Wii firmware upgrade and Apple Airport Extreme – unhappy together

So I hadn’t given my Wii much love lately, so I turned it on last night to try out the recent Prince of Persia port for a bit. I played for a bit and I turned it off.

Interestingly enough, the normal “off” with the Wii, is actually more like “standby” and is live on the network, checking for messages, and doing whatever Wiis do. This will be interesting a little later on.

While dorking around with my laptop in the living room doing some of my typical nerd things, I notice that I keep disassociating with my wifi network. There’s a bunch of competing wifi networks here, so I’ve become accustomed to a fair amount of fail related to it. Wifi is a convenience, but it was happening so much I thought that someone was using a deauthentication attack on my client.

I pulled the logs on my AP and saw this:

AirPort UtilityScreenSnapz001.jpg

Well that looked a little slow for a typical attack. What else was happening?

AirPort UtilityScreenSnapz002.jpg

The key was getting rotated every couple minutes and all the active clients were resetting their connections. What gives? What’s going on here?

AirPort UtilityScreenSnapz003.jpg

Ok. So I threw laptop in passive mode and snooped on network traffic. So who’s this guy that’s flapping it’s connection every 10 seconds?


A Nintendo manufacturer MAC prefix? My Wii in suspended mode is breaking my WPA2 network? What the hell?

So apparently the Wii uPnP requests two TCP and one UDP ports on the router repeatedly, while in suspend mode, and the Apple Airport Extreme (that’s an 802.11n AP in mixed g/n mode) freaks out. This is clearly a new feature as I only updated my Wii’s firmware last week and would have been too annoying for me to miss previously.

In case you were wondering why your Wii was freaking out on your Airport or Airport Extreme network, hopefully you’ll have been able to find this and can troubleshoot further.

It might be the uPnP support for NAT port mapping, but my fix is to turn off the Wii fully when not in use. Hold down the power button until the LED is red instead of orange. I’m sure more people will complain and one or the other will update their firmware to compensate soon enough.

5 comments to Wii firmware upgrade and Apple Airport Extreme – unhappy together

  • Wil Gragido

    LOL I remember when you told me about this. The funny thing is, right after that happened to you, it happened to two others I know.

  • Monica Pincus

    Gee, you wrote about something I actually understand … we’, too, have had this problem off-and-on for quite a while.

    So our LO-TECH solution was to UNPLUG the Wii!! Works every time!

    Great speaking with you yesterday.


  • Charlie Robinson

    This is also happening to me, in fact my router got so bogged down with the requests that my iMac started getting disconnected because the router was timing out. Just in case anybody else here has HD DVR’s from DirecTv they do the same thing too since they are also media servers.

  • martin buss

    did this ever get fixed with a WII system update at a latter time that you know of??
    im about to get an airport extream, and hope to god this has been resolved by Nintendo!

    • This was no longer a problem after multiple firmware updates, so I’m not exactly sure how it was resolved, but I didn’t put my Wii into standby mode for years because of it.

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