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Mac Airport card wireless error message

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I have some iBooks and MacBooks running 10.4 or 10.5 that all of a sudden have started receiving the following message:  "The wireless network appears to have been compromised and will be disabled for about a minute".  The user then can only reselect the network to get reconnected.  But the problem will come up after 10 minutes or 1 hour.  The wireless network is not compromised.  The wireless Access Points are Proxim brand AP-700s running WPA for security.  I have MacBooks running 10.7 and Windows XP/7 laptops connecting without any issues.  Based on a quick Google search, it appears that this is a glitch or some unresolved error in the Airport card driver or software.  Has anybody seen this message and/or suggest a fix?
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Question by:dotedu
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by:tomago
ID: 36507964
What type of encryption are you using on the wireless router?  Change to WPA2 and you won't have this issue.  It stems from TKIP encryption and the wireless router incorrectly calculating MIC and checksums.  WPA2 uses AES instead of TKIP, so change the encryption to WPA2 and the issue will go away.
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by:dotedu
ID: 36507974
I am using WPA with TKIP.  What if the generation of Proxim APs only supports WPA, not WPA2?
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by:chakko
ID: 36507975

I see this about every 4 months or so.  I didn't know why until tomago provided an explanation.

I use WPA (my cheap home wifi router seems to perform poorly if I use WPA2).

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by:tomago
ID: 36508075
@dotedu: I hate to suggest to be less secure, but I suppose you can go down to WEP to be sure the problem doesn't persist.  Once you know that changing from WPA solved the issue, update the AP to one that supports WPA2.

@chakko:  change to WPA2 and if the problem goes away update your router to a better one, alternatively you can see if your router is on the list of supported devices for DDWRT.  If it is, try that to see if performance increases.
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by:chakko
ID: 36508095
Sorry, I was just commenting that I have seen the problem also on a MAC.

I just live with the occasional error and continue to use WPA.  my IP camera I have setup works poorly (WPA performs better) when I change to WPA2.

My cheap wifi routers seem to die (become unstable or not work 100%) after about 2 years, so I will wait until I need a new one.
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by:tomago
ID: 36525208
dotedu- did switching from WPA eliminate the errors?  If so, please mark the solution so others who have the same issue can search and find the answer.
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by:dotedu
ID: 36526911
Thanks - I figured out how to switch the Proxim APs to AES. Once the switch was made, error messages stopped. Looks like that is the answer. Don't understand why TKIP worked for 1 year without any problems then problem comes up out of the blue.  But the problem is fixed. Thanks again
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tomago earned 500 total points
ID: 36526999
Good to hear.  It very well could be an attack, but more often than not it's just the AP miscalculating the MIC and checksums.
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