AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.9.1
Apple has released a firmware update for AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac Wi-Fi that’s aimed at improving security. The release addresses three denial-of-service vulnerabilities, an out-of-bounds read issue that could allow an attacker to leak memory, and a bug where not all user data was deleted after a base station factory reset. You must update your AirPort base station using AirPort Utility on your Mac or an iOS device with Apple’s AirPort Utility app installed. Note that several TidBITS readers have reported having to power-cycle their base stations before being able to update successfully. (Free, release notes)
I had an interesting issue with the just-released update to the AirPort firmware: AirPort Utility refused to recognize my base station password when I tried to install the update. I had no luck with the Mac app, nor with the iOS AirPort Utility. However, after I cycled the power on the AirPort base station, the password was recognized and I was able to install.
It’s interesting that even though my base station was confused enough to reject my attempts to manage it with AirPort Utility until I rebooted the thing, it was still robust enough to keep the network up in its confused state.
I was able to install 7.9.1 on my Time Capsule apparently without incident. But Apple’s instructions for installing firmware updates say that 7.8 is latest for my AirPort Express 802.11n. Nonetheless, AirPort Utility does not offer an Update button for that device, even though it says the AirPort Express has 7.6.9. I don’t think I care, except that I wish I understood better what was happening.
My 802.11n model also remains at 7.6.9 without showing an update button.
Apple says that
firmware 7.8 was to add Airplay 2 support which I don’t use so no big deal.
Any added security would be nice on this 2009 model but newer units offered more WiFi power and speed so likely have some hardware differences which may be needed for newer firmware.
I have a Synology RT2600ac sitting here to replace it when I get around to it.
Thanks for that info, Jim.
I almost added that if the only thing I was missing was support for Airplay 2, then I wasn’t missing anything I would use. But I wonder if there is anything else, and I wonder why Apple’s web site says 7.8 is current for us but we don’t have the option to get it.
Just a note that the article says " Apple has released a firmware update for AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac Wi-Fi"
So if you’re using an Airport Express (as one person wrote), that might be why you’re not being given the option to update to 7.9.1
I had the same thing happen (WiFi password refused) and it was driving me a bit crazy. I was sure I knew the password, but when it failed a few times, I began to doubt myself. Only cycling the Airport down (i.e., pulling its plug) fixed the issue.
I’m one person who mentioned an Airport Express, but I thought I addressed why I was mentioning it.
I found Apple’s instructions by reading the article, and I didn’t comment that I was “not being given the option to update to 7.9.1”.
Sorry - I certainly messed up.
Next time, I’ll be more careful than to quickly scan the comments.
Email from Apple today says 7.8.1 update released for 802.11n AirPort Base Stations. See Hasn’t appeared in my Airport Utility yet but I will be looking for it.
There seems to be an update for the Airport Express. I don’t know what it is but it is downloading as I type.
Thanks, Jim and Michael. I hadn’t received any notification, but when I opened AirPort Utility, the update was available. It is installing as I type, so if you see this post, apparently it installed satisfactorily.
Long ago, I had the option of setting a power level on my AirPort Express, but that disappeared with some update to AirPort Utility, if I recall correctly. Is there any way to check the current power level? I ask because the iPhone had trouble with the wi-fi signal in the entryway, which I would expect if the power level locked at 10% (where I set it when I had the option) but which I would not expect if the power level reset to 100% (which I would expect when the option went away).
That was probably lost when Apple went from the former more professional AP Utility to this more gimmicky toy thing we have now.
I believe though you can still check power/noise levels between your Mac and your AP base station by simply option-clicking on the AP menu bar icon. That will show you current signal strength, channels, mode, bandwidth, etc., but it will also reveal options for wifi logging and further diagnostics.
Strangely, I got an error message that update had failed.
Airport Utility said I was still at 7.6.9 after router restarted. Red icon showing update available was gone.
10 minutes later I re-launched AU and now it reports router is at 7.8.1.
And if this posts, it is obviously working.
Thanks for that refresher, Simon. I had known and forgotten about option-clicking the wi-fi icon in the menu bar.
That is something that is frustrating me more and more. Computers should be deterministic, and I believe they are, but with so many variables that they appear to be random. Why does something work one day (or hour, or minute) and not the next?
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