Tips, tricks and traps

Airport and Time Capsule remote logging

I don’t completely understand how logging works, but it is very Unix-like, every application can create its own text-based .log file. Unlike Windows which has a complicated event viewer system and a separate application to look at records. There is /Applications/Utility/Console which gives you one place to look at everything.

But what about event logs and looking at internet traffic on Apple’s wireless routers like the Extreme or the Time Capsule. It turns out that these are just Unix machines as well, so you can use the Unix remote logs there and actually login to the base station with a command line. Very elegant really. So you can look at logs by:

Start Airport Utility and click on the access point you want to examine

Click on the Manual Setup

Click on the Advanced button at the top

In Logging and Statistics page, click on Log and Statistics

Note that unlike D-link and others, this doesn’t seem to log internet access records, but just what is going on with the router itself.

Or you can record them on your Mac as noted in AirPort Extreme: Remotely logging base station activity

To set up remote logging, you will create a log file for AirPort, then modify the syslog.conf file. These steps use the pico text editor, though other editors could be used.

1. In either AirPort Admin Utility or AirPort Management Utility, enter the logging computer’s IP address in the “Send Base Station Logging to” field.
2. Update the base station with the configuration change and wait for it to finish restarting.
3. At the computer, be sure you are logged in with an administrator account.
4. Open Terminal, and execute these commands:

# sudo touch /var/log/AirPort.log
# sudo pico /etc/syslog.conf

5. Using the arrow keys, scroll to the bottom of the file, and add this line:

local0.* /var/log/AirPort.log

6. To save and close the file, press Control-O, Return, and Control-X.
7. Execute this command:

# sudo syslogd -m 0 -u

Note: “0” is a number, not a letter.

8. Once you are finished gathering the desired logs, press Control-C to stop the running process.
9. The result of the Base Station logging can be found in /var/log/AirPort.log or in the /var/log/system.log.

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