Can I just say right now how much I hate…

…the Airport Utility (AU) that comes with the Airport Express (AE) base station.

First annoyance is that the damn AE reboots every damn time you change the slightest little parameter. You want to add a new printer? Reboot. Add Windows networking to the shared disk drives? Reboot.

Second annoyance is that the router has to have the .1 address. Too bad I was using for my Linux box, and for the router before. So I had to renumber every reference to my Linux box everywhere on the LAN.

So I got around that crap. The shared printers and disk were working great. But then Vicki noticed that the TiVos weren’t connecting to the network any more. Oh yeah, new SSID. I guess I’d better reconfigure them. That’s when the real fun began.

Real fun number 1: TiVo wouldn’t connect to the new network, because the new network uses WPA instead of WEP. Ok, fine, I thought, I’d convert the AE to WEP.

Real fun number 2: AU will only accept WEP passwords as 13 alphanumeric characters. The usual Apple way of entering a hex string WEP password, by putting a $ at the front, doesn’t work.

Real fun number 3: After rebooting, the Airport Utility says the AE is using WEP, but everything that attempts to connect to it (my laptop and the Tivo) says that it’s still using WPA.

Real fun number 4: Every couple of reboots, the AU says it can’t connect to the AE, and you have to exit it and re-enter.

Real fun number 5: I tried turning off the security entirely. After yet another reboot, the AE refuses to come back up. I power cycled it, and it has a continuously flashing yellow light on the front, which normally indicates an error of some sort. AU confirms that the “error” is the lack of security. That’s fucking annoying.

Real fun number 6: With security turned off, the TiVo says that it can’t find a DHCP server. Since it had no trouble finding the DHCP server before, I assume that’s the AE’s fault.

At this point, I said “fuck it, this sucks”, and switched off the AE and put the Linksys back. The AE is going to go off to the Genius Bar to see if there is some secret way to get it to do WEP as well as a router that costs 1/5th as much does.

If that doesn’t work, I have a plan B: put the AE in pass through mode, and put it, the printers and the disk in the library. That might even improve the reception in the kitchen.