[rant] The end-of-rant is intentionally left out in case more rant is added later. I've recently started using official arduino wifi shield. I have a lot of questions but only rarely find answers on the forum or on arduino product page. I dug down deep into the library but since the shield has its own firmware, all interesting things are happening there (there's code but come on how am I supposed to understand all that). Unfortunately Arduino team provides no manual on the principles of operation of the shield, just links of function calls.
One thing, like why am I not getting MAC address until I connect to a wifi router, is bothering me since I can dig all the way down to sending SPI command to wifi chip and found no answer why a connection is needed to return a MAC address. No connections, all zeros. It's frustrating to work without knowing what these functions do.
Another thing is I wonder if the wifi chip keeps the connection active and renews IP address lease regularly. I'm designing something to be operational for long periods of time, a month or so at a time so everything needs to be understood to prevent exceptions but there's no documentation for this almost $100 piece of electronics!!