Problem with using an Apple Airport Express

Dan Williams dcbw at
Thu Nov 29 14:18:58 EST 2007

On Thu, 2007-11-29 at 17:54 +0900, lesliek at wrote:
> I am trying to connect reliably to one of the above.
> When I boot up and run "iwlist wlan0 scan", sometimes the Airport
> Express is listed, sometimes not.

That is a driver issue.  However, be aware that wireless is an
inherently unreliable medium.  You're not guaranteed to get a scan
result from the AP every time you scan.  So no amount of driver code is
going to make a difference here.  It can certainly take a few scans to
build up a complete list of APs in your area.  If you leave
wpa_supplicant alone for a bit, it will do multiple scans and eventually
find your AP.

However, the driver can help the problem.  Drivers need to buffer  scan
results for some time after a request.  The driver shouldn't do stupid
things like clear the BSS list whenever somebody gets results (orinoco,
I'm looking at you).  It should allow any number of callers to get
results.  This may be what's happening to you.  Most of the offending
drivers are older fullmac-based drivers.

What client hardware are you using?


> If it's listed, I have no problem connecting to it using
> wpa_suplicant.
> If, however, it's not listed, I can't connect to it.
> I asked a question about this once before and someone kindly suggested
> that I modify my wpa_supplicant.conf file to include "scan_ssid=1" in
> that part of the file dealing with the network.
> However, that hasn't help me connect if the the Airport Express isn't
> listed in my scan.
> I'd be grateful for any other suggestions of things I might try to
> connect to the Airport Express when it doesn't appear in a scan.
> Thanks for reading this,
> Leslie
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