the PC's (and iMac's with DAVE) as well as have AppleTalk file sharing between the iMacs if I wanted to.

Windows XP Internet connection sharing with wireless iBook

October 19, 2001
Stuart Tevendal

I'm successfully using Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing with an iBook SE (366 MHz model) with an airport card, through a Netgear ME102 wireless base station.

Prior to upgrading to Windows XP, I used Win2K with WinProxy, which I never really got to work satisfactorily, nor could I get the Internet Connection Sharing to work. I'm also successfully running PC MacLan 8.1 under Win XP.

TIP: Getting Windows XP with Orinoco to work with AirPort: update drivers

November 5, 2001 -- Eric Carbone doing fine using his Sony Vaio notebook with Windows 2000 and an Orinoco Gold card to connect to his Power Mac G4 (with AirPort card) set to run as a software base station. However, another notebook PC running Windows XP Professional with an Orinoco Gold card could not connect to the AirPort network. He fixed it by updating the Windows drivers with the Windows update feature:

XP has this nifty new updates site (under Tools in Internet Explorer 6, select "Windows Update") Windows update will let you know if it finds any new drivers for your devices . Sure enough, an update for the Orinoco Gold card came up. I updated the driver and now I am able to see my software base station.

Windows XP dropping connections

April 3, 2002 -- Dan Farrell Davis is another reader who cannot get Windows XP to connect to a wireless network:

I support both Macs and Windows. I have several machines with Windows XP, and on each and every one there are connectivity issues for wireless connections. The typical symptom is that the machine loses connection after some period of time, although signal strength shows as strong. Sometimes this has been a few minutes and other times it will be several hours. Restarting the base station is the only sure fire fix. It does not seem to be specific to a brand of base station or wireless card.

Dell, for example, has replaced motherboards, wireless cards, and base stations, attempting to fix the problem. But everyone I've spoken to thinks the problem is with XP which manages wireless connections on its own.

A suggested fix:

April 16, 2002
Eli Siegel

I have seen the problem that you described back on April 3rd regarding Windows XP and Wireless network cards dropping connections. If you have used Microsoft's home networking wizard to set the network up, go in to all your connections and disable the network bridge. By turning off bridging I was able to reliably retain a connection to the wireless network - even after multiple reboots.

Windows XP-Mac failure and success

April 30, 2002 --Tormod Guldvog told us about some of the problems he ran into getting Windows XP to access the Internet through an AirPort Base Station:

I own a Silicom 802.11b network card and a DELL inspiron 8100 running Windows XP Pro. I had no problems connecting to the AirPort, but it would not let me through to the Internet. I had no clue as to how to solve this. Everybody in the office are Mac people but they don't know a network from a bungy cord so I had to fix this myself. I downloaded the FreeBase setup utility, but could not make it talk to the Airport. I simply did not know the IP of the Airport and no matter what I tried I could not find it.

I then got the AirPort Admin Utility for Windows. It did not install, since they have provided a 16-bit setup program from 1997...after realizing this I unzipped the files to a folder without spaces in the name (i.e., "c:\airport"). After that everything went smoothly. I fired up the admin tool, which immediately found the airport base station. I connected to it with the local password, and in one of the menus I found a page giving the password to be used with third-party network cards. I set my network card to 64 bit WEP and entered the 10 digit (that is, the 5 hex numbers) password...and it worked immediately!

TIP: Using WEP with non-Apple wireless hardware.

December 20, 2001
Jarrod Hager

Here are a few tips on using the SMC Barricade SMC7004AWBR wireless router and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), a security protocol. I have a pre-Airport and pre-G3 PowerBook and an iMac SE. I wanted an alternative (read cheaper) solution than Apple's Airport Base Station.

The iMac came with an Airport card preinstalled and has since been upgraded to Airport 2.0 in OS X. I also recently acquired a Lucent Technologies Orinoco (formerly WaveLAN) Silver PC Card from Agere Systems, which offers 64-bit WEP for my Powerbook. The most challenging attribute of setting up the WEP security is getting it to work on each hardware device. I'll explain the three steps it will take to get the above hardware configurations working. We're still using Macs, so it's relatively painless once you know how. The steps below assumes you're familiar with the wireless aspects of your hardware and that you're not yet using or haven't figured out how to enable WEP using your SMC router.

Step 1 for the router: Access your SMC router via your web browser on any computer using a hardwire Ethernet connection and click on the last link in the left pane, "Wireless". In the main window, under Wireless Setting, create a name for your wireless router in the space next to Network ID(SSID). The next item, Channel, can be left alone. The item after that is where you set your WEP Security. In my case, since the PC Card in my PowerBook uses 64-bit WEP encryption, I chose the "Enable IEEE 64 bit Shared Key security" option for the router. Now choose "WEP Key 1" and enter a Hexadecimal string of 10 characters (you can only use the numbers 0-9 and the letters a-f). I try to come up with a nifty pass phrase to help me remember the string, which may prove challenging using hex. In our example, let's use decade2010. Save your changes and reboot the router.

Step 2 for the iMac: In either OS 9 or X, invoke the Airport Setup Assistant. In OS X, within the Setup Assistant, select the "Set up your computer to join an existing AirPort network" option and click Continue. This step is similar to the OS 9 Setup Assistant. You should now see the router name you created in Step 1 next to the "Available AirPort networks:" text. Click continue and you'll come to the Enter Network Password dialog box where you'll need to enter the hexadecimal string you came up with in Step 1. But in order for it to work, you have to enter a dollar sign ($) before the string. In our example, the network password that will work with your Apple branded Airport card and the SMC router is: $decade2010

Step 3 for the PowerBook: Open the ORiNOCO control panel and click on the Encryption tab. Click on the Enable Encryption check box and next to Key 1: enter a zero (0) and the letter "x" before the hexadecimal string created in Step 1. This lets the WaveLAN card know you'll be transmitting using a hexadecimal string. In our example, Key 1 will look like this: 0xdecade2010 (don't forget to set the "Transmit using" to use Key 1 and then click on Set to save your changes). If you click back to the Basic tab, you should see Closed Network for Network:, and your router's name for Net Name: which you created in Step 1.

This setup works flawlessly for me and I highly recommend this non-Apple branded hardware. The SMC wireless router has a printer server port and a serial port if you want to add your old 56K modem to it. This is good if you have broadband and it goes down. I've only tested this scenario and I pray to the Wireless Goddess that I never need to invoke it! It also bridges AppleTalk, which is awesome for printing to old laser printers that have Ethernet, but don't support TCP/IP and for easy file sharing. The USB Printer Sharing in OS 9 works great too.

The Lucent wireless PC Card is actually an Apple Airport card, but Lucent of course adds the antenna. This card is compatible with any PowerBook with a PCMCIA slot in it (even the 5300 and 190 series!) using Mac OS 7.5.2 and greater.

And best of all, SMC and Lucent support Mac users while many other non-Apple wireless hardware vendors do not.

Have fun in the wireless zone!

Problem with D-Link DI-714 DSL modem and AppleTalk

If you've seen this problem, please let us know.

December 28, 2001
Bill Moses

I purchased a D-Link DI-714 (Cable/DSL Router with 4-port switch) for use in my home network (two desktop Macs, one Titanium with an Airport card, and a printer). The wired-hub portion of the router worked perfectly and I was able to make a wireless network connection to my laptop. However, I was unable to see the printer or do file sharing using the wireless connection. After over a week attempting to get through to the D-Link technical support, I received a message saying that the DI-714 was not WiFi compliant, and therefore didn't forward AppleTalk packets properly. I asked whether future firmware releases would address this issue but received no reply.

January 4, 2002
Steve Simons reports has the same problem with a LinkSys hardware:

I have the LinkSys BEFW11S4. I am also unable to see any AppleTalk devices when connected wireless as well.

TIP: Password for PC

March 29, 2002
Stephen Jonke provides an answer to an issue raised on March 26, when a reader pointed out that the password of the AirPort network for third parties cards in PCs is not the same one as for users with Macs. Jonke says you can find the password to use on the PC in Mac OS X:

When trying to get the WEP key if you're using Airport Admin Utility in Mac OS X you'll find that there is no "Configure" menu. Instead you click the "Password" button in the toolbar. That will display the equivalent WEP key you'll need to enter on your PC.

How to connect AirPort cards to Cisco Aeronets.

One reader sent in a procedure for configuing AirPort cards with Cisco Aeronet access points. However, several readers dissagree with procedure, saying that a simpler procedure works.

August 21, 2002
Michael Szpisjak

We have now made Cisco Aeronets are standard access point at our school and will be slowly phasing out the AirPort hubs. Below you will find the directions for configuring the AirPort cards to work with the Aeronet. This information did not come about easily, but I wanted to help others who may be struggling.

Instructions for configuring Airport Cards to Function with Cisco Aeronet

1. Download the Drivers from:
2. Open the ORiNOCOô.smi disk image.
3. From the folder that is created, ORiNOCOô Installer, run the Installer Alias
4. Click on Install to install the product, and check the box to run setup assistant after restart.
5. After the installation is successful, restart the machine.
6. When the setup assistant runs, perform these steps:

a. Select to Join an Access Point, Broadband Gateway, or 3rd party 802.11 network. Click Next
b. Select ** Any Open Network **. Click Next
c. Check the box to use Encryption, and in the Key 1 field, enter in the WEP key. MAKE SURE you add 0x before the WEP KEY. Make sure the radio button is click to Transmit Using key 1. Click Next
d. Click Create a matching TCP/IP configuration (using DHCP) for me. Click next.
e. Give the configuration a name, and click on Create the Configuration.

7. Next, go to System Folder, Control Strip Modules, and delete the AirPort item, as well as the ORiNOCO. (You can leave the ORiNOCO there for your own purposes to check connection, but make sure it is deleted before putting the laptop into "mainstream use.) By removing AirPort, you get rid of the panel that will flash on & off, which is just a pain.
8. Let FoolProof lock the control panel so that users cannot alter the settings.

From this point, just make sure that you have MAC/IPX set correctly, AppleTalk set to ORiNOCO, and TCP/IP to ORiNOCO. Once these are set, everything should function. To make sure, try logging into Novell.

These drivers will let you use the AirPort Base Stations. It is best if the AirPort password is set to the same WEP key as the Cisco Aeronets. If not, you will have to store the WEP Key, and change the ORiNOCO settings to transmit using the other key.

August 22, 2002
Pedro Gelabert says he got it to work with much less effort:

I am currently using a Cisco Aeronet system with LEAP in my PC centric work. I did not have to install these drivers. I am currently using the stock Mac OS 10.1.5 system with Apple's standard airport drivers. To log into the LEAP network, I need to type the SSID and password in the form: "<logon/password>"

August 26, 2002
Jonathan Ocab

We here at UCR have our entire campus wireless LAN infrastructure using Cisco Aironet 340/350 APs and have zero problems with AirPort cards on the network (OS 9.x and OS 10.x). The AirPort software already in the Mac OS is all you need. I don't know why Mr. Szpisjak instructed users to download Orinoco software. If the SSID on your net is not broadcast, all you have to do is enter the SSID of your network for the "name" when you tell the Airport config that you want to specify "other network" as your wireless network. Assuming you have WEP enabled, all you have to do is enter $<WEP_KEY> for the password.

August 26, 2002
Michael Alatorre agrees, but created an Applescript solution to overcome another issue:

I'd like to confirm Pedro Gelabert's method for logging on to Cisco LEAP-enabled wireless networks with internal Apple AirPort cards. This is what we use here for our OS X clients on our LEAP network. This method will work as well for OS 9 clients, but we've deployed an AppleScripted method to overcome a logon/DHCP issue.

The problem is this: OS 9's IP stack is not as dynamic as OS X's. After you've joined the wireless network on OS X, it will grab an IP address from our DHCP without too much of a problem. On OS 9, since the IP stack loaded and failed to obtain an IP from our DHCP server after startup (there's no way to join a LEAP network earlier with an Apple card--Cisco cards/drivers do allow this, though), you'll end up with a non-working 169.x.x.x address. BTW, this occurs whether you have "Load only when needed" checked or not in TCP/IP Options.

After joining the LEAP network using the stated method, you can overcome this manually by opening the TCP/IP control panel, clicking Options..., inactivating TCP/IP, closing the control panel and saving changes--then performing the same process again and making it active. Way too much work for users (at least ours). However, AirPort is scriptable in OS I wrote the following AppleScript to take care of logging onto LEAP and resetting the IP stack by closing it down and then reactivating it. It works just fine and only involves adding the freeware 'Ask Password' scripting addition (to protect password entry in the dialog box).

If anyone's interested, here is the code that only needs to be modified slightly with the proper SSID (watch out for line wraps and save as an applet):

-- written by Michael Alatorre, February 2002-- Department of Medical Affairs, Cedars-Sinai Health System
-- An AppleScript for logging into a LEAP wireless network
-- Note: requires AirPort 2.0.x and free scripting addition Ask Password

OSAX 1.1property net2join : "yourSSIDhere" try display dialog "What is your Username?" default answer "" with icon note set username to text returned of result ask password using prompt "What is its Password?" set myPassword to result -- set LEAP login password set LEAPpassword to "<" & username & "/" & myPassword & ">" tell application "AirPort Scripting" join net2join with password LEAPpassword quit end tell

-- close IP stack to release IP address try

-- create a variable to store the transaction ID set the transaction_ID to "" tell application "Network Setup Scripting" open database

-- open the Networking Database set the transaction_ID to begin transaction

-- begin a transaction

tell TCPIP v4 options to set TCPIP active to false

-- TCP/IP to inactive end transaction

-- close the current transaction close database

--close the Network Database end tell on error error_message try tell application "Network Setup Scripting"

-- Abort the current transaction. Any changes will be discarded if the transaction_ID is not "" then abort transaction

-- try to close the database if it was left open

close database end tell end try end try

-- open IP stack to renew IP address try

-- create a variable to store the transaction ID set the transaction_ID to "" tell application "Network Setup Scripting" open database

-- open the Networking Database set the transaction_ID to begin transaction -- begin a transaction tell TCPIP v4 options to set TCPIP active to true

-- TCP/IP to active end transaction

-- close the current transaction close database

--close the Network Database end tell on error error_message try tell application "Network Setup Scripting"

-- Abort the current transaction. Any changes will be discarded if the transaction_ID is not "" then abort transaction

-- try to close the database if it was left open

close database end tell end try end tryend try

AirPort 2.1.1 allows Win clients to use hex-escaped password.

October 3, 2002 -- Yesterday, Apple released AirPort 2.1.1, and update to its wireless networking software. The update includes a number of improvements, including compatibility with Windows clients that need an equivalent Network password:

When enabling Internet Sharing over AirPort (commonly referred to as a Software Base Station) you can enter a quoted or hex-escaped password. This provides compatibility with Windows or other wireless clients that require an Equivalent Network Password. If you have questions, see your network administrator for additional information on the WEP encryption key or password that you are using.

John O'Shaughnessy tried it on a cross-platform network with success:

I tested this today with 128 bit WEP encryption between a PowerMac with the new Airport code, and a Windows 2000 PC with a Farallon card Skyline11 card. It works as advertised.

Sharing an Internet connection with wireless Windows. March 7, 2003 -- We found this article on in the Mac OS X Help system. We've had similar reports here, but we'd thought we reproduce Apple's version:

Sharing your Internet connections with Windows and other wireless computers

When Internet Sharing Over AirPort (commonly referred to as a Software Base Station) is on, you can use an ASCII (quoted) or hexadecimal (hex-escaped) password to provide compatibility with Windows computers or other wireless clients that require an equivalent network password. For example, you can specify "apple" or "applecomputer" as an ASCII password, and $0102030405 or $010203...(26 hexadecimal digits) as a hexadecimal password.

For more information on the WEP encryption key or password you are using, see your network administrator.

To use a quoted or hex-escaped password for sharing your Internet connection:

Open System Preferences, click Sharing, and click the Internet tab. Select the "Share your Internet connection with AirPort-equipped computers" checkbox. Click AirPort Options and select the "Enable encryption (using WEP)" checkbox.

To find the equivalent network password, open the AirPort Admin Utility, select your base station, click Configure, and click Password.

Printing from a Win 2000 machine via Airport Extreme USB.

March 28, 2003
Rob Meredith

Hi, thought I'd share my experience with you in getting my Windows 2000 machine to print via the USB port on the Apple Airport Extreme Base Station... My setup was an IBM ThinkPad A22p running windows 2000 with a Netgear 802.11b card, and I was attempting to print through the new Airport Extreme to a HP Laserjet 2200D connected to the airport via USB.

The steps below outline my solution, describing the path through the Add Printer Wizard, and assume you have successfully configured your wireless card to talk to the AirPort, and you have the appropriate drivers for your printer:

  1. Open the Printers window and double click the Add Printer icon.
  2. Click Next to continue past the introductory window
  3. Select Local Printer, leaving the Plug & Play check box unchecked and click Next
  4. Select Create New Port from the Select Printer Port screen (at the bottom of the dialog box)
  5. From the drop-down box, select Standard TCP/IP port, then click Next
  6. In the next dialog, enter the IP address of your base station. If you haven't modified the default setting, this will probably be The Port Name will be defined for you, but you can change it if you want. I left it as it was.
  7. Clicking next will display a dialog asking you to specify what type of network card the airport is using. The default value is 'Generic Network Card', but I changed it to 'Apple Network Printer'. I am unsure what effect this setting has, and you might be able to leave it at the default setting. 'Apple Network Printer' definitely works, though.
  8. Clicking Next shows a summary dialog for your choices, and you can click 'Finish' to set the printer up. The operating system will ask for the type of printer, and if you have the drivers on a disk, select Have Disk... to use them. Otherwise choose your printer from the defaults provided.
  9. Click Next and choose a printer name (the default is fine - it doesn't matter what you call it). Specify if you want this to be your default printer or not, and click next.
  10. Specify whether you want to share the printer from your machine (you probably don't want to given it's connected to the network anyway).
  11. Click Next
  12. Don't bother printing that test page. The setup isn't complete yet! Select No, and then Next. A summary page is shown, click Finish.
  13. Once the printer has been added by the operating system, you need to open the 'Properties' for your new printer (right click on it in the Printers window and select Properties).
  14. When the properties dialog is displayed, select the Port tab. The new port you created should be highlighted and selected. Make sure this is the case, and then click the Configure Port button.
  15. On the dialog the shows up, you need to change the Protocol from LPR (which is the default) to RAW. Confirm that the default port of 9100 is specified under RAW settings.
  16. Click OK to return to the printer properties dialog. To print a test page now, click on the General tab and click 'Print Test Page'. Everything should be hunky-dory and a test page should emerge from the printer.
  17. Click the close button to close the properties dialog, and happy wireless printing!

TIP: Windows printing through Airport Extreme. July 15, 2003 -- Neal Pann told us how he got Windows XP to print through Airport Extreme:

I had a problem concerning wireless printing from Windows XP through an AirPort Extreme Base Station. (My Ti PowerBook was able to print wirelessly.) I poked around Apple's support forums and discovered the text below which worked for my USB Epson Stylus Color 740.

Here's what I did to set it up on my Windows box:

1. Selected "Settings->Printers->Add Printer" from the "Start" menu.

2. When the "Add Printer Wizard" comes up, click Next.

3. When prompted for Local or Network Printer, make sure the "Local printer" radio button is selected and that the "Automatically detect..." checkbox is OFF and then click Next.

4. In the "Select the Printer Port" screen, click the "Create a new port" radio button, select "Standard TCP/IP Port" from the popup and click Next.

5. The "Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard" will pop up, click Next in that window now.

6. In "Printer Name or IP Address" I put "" and let it generate "IP_10.0.1.1" as the port name, click Next.

7. For "Device Type" in this next wizard screen I made sure "Standard" was the radio button selected and then I selected "Hewlett Packard Jet Direct" in the popup menu, click Next.

8. In the Finish screen, it'll say "RAW, Port 9100" for Protocol and "" in the Device field, click Finish and that wizard will close.

9. The Add Printer Wizard will now go to a new screen, for you to select the type of printer you have. Select the printer type and model and click Next. You may need your Windows CDs handy if it asks for them.

10. Click Next again for it to be the default printer.

11. Click Next again because you don't want to share it through the Windows PC.

12. Click Next so that it prints a test page.

13. Click Finish.

It'll do its thing and a test page will come out of the printer.

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