I’ve been having intermittent issues with my MacBook dropping the connection to the SMB share on my Solaris server. It wasn’t bad enough for me to spend any time trying to troubleshoot it because a quick stop and start on the airport would usually allow me to mount the network volume again. The problem usually showed up a few times a week and never lasted more than a minute or two. My Windows PC, which is wired to the ethernet network, never had any issues with dropping this connection to the same SMB share.
After the AirPort Extreme Update 2008-004 that came out just a couple weeks ago, I haven’t had any problems at all. My connection to the share on the Solaris server has been rock solid. It’s one of those things that took me a while to notice, but after a week went by getting the disconnect message from the Finder I realized how nice it was to just have the connection work.
If you’re wondering why I care, it’s because I manage my iTunes library from my laptop, but have my iTunes music folder on the network share. All the content is stored there, but the library file (like an index of iTunes content) is on my MacBook. When iTunes can’t find the network volume, it saves any downloads (usually podcasts that download automatically) to the local volume on the MacBook. It’s simple to copy the content back into the assigned iTunes Music folder when it’s available, but running “Consolidate Content” takes a while and locks up iTunes while it runs.
I’m also extremely grateful for how the Finder was rewritten in Leopard to allow multi-threading for network shares. Anyone who’s had a Mac for more than a couple years will remember the pain of watching the beachball in the Finder when a network volume disappeared, or you put a notebook to sleep with a share mounted and then woke it up on another network and it spent eternity trying to figure out why this new network didn’t have the old network share available. I still occassionaly forget to put away my home network share when I leave, but now the Finder lets me know much more gracefully without any lockup of the computer while it figures out what I’ve done.
Anyways, thank you Apple for fixing this bug that looks like it was caused by the Airport driver.