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Airport Extreme & Linksys WRT54G

Thursday, September 11th, 2003 · 20 Comments

Wireless Internet rules. This is my first time accessing the Web without wires (cell phones aside). It was a pain getting the PowerBook G4’s AirPort Extreme card, which I installed last night, to connect to my wireless network, powered by a new Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router. But I finally got it to work. Here’s what I had to do:

  • Restart in order for the AirPort to find the network
  • Enable SSID Broadcast in router settings
  • Disable WEP
  • Set router Mode from G-Only to Mixed (this was key in establishing the connection)
  • To secure my wireless network, enable Wireless MAC Filter and “Permit only PCs listed below to access the wireless network” (add my AirPort’s MAC address to list) — thanks to Ben for this pointer

And voila! I’m up and running no wires attached. I don’t know why I’ve never had a wireless network before.

The WEP authentication is confusing, so I don’t think I’ll bother activating it, especially since only my PowerBook can access the network. From what I’ve read, though, you need to turn on 128-bit hex encryption and enter one of the keys into your AirPort’s network connection as the password, preceeded by $.

But for now, I’m going to leave well enough alone and enjoy the fully functioning wireless action.

Tags: apple

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ben // Sep 11, 2003 at 2:31 pm

    nice, gabe. I knew you could do it. Just so you know, without encryption anyone near you could sniff your connection if they wanted to… Watch out for the RIAA scoping out transfers of MP3s around you neighborhood.

  • 2 Glenn Fleishman // Sep 12, 2003 at 9:26 am

    Sounds like Linksys need to issue ANOTHER firmware update. I’ve heard this from many people that they can’t get WEP + Extreme to work with 54G gear. That’s senseless because the standard has been finalized. Make sure and complain to Linksys.

  • 3 Stefan // Sep 21, 2003 at 1:04 pm

    I just got my Airport Extreme working with the WRT54G using 128 bit WEP. I just needed to punch in the 16 hex digits and it worked. BUT, the range connecting with the airport is pretty sad compared to connecting to another laptop with a linksys pcmcia card. It looks to me like the airport doesnt down grade the connection when reception goes down, it just shuts off.

  • 4 tepolgar // Sep 28, 2003 at 6:03 pm

    I have a 12″ Mac G4 Powerbook w/airport extreme card and cannot access linksys wireless router. Did what you did, gained access for a second, that is, the router finally assigned the proper IP address, but didn’t last long. I tried manually installing IP address w/o success. I am using Linksys BEFW11S4 wireless router with two PC’s & dell wireless successfully. The 2 PC are wired. I have ordered a U.S. Robotics 802.11g wireless router, they say they support Macintosh. We’ll see. Any ideas out there??

  • 5 tepolgar // Oct 2, 2003 at 8:51 am

    I got my Mac Powerbook G4 12″ with airport extreme card working, but not with the Linksys. I purchased an ASR8022 U.S. Rpbotics wireless router, print server and out of the box, it worked! So much for Linksys. All I had to do was rename my network from Linksys to the new one. Man, what a waste of time with the Linksys:( Next task is getting the Mac to print to the print server.

  • 6 Anonymous // Oct 25, 2003 at 6:44 pm

    Please help, Im using the airport extreme card with a linksys wrt54g wiressly, it works fine, but when i try to download something or with the time, the connection hang up, i have to restart my machine o put i to sleep to reconnect, does anyone knows what to do?

  • 7 Eric // Oct 25, 2003 at 10:48 pm

    Does anyone knows how to help me?, my problem is the linksys wrt54g wireless router with my airport extreme card, sometimes disconnects me, so I have to restar the computer to connect me, or put it to sleep, please help

  • 8 jf // Nov 25, 2003 at 9:37 am

    Does someone know about how good (or if) the USR88054 U.S. Robotics WLAN-Router works in combination with Apple’s AirPort Extreme Card? Can the WPA encryption – which is by far more secure than WEP – be used? It would be nice if you dropped me a line:

  • 9 David Akin // Dec 18, 2003 at 4:29 am

    Finally!! Airport Extreme and my LinkSys router are talking!

    I run a Wi-fi network at the home office. The network is served by a Linksys wireless router that runs on the 802.11b standard. Apple’s Airport card also runs 802.11 and…

  • 10 Artifx // Jan 3, 2004 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve got my MAC hooked up (sucessfully) to the Linksys G wireless (WRT54g). It automatically detected the router (named the network Linksys) and its been great!

    I have two problems, though. One, I want to use WEP encription and can’t find instructions on doing so. Tried making up password for 128 bit encription (13 digits) but it didn’t work. Internet connection went down when I tried.

    Also, I can’t seem to get my home PC linked to the router with the Linksys card I bought. I don’t know if its distance thing(from the router) or a set-up thing. Any help?

  • 11 The Tortured Artist // Jan 23, 2004 at 12:20 am

    Wireless isn’t “secure” yet, but using a combination of MAC address limiting *and* WEP encryption is a “pretty good” setup – similar to the lock on your front door. A determined thief can get in, but the casual folks going along jiggling handles to see what opens will move on to the next easy target.

    I didn’t see this mentioned in the other comments, so I thought it important that you know that MAC addresses can be easily spoofed. In other words, since your wireless transmissions are unencrypted, all someone has to do is sniff your packets, get your computer’s MAC address, then set their computer to transmit that MAC address instead of its own. Poof… they’re on your network.

    By enabling WEP encryption, you make this a much more difficult process – most likely one that they won’t bother with. It’s definitely worth the time to get that WEP stuff going!

  • 12 carla rawls // Feb 29, 2004 at 5:47 pm

    default ip address for the airport xtreme router?

  • 13 Joshua Turner // Mar 16, 2004 at 8:51 am

    I have the same Router (Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router) and it has worked great with my Powerbook with a AirPort Extreme card. I just installed an older AirPort card (802.11b) into an iBook running OS 9.2 and it is having connectivity problems. The connection drops out every 30 sec. Not sure if this matters but I have the router security set up as WPA Personal. Not sure if this is the problem. Anyone had a similiar problem? If not can anyone direct me to a good mac forum tht might answer this. Thanks

  • 14 gabe // Mar 25, 2004 at 3:36 pm

    Changing your router’s channel to 11 and your network ID to something unique (not “linksys”) is a great way to prevent connections from dropping. I just did this today (after getting frustrated with dropped connections and calling Linksys for advice), and so far, so good!

  • 15 gabe // Mar 25, 2004 at 6:12 pm

    Talked to linksys again after experiencing additional problems with dropped network, and here are the settings they had me change:
    MTU: Manual Size: 1100
    Beacon Interval: 90 (Default: 100, Milliseconds, Range: 1 – 65535)
    RTS Threshold: 2200 (Default: 2347, Range: 0 – 2347)
    Fragmentation Threshold: 2200 (Default: 2346, Range: 256 – 2346)

    No dropped connections at all yet! We’ll see if it keeps up.

  • 16 not giving up // May 15, 2004 at 3:44 am

    I have a blue Imac and a pc along with a linksys wrt54g can connect the pc but not the mac. How do I connect the mac to the router also?

  • 17 Justin Wrockloff // May 25, 2004 at 9:07 pm

    Made airport work with the linksys WRT54G. It was easy. Just typed the $ (dollar) sign before the wep key and presto it works great… We’ll see how long this lasts.

  • 18 MuzikManTx // Jun 23, 2004 at 9:38 pm

    Changing channels is always a good first step for intermittent, low, or no signal received. The valid channels in the US are 1-11. By default, Linksys uses channel 6. If there are any other wireless networks in the area, any 2.4 GHz phones, or any other items that may cause wireless interference, you may need to try different channels to see what channel works best for you. I always recommend changing the SSID from the default, which with most routers is the manufacturer’s name, to something unique and something that people may not necessarily associate with you just so that do not readily see that this is YOUR network. Once you have your connection established and working well, some additional security settings would be to set the Airport card to connect to a specific network instead of automatic and set the name to the SSID of your router, then disable the SSID Broadcast so that the network is more or less invisible to snoopers or others in the area. Also, I generally encourage people to set up the MAC Authentication on the router to limit what MAC address can connect and get an IP address and enable some type of WEP or WPA (if your card and OS support it). With WEP keys, remember that 128-bit encryption is 13 HEXADECIMAL characters, not 13 alphanumberic characters. A HEXADECIMAL character is a pair of alphanumeric characters with the valid characters being 0-9 and A-F, for example, 06 is the HEX value of 7 and 0C is the HEX value of 12, so a valid key would be 13 alphanumeric PAIRS, not 13 characters.
    Hope this helps some of you or is of some use to someone.

  • 19 danny // Nov 2, 2004 at 8:34 pm

    ok i have my dsl connection hooked up to an airport extreme and i want to use a linksys wireless g router wrt54g to connect to the internet so i want the airport to send the signal and the linksys recieve so i can use the internet connection from the mac how would i go about doing this

  • 20 Kyle Shover // May 18, 2005 at 4:52 pm

    I would like to provide you and your users (who seem to be in the same boat) with instructions to clean up your wireless network. I admit, I shared the same feelings when I first got my router: “It’s working, that’s all I care.” But as time went on, and the more I learned, the more I realized, that was a very VERY bad attitude.

    I have attached a pdf that will guide any owner of a Linksys WRT54G router to make their network secure. Of course you can pick and choose what features to implement, though I would implement all of them for optimal results. I have a PowerBook G4 as well, so it appears we are looking at nearly identical set-ups.

    If you encounter any issues. Let me know. I was thorough for a reason.