How to fix the ‘ethernet unplugged’ problem on Apple Airport Extreme


I have a 2009 Apple Airport Extreme. Quite often,  once a week or so,  I was losing my Internet connection and I would have to reboot  the base station to fix it.  After reading a few forums I discovered there is a bug in the most recent Apple AirPort Extreme base station firmware. Here is how to fix it by reverting back to an older version.

Firstly, the problem looks like this.

My Internet stops working and when I open the ‘Airport Utility’ my base station has this little red error  alert:


When I click on the base station I see this error report:


It is saying that my Ethernet is unplugged. But my Ethernet is not unplugged!

I can unplug my Ethernet cable and plug it back in,  the problem remains.  If I turn the base station off and then on again the problem is fixed –  until it happens again…


Now according to the forums,  this is a bug in Apple’s latest  Airport firmware. (Firmware is the software that lives in your  Airport Extreme base station and tells it what to do.)

Thankfully, you can tell your Airport Extreme router to go back to an older version of the firmware.

To do this you need to open  your “Airport Utility’  and click on your AirPort  Extreme base station.

You will see the little speech bubble kind of thing that pops up to the right with all the information about your Base station like this:


If you go to the ‘version’ and press the ‘option’ key, you can select a different version of the firmware!

I told it to go back to version 7.6.1 and all the problems were fixed. You don’t need to go back all the way to version 7.5.2. Version 7.6.1 seems to do the job.


6 responses to “How to fix the ‘ethernet unplugged’ problem on Apple Airport Extreme”

  1. Scott

    I have the very latest TALL tower Airport extreme and this method does not work. I don’t get a list of older firmware just the current and then an “other” option…but then it searches your computer for the “other” version and I don’t know if I have it or where it is.

    1. I didn’t know there was a problem on the latest tower AirPort Extreme, that’s a shame that they haven’t fixed it!

    2. Ash

      Have the same issue. Airport Extreme. Not detecting the ethernet cable. Tried everything from factory reset to powering down my entire network / devices for hours and re-trying. The option of going back to previous firmware does not exist.

  2. Luke

    Same issue here. Using AirPort Time Capsule and it just stopped working out of the blue. Says that ethernet not plugged in — but it is. And no way to revert to a previous version. Any other ideas appreciated!

  3. Allison

    Our Airport TC just randomly quit working over the weekend. Ethernet not plugged in message and I’ve rebooted, reset, change cables, air dusted it, and reset our DSL modem/router. This one gives me three versions I could revert to when I hold down the Option key, but all three attempt to connect to the network to access it. Apparently it’s not a rollback but a download on these tall TCs to use an old firmware version.

  4. Yashodhan

    I have reverted my 5th Gen AirPort Extreme back to 7.6.1 but the WAN port light still is off and does not detect the cable plugged in.

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