Update (2/14/11): After living with the configuration below for some time, I started seeing some familiar problems reappear on our network - the Remote app being unable to connect, Air Video unable to stream consistently, and our AppleTV being unable to connect to the media server. So I scanned around a bit more and found this guide. Turns out that the Actiontec router's NAT table (NAT table=network address translation table, the place where the router stores network addresses so computers can find each other on the network) is tiny and easily overflows, resulting in systems being unable to find each other over the network. There's no solution to this other than to stop the Actiontec being in control of NAT, and the only way to do that (as far as I know) is to take all control of the network away from that router. Problem is, the Actiontec is your gateway to Verizon's service but, fortunately, this excellent guide shows how to configure the Actiontec so a different router can do all the heavy lifting. I've done this with an Airport Express and it's working like a charm -- I've now got faster download an upload speeds (like 10MB/s faster!), and a much more configurable network. One downside: following the guide will break your FiOS video-on-demand and TV listings services...unless you follow some of the comments in the guide, in which case you'll probably be okay. But as we don't use either of these features in our house, I couldn't care less!
Preface: There are a lot of solutions on the web that purport to fix this problem. This is the solution that has worked (so far) for me.
Background: We'd always experienced extremely spotty Bonjour networking services on our home network. Bonjour is an Apple networking technology that allows services to discover each other. iTunes, Apple TV, and other Mac OSX and iOS services all use Bonjour. The problems we experienced included:
- Unable to connect reliably using Screen Sharing
- The Remote iPhone app could not connect reliably to iTunes
- The AirVideo iPhone app could not reliably stream from the host OSX machine
- Macs on the network could not discover Bonjour-networked printers
I'd done a lot of investigation into this already, and had changed out our Linksys router's software for DD-WRT, amongst other measures. Nothing seemed to help. In the interim, we switched Internet provider from Cox Cable to Verizon FiOS. Verizon supplies a wireless router as part of their installation, so I decided to take a closer look at that router to see if it could help solve some of the problems.
Turns out that the Actiontec routers (I have a MI424WR) seem to cause many people problems with Bonjour, including the kinds of behavior I list above (Google "Bonjour router actiontec" to see what I mean). To solve the problems, people have recommended that changes be made on the router to disable or enable multicasting, change network MTU values, and so on. After some experimentation, I found that none of the above worked. A firmware update appears to be available for the router via Actiontec but Verizon hasn't yet made it available for download; you can check on Verizon's authorized updates here. (Firmware updates may or may not be installed automatically by your router; check your settings on your router by going to Advanced -> Firmware Upgrade.)
I noted, however, that when my MacBook Pro was plugged into the router via Ethernet, all the Bonjour services seemed to work just fine, whereas a wireless connection continued to experience problems.
Solution: So it appeared that the problem had something to do with the wireless side of the network. I decided to turn off any services I didn't need; 802.11b wireless networking support was no longer used on our network, so I turned it off. As soon as I did that, Bonjour services were available on the wireless network to all devices! And, so far, it's continuing to work just fine.
If you're experiencing similar behaviors as those listed above and have an Actiontec router, do the following:
- Login to your wireless router (usually at 192.168.1.1 on your home network)
- Click on Wireless Settings
- Click on Advanced Security Settings
- Click on 802.11b/g Mode (at the bottom; it looks like bolded text)
- In the drop-down box, select "802.11.g Only"
- Click Apply
If your network does require 802.11b support, you might try selecting "802.11b Only" rather than "802.11g Only" in step 4 above, but I can't test that on my network to know if it works or not.
I hope this works for you!