Annoying AirPort error message #1

I just spent far too long resolving a problem with a Linksys wireless base station that wasn’t broadcasting its name (SSID) and was using 128-bit WEP. When I tried to connect my laptop to it, running Mac OS X 10.3.4, the laptop threw up its proverbial hands and gave me the error message: “There was an error trying to connect to the selected AirPort network.”

The solution turns out to be bone simple. SSIDs (network names) are case sensitive. My friend’s base station had the SSID set to all uppercase. I was entering it in lowercase and occasionally initial caps.

I didn’t discover the solution until after several fruitless Google searches and looking through the Apple discussions. A helpful thread on the MacOSXHints forums finally gave me the key.

Unsolicited feedback to Apple: Please, if you’re going to throw an error message this useless, log more detailed information to the Console or wherever so I can figure out what the hell is going on without wasting two hours on a nice holiday afternoon.