Monday, May 28, 2007

The Apple Graphite AirPort Base Station, Windows Vista, and failing to connect to the internet

Recent experience with the Apple Graphite AirPort Base station and the newest MS OS Vista found me googling without an answer. This is likely to be a rare combination these days, so it isn't a surprise to not have a solution out there. This is used for wireless modem sharing up my parent's (in-law) cabin where the cost of high-speed Internet is preventative.

The basic symptom was that the "Internet" wasn't functioning on the Vista machine. It could connect fine with the AirPort base station, but would get no further. Digging deeper it appeared that DNS was not functioning for the Vista machine. A little more digging and installing a separate copy of Vista using bootcamp for Mac confirmed it was reproducible.

Another step in the digging was to try an nslookup from a functioning machine -- note Windows XP, MAC OS X all work while simultaneously Vista does not.

Welcome to Darwin!
macpowerbookpro:~ user$ nslookup
;; reply from unexpected source:, expected
;; reply from unexpected source:, expected

This seemed to be potentially at the root of the problem. I suspect that Windows XP/Mac OS X don't mind a response from a DNS server that it didn't ask. Vista is a bit more particular about it.

The temporary solution is to put the nameservers that your ISP has directly in the TCP/IP configuration of Vista (see image below). I admit there is probably a more complete solution, but this will keep one going until that is solved.

Keywords: Apple Graphite AirPort Base Station, Windows Vista, Internet connection problems, DNS problem, DNS lookups fail.


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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I stumbled across your website and I have a similar problem with my hookup with Windows Vista and Airport Express. I am trying to extend my existing Linux wireless network to include the Airport Express, and the best I can do is getting 2 different network connections. One with Airport Express and one with the regular network, but not both. The CD that came with Airport express does not work and I can't use the admin utility.

Will your solution work, and would I put the preferred DNS server information for the IP address of my router? And would that pick up the Airport Express??

Was up way too late the last few nights working on this, and here's to hoping that you'll help a total stranger.


Anonymous said...

This was really helful. I had no problem connecting with VISTA for about 3 months... now it stopped the connection. I used your suggestion and can connect again.

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Aaron said...

I was wondering if you ever found a better solution to this problem (short of buying a new wireless router, obviously)?

Paul Cooley said...

Nothing better yet, Andrew. Sorry.

(im)poster said...

Thank you so much for this workaround. It is the only thing I have found that solves the problem.

dont_tread_on_me said...

Awesome m8, thanks alot!

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