updated 05:20 pm EST, Thu February 1, 2007
New Base Station support
Apple is offering support for its recently shipping AirPort Extreme 802.11n-enabled Base Stations by addressing several documented issues, listing supported USB storage formats/protocols, and providing an online discussion forum. Owners of the new AirPort Extreme Base Station can connect USB-based storage devices that have a block size of 512 bytes and are formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS-plus), FAT16, or FAT32, according to Apple. The AirPort Extreme (802.11n) shares storage devices based on the format used to initialize the storage device, and owners can use AirPort Disk Utility to discover as well as amount AirPort Extreme-based volumes over the network. Apple warns that AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Stations which work with storage devices do not support USB devices that use removable media, such as a floppy disk drive or an optical drive.
Resetting the Base Station
Users can soft reset the 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station to circumvent a forgotten password, or hard reset if the device stops responding, has network accessibility issues, or if the owner needs to return the Base Station to its default configuration. The reset button is located to the left of the WAN Ethernet port, and Apple provides instructions for both types of reset. The company is offering detailed instructions on resetting the new Base Station, but notes that the device must be connected to its power supply during the process.
Avoid home directories in attached USB storage devices
The Cupertino-based company is also offering troubleshooting advice for users experiencing issues with the new hardware. Apple suggests users avoid using an attached USB storage device as a home directory, as the Base Station may not be able to locate a home directory on an attached USB device if it is powered off or if the enumeration order of attached storage devices changes.
Missing, oddly-named USB storage devices
Base Station owners whose USB storage volume does not appear in Airport Disk Utility or that displays with an unexpected name should check to ensure the volume name does not contain any high ASCII characters or 2-byte characters (such as those commonly used in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean fonts). Users experiencing these issues should disconnect the volume and connect it to a computer, then rename the storage volume with no high ASCII or 2-byte characters. After following these steps reconnecting the drive to the Base Station should resolve the issue, according to Apple.
Connectivity issues with Windows clients
Apple cautions that some Windows clients may be unable to properly implement the Transitional Security Networks (TSN) version of WPA, but adds that if a Windows client has issues connecting to an AirPort Extreme 802.11n network users can try using TSN/WEP instead. Should this fail, users can alternatively try using non-TSN/WPA modes to communicate with the AirPort Extreme.
Improper USB connections
Apple has documented that some AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Stations incorrectly appear to be powered by a connected USB device, indicated by a lit status LED on the Base Station when certain self-powered USB devices are connected and powered but the Base Station itself is off. Apple suggests disconnecting all USB devices from the Base Station, turning on the Base Station, waiting for the device to start up completely, and then reconnecting USB storage devices. The company also warns against using any USB storage device that draws power from multiple USB ports (such as those using Y-adapters).