Apple Airport Utiilty 5.3

Apple has this strange concept where when they ship a new piece of hardware like the “Time Capsule”: they update their controller utiilty called Apple Airport Utility, but don’t make it available on their any site or their search engines according to “”: So make sure you keep your CD when you install!

Also, while it is really nice to have a dedicated utility, I do wish that they would also have a web interface like every other network device for power users like me. With lots of computers around, it is hard to have everything updated.

Linksys WRT54GL to Apple Time Capsule Conversion

Now that the Time Capsules have come in, we’ve upgraded our office to use this incredible Wifi+Router+1TB File Server+Backup Server and now I’m working on fixing all networks. Main issue is that I’ve got way too many static IP address devices, so here’s a list and how to get away from static IP addresses to DHCP. This is important because every new router has a different default network. D-Link likes 192.168.0.*, while Linksys likes 192.168.1.* and Apple likes 10.0.1.*

h2. Assigning Frequencies

As a small aside, the Apple Airports are pretty amazingly easy to setup. Also, they appear to automatically go for interference reduction. You should check yourself, but if you have multiple APs or you have lots of folks around your office with access points, download “iStumbler”: and see what the frequencies are (in the US from 1 to 11 are allowed). However all these frequencies overlaps except 1, 6 and 11, so if you see lots of APs at 6, then you want to set yours to 1 or 11 and so forth. That will maximize throughput. You can think of each Wifi channel as occupying 5 frequency slots, so if you see an AP say at 3, then you can move to frequency 8 and be out of interference. Most Wifi APs default to 6, so I normally check and move. Apple actually does this automatically.

h2. Going to DHCP

Because of the above problem, you want to move as many devices to DHCP as possible. Every network device supports this except for Linksys and D-link access points. These you have to leave static. I normally stick a post-it on top of each of these with their network address. Otherwise you have to use a network scanner to find them. BTW, DHCP stands for dynamic host configuration protocol and just means that when a computer or a network printer starts up, it asks on the network for a free IP address. The main router in the network normally provides this service (although with Microsoft Small Business Server, it takes this over which is a tremendous pain IMHO).

h2. Flipping random devices to DHCP

Here’s some common devices and how to find their admininstrative interfaces and get them to DHCP.

HP LaserJet 4250N. This is pretty easy, if you know its IP address, then the LaserJet’s interface is a web page. So go to in your web browser for instance. If you don’t know it, then go to your router and look up its DHCP addresses or do a ping looking for devices. On Windows there is a great tool called Lanscan that lets you do this or you can use “IP Scanner”: or the “Nmap”: security scanner although you do have to compile it yourself for Darwin (the codename for Mac OS X) using “Fink”:


“Buffalo Linkstation”: We have a single 500GB Buffalo Linkstation Pro with a Gigabit Ethernet. It is great, but expensive. To find it you need NAS Navigator. They have both a Windows and a Mac version. This finds it for you and opens the installation screen. You then go to network settings and make it DHCP configured.

“Simpletech Simpleshare”: is obsolete now that someone has acquired them. You can still get their SimpleShare NAS Finder Utility though and use that to find their hardware. Then again, use their web interface to convert to DHCP

I then disconnected the WRT54GL and plugged in the Apple Time Capsule. The Comcast cable modem didn’t see the change, so it required a restart too so it would give a DHCP address to the Time Capsule. After that, you download the Airport Utility 5.3 the CD included and you are off and to the races!

Cracking Airport

Well, this is sure confusing, I’m trying to get an older Snow Base Airport (not the Airport Extreme) to work right. Leopard, Mac OS X 10.5 comes with a new Airport Utility v5.2 to manage the Airport Extreme but not with the older Airports (code named Snow Base). In fact, this utility is really hard to find it is in /Applications/Utility/Airport Utility, but won’t find old wifi Airports. Instead, “Larry R.”: says you have to for:

h2. Tiger 10.1

Download the old AirPort Admin Utility Version 4.2. This is impossible to find efficiently on the Apple site, but you get it at “”: and you download AirPortSW42.dmg. Then you install it manually. Double click on the .DMG which mounts the file. Click on AirPortSW.pkg and select Show Package Contents. Go to the Contents folder. Double click on Archive.pax.gz which extracts an Archive.pax and an Archive Folder. Inside the Archive foldker look for Applications/Utilities and copy out the AirPort Admin Utility that is there. Don’t just copy to the Utilities folder, but rename it to something like “Airport Utility v4.2” This doesn’t work with Leopard however

h2. Leopard 10.2

You have to run the Windows version of Admin Utility 4.2 (so you need Parallels) and this seems to work.

h2. iStumbler, MacStumbler and Kismac

Debugging this stuff is easy for me on the PC as I know the tools, but on the Mac, life is different. First, you need “iStumbler”: which is an open source tool that lets you discover what is on your network. Like Network Stumbler in Windows land. iStumbler only works against open networks, while “Kismac”: sees invisible networks and will test encryption of WEP, WPA variety to make sure the passwords are good enough. “Macstumbler”: is an older version if iStumbler from 2003.