It’s updates all around for Apple’s full-sized routers, as the AirPort Extreme joins the Time Capsule with a new model number today. The AirPort Extreme and the Time Capsule both haven’t been updated since early 2009, so refreshed hardware isn’t really a surprise. But what’s changed?
The Airport Extreme and Time Capsule were updated today with some new features that, while they don’t change the basic capabilities of the devices, do make them more flexible. Both devices now offer “guest networking” and simultaneous dual-band networks. All of the new features apply equally to the Airport Extreme and the Time Capsule. The Airport Express, sadly, has been left out of today’s update cycle.
While most people won’t run out to exchange their existing Airports, it is worth considering the new features to see if they are something you could use. Read More about New Airport Extreme and Time Capsule
Updates turning out to be harmful rather than helpful are nothing new, and it’s beginning to look like you can add Apple’s latest Airport Extreme software “fix” to the list of the potentially damaging.
Complaints from commenters and bloggers around the net are beginning to pile up, yet Apple remains silent on the status of the update (numbered 2008-003) which was uploaded to their servers Monday and then pulled shortly after without explanation.
While the update was intended to resolve issues when roaming in large Wi-Fi networks, reports are claiming that not only does that issue persist, in some cases the patch is causing network problems. Some users are even claiming that following the update, Airport ceases to work at all. Total Airport failures are being reported on multiple platforms, including the Aluminum MacBook and late model white MacBook. Others are claiming reduced capability, including connection problems and the inability of their machines to recognize the 802.11n capability of their cards (a/b/g only).
Read More about Airport Extreme Update Pulled, But Damage Already Done
Is it possible the AirPort Extreme base station isn’t catching all the malicious traffic bound for my home network? I just opened Console to check on an issue I was having with lookupd, but I was distracted when the ipfw.log firewall log file popped up with quite a lot of blocked attempts.
How many? Try 7831 over a two-hour span. Clearly a distributed denial-of-service (dDOS) attack, all 7800+ of these log entries were bound for ports 32787, 32788, and 32789, from 713 different source IP addresses. Thankfully, the Mac OS X software firewall denied all those requests. But it leads me to wonder: Why did the AEBS let them through anyway?
I checked my port forwarding rules, and there’s nothing there that would specifically allow TCP traffic through on these ports. I have exactly one port range forwarded and it’s thousands away from these three ports, which are used, the best I can uncover, for “sometimes an RPC port”.
Can anyone with a stronger networking background help me out here? Is this a vulnerability in the AirPort Extreme, or should those ports be open for a reason that has no clear documentation?
If you’re like me, you’ve had seven (or more) kinds of problems with your Airport Extreme. Maybe today’s update will fix it for you, even though Apple’s description is terse as usual, offering only “general fixes and compatibility updates.”
While you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up last week’s Boot Camp 1.4, which seemed to get lost in the hubbub of iLife ’08, iWork ’08, and the new iMacs.