Today I added another Apple product to the ranks of computer junk I have. After adding upgrading my wireless access point to WPA, I found it to be sluggish, and at times, outright unresponsive. Sometimes it would take up to two minutes for my iPod to connect! I attributed this to the access point itself. The previous firmware revision for it didn't support WPA, and the latest (and likely last) firmware update for it didn't seem very stable. It all came to a head yesterday when I accidentally got locked out of my house and I couldn't join my access point outside my home because it decided to go on the fritz again.
So last night, I hatched a plan to get a new access point. The problem was that I didn't feel like going to my wife to ask for some money because I had to burn a bitter amount on calling the locksmith out, so I couldn't just go buy one outright. Then, I remembered that I still had a $300 gift card from Apple. At that moment I realized that I could get an Airport Extreme Base Station and wouldn't cost me a thing. The added bonus is that it supports printer sharing, too.
So I went out there today and bought one. Setup was a little tricky, but I was able to get it quickly up and running. Some of the features that I really liked is the ability to put in 'bridged' mode where it doesn't create a separate network, but wirelessly extends your existing one. That combined with WPA2 encryption with RADIUS support, just beefs up the security even more.
After plugging everything in and setting everything up, I found out that connecting to the AP was extremely quick! Problem solved! My iPod Touch instantly authenticated after supplying my credentials, and didn't have to wait at all for to surf or check email.
Connecting the printer, on the other hand, was a little more tricky. You can plug it in, and it instantly detects it, but getting clients connected can be a pain. I found that the Bonjour service was pretty much useless to connect because I would get an error message that said: "You do not have sufficient privileges to connect to this printer." Oh really? I was, however, able to resolve the issue by following the steps outlined in this article I found online: http://www.ifelix.co.uk/tech/1004.html It completely eliminates the use of the Bonjour utility to add the printer to your computer.
After setting that up my network is now completely up! I get great wireless range, but as mentioned, the fast connect times are what really makes me happy this product.