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new macbook pro 2011 weak and dropping wireless connection

233066 Views 965 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2014 3:13 AM by BananaMacintosh RSS
  • PJRives Level 1 Level 1 (85 points)

    "I'm not sure till now if there is a matter between upgrade and clean install regarding to the wireless issue."

     

    I'm a little surprised you don't seem to have considered that issue. I would think that any good trouble shooter would have. Way before trying to deciper ping output etc. Particularly given the talk about how SL etc and Windows can use multiple forms of security that Lion ditched.

  • yozhbk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok this "assembled May 2011" makes me think that the later releases do not have the same issues I`m having I guess a trip to an apple store is needed .....

  • lupunus Level 3 Level 3 (995 points)

    Some new Information from Apple's hotline an a resume of the previous findings.

     

    First the news.

    Apple phone support told, that some network files can get corrupted over time or upgrades and should be deleted occasionally, especially if you have installed a new operating environment like Lion.

     

    For that, switch OFF the wireless on the machine you want to tweak.

    Delete from the system files:

     

        * preferences.plist

        * Networkinterfaces.plist

        * com.apple.network.identification.plist

        * com.apple.airport.preferences.plist

        * (and any associated files like above that had ".orig" at the end)

     

    Eventually you should also delete all related entry's from Keychain Access

    Reboot and join the network again.

     

    Nevertheless, there could be also different reasons for the problems one experience. For that a resume about the issues and findings so far.

     

    As one may imagine, in most cases, people blame on firsthand the obvious because they are often, by lack of knowledge, not able to see the coherence in a complicated infrastructure as wireless and networking is.

    That's pretty normal and o.k. as well as a car driver mostly not have to have any knowledge about the regulations and functions of the fuel injection system.

     

    I've discovered on many troubleshoots around wireless problems regardless of Apple, Linux or Windows, that (except a single reason became valid) in most cases it's a mix of minor issues what leads to major problems; e.g. constantly stream drop out, lousy speed, 3 stations work well but one wont, WiFi drop when a smart phone connects, up to total loss of the WiFi connection.

     

    Although it's sometimes a rough job to find the reasons behind the trouble in networks it's always a fine idea first to eliminate all known or discoverable possible reasons.

     

    What comes out so far?

     

    1. Corrupted or damaged configuration files on client.
    2. Different domains in the local network
    3. General radio problems in WiFi. Based on disturbance from interferences, obstacles in or reflections of the radio beam
    4. Mismatched settings on the network participants
    5. Problems with the 802.11b/g/n compatibility mode
    6. Hardware fault's or buggy drivers / firmware

    ...and of course there could be a lot more reasons.

     

    On this I'll follow the numbering above and will also add a short description about possible reasons or a example in a not so technical manner for better understanding.

     

    One may check, which possible solution or combination of solutions may best fit the own problematic.

     

    #1 -> Corrupted or damaged configuration files on client.

    Possible reasons: Time, Updates, Upgrades, accidentally power loss on running system and countless more.

    Solution: See entry of this post.

    Alternative solution:

    For those are a bit frightened to delete complete system configuration files. In many cases this "short version" will do the trick too.

     

        * Switch OFF wifi on the affected machine.

        * Delete all affected networks from the "known networks" list in System Settings

        * Delete all keys pointing to these networks from Keychain Access

        * Reboot

        * Join network again.

     

    #2 -> Different domains in the local network environment.

    Description: In a network segment (your home network) all systems have to be member of the same local domain. This allows a clear name resolution (DNS) in the net. Most systems have a default set local domain name in the network configuration to ease joining a network with systems of the same bread.

    Windows systems have by default set a own local domain like e.g. "workgroup" (depending on version or localisation). Mac's have by default set the local domain name as "local". Some Routers have by default set one of these, none or a different local domain name; e.g. in UK some BT-DSL/WiFi boxes provide "home" for the local domain name.

    Reasons: If there different domains in the same segment (your network), name resolution trouble is programmed and that leads to unwanted network traffic, packet collisions and could at last force stations to disassociate from the network or get disassociated by access point (router) due to time out, bad or wrong response.

    User experience: Slow and sluggish network, WiFi or iTunes/Video stream drop, lousy data transfer speed or being unable to open different Internet sites in the browser. Also observations like: My Windows box work well in my wireless but my Mac wont. At the office all is perfect but at home...

    Solution: Configure ALL stations (clients) in your network to use the same local domain name, regardless of which name you choose. Eventually set up a second location (profile) for the particular network.

    Attention!

    If you want to use Apples new child "Airdrop" you must use "local" as the domain name, as Airdrop refuses to work with other local domains or with stations using not "local" for domain name.

     

    #3 -> General radio problems in wireless networks based on disturbance from interferences, obstacles in or reflections of the radio beam

    Description: The radio beams of a wireless are not Roentgen X-Ray and therefore obstacles, interferences from other wireless systems or reflections of the radio beam could cause major disturbance of the wireless network and based on this, the data stream in the network.

    Possible reasons:

    • Obstacles like Walls, magnetic fields from live high voltage lines, antenna cable or insufficient shielded speaker systems. Metal frames or plating, furniture, bundled water pipes, dry construction plaster walls*, Humans* and much more.
    • Interferences from other radio equipment like Bluetooth, cordless phones, neighborhood WiFi, cordless speakers, cordless doorbells, intercoms, ptt units, baby phone's, surveillance and alarm systems, commercial weather radar, some military equipment and so on.

     

    *) Water is a big bar for radio. Plastered dry construction walls and Humans contain a lot of water.

     

    One of the above named possible reasons or any combination can cause major annoyance due to unwanted network traffic or packet collisions and could at last force stations to disassociate from the network or get disassociated by access point (router) due to time out or signal loss.

    User experience: Heavy fading signal strength, slow and sluggish wireless connection iTunes/Video stream drop, lousy data transfer speed, total connection loss or only time relating disturbances here and there.

    Solutions:

    Placement of transmitter. Not flat at the wall. Not in a corner, not on the floor, not behind a furniture, not near of other radio sources e.g. cordless phones. Not near of anything that can reflect radio beams. Best: as high as possible; e.g. Airport Extreme mount on ceiling. Maximum possible line of sight to all stations respectively corners of the home.

    Placement of stations: see above and below.

    Placement of yourself: If possible not between your Mac' antenna(s) and the transmitter.

    Radio interferences: Check that the channel you use have at least a 5 channel gap to the two strongest wireless networks around. If possible use the recommended overlapping free channels for your country for best performance. On 2.4GHz networks -> for US-1,6,11 and for Europe 1,5,9,13. If possible swap to 5GHz 802.11n only and force the stations supporting this to use only 5GHz. Disable 802,11a/b/g wireless if possible. Place cordless phone stations as far away from the router (access point) as possible. Eventually disable all radio transmitting equipment in the house. If the wireless then work better, enable one at the time to see which is the disturbing one. Don't forget leaking microwave ovens. A running faulty microwave may drown your complete wireless network at once and your neighbors WiFi too.

     

    #4 -> Mismatched settings on the network participants.

    Description: Self describing.

    Reasons: New equipment in the network, differences between home and office/work settings.

    Solution: Check and change to match. Eventually establish a second location (profile) in System Settings on that.

    Remember: Contrary to marketing and promotion, Networking NEVER was easy Plug&Play and at least for the next few years it wont.

     

    #5 -> Problems with the 802.11b/g/n compatibility mode.

    Modern WiFi bases pretend to integrate every protocol regardless of age or used hardware in the connected stations. Pretty good idea from the viewpoint of a marketing department. Unfortunately. it could cause major problems in real wireless networks because mixing stone age 802.11a, cable LAN and lightning fast 802.11n 5GHz in the same network is a big challenge. Any minor disturbance in such a constellation may lead to major trouble. Aside from the fact, that the slowest participant in a network dictate the pace, some router's and client's chipsets have problems with that "compatibility mode".

    Solution: If ever possible try to force your network on one (fastest) protocol only. If you need 802.11g (iPhone, iPod touch) try to fix your infrastructure on 802.11g 2.4GHz and 802.11n 5GHz or 2.4GHz only with the loss of the possible 5GHz speed.

     

    #6 -> Hardware fault's or buggy drivers / firmware

    What's to say? Give a bug report to Apple, wait for a fix with the next update or hope that your system is still under warranty. Eventually roll back to previous OS version or firmware.

     

    Addendum for Airport Extreme or Time Capsule users.

    If possible deactivate the "Guest Network". It constantly switches between 2.4GHz and 5GHz band for a maximum of user convenience. Unfortunately this may cause trouble if other disturbances are also in the wireless.

     

     

    That's for now....

     

     

    Happy networking - Lupunus

  • mfwells Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Lupunus,

     

    THANKS! Finally, a comprehensive summary of the major areas to be investigated when troubleshooting networking problems. I have done a number of these, but not #1 on your hit parade -  deleting system files that might have become corrupted and rebooting the system. So I am game for giving that a try, as it is something that hasn't been tried yet.

     

    So, not being intimately familiar with the Apple Operating System Files, I poked around but could not locate the files you referenced. Could you provide some direction as to where I can locate these files and give them the deep 6?

     

    Thanks, Mike

  • GNATCNOEL Calculating status...

    So I went to the APPLE STORE today

     

    Had a GENIUS appointment, they gave me no real solution, just "try" this "try" that...

     

    Don't know what the **** to do anymore..

  • lupunus Level 3 Level 3 (995 points)

    GNATCNOEL wrote:

     

    So I went to the APPLE STORE today

     

    Had a GENIUS appointment, they gave me no real solution, just "try" this "try" that...

    What else you think should they do? Put out a Harry Potter magic wand, murmur some mysterious words and *poof* your wireless is fixed?

    Especially if your system run fine on the stores WiFi, you can only expect some try this or that.

     

    Break in to a thread and rant will not give you any help, cause no one here have a magic crystal ball to look on your problem, settings or wifi infrastructure.

     

    Best suggestion I can give you is to perform a proper troubleshoot. Hints to do that are legion on this thread and others among the theme here in the community.

     

    Open your own question ( https://discussions.apple.com/static/apple/tutorial/ask.html ) give speaking title (my wifi is bad will not do the trick) provide all information about wifi problem, behavior, infrastructure, error messages and your system you might think it could be useful for others to give help.

     

    That will eventually lead to a solution.

     

     

    Lupunus

  • lupunus Level 3 Level 3 (995 points)

    mfwells wrote:


    So, not being intimately familiar with the Apple Operating System Files, I poked around but could not locate the files you referenced. Could you provide some direction as to where I can locate these files and give them the deep 6?

    You will find that files (the existing ones) on your hard disk (not in the user folder).

     

    /library/preferences/system configuration/preferences

     

    If using Lion the library is hidden. You should use "go to" on finder to access the folder.

     

    Not all mentioned files may exist on your system. That's normal.

     

     

    Lupunus

  • lupunus Level 3 Level 3 (995 points)

    mfwells wrote:

     

    1.     Just for giggles, I am going to swing by the Apple store and give their network a joy ride just to see what's up there.

    by th way ... what was the outcome of this?

  • noahfrommissoula Calculating status...

    Hi all,

     

    So I went to an apple store yesterday and had a genius bar appointment. I demonstrated the problem. I explained that I've put about 50 hours into troubleshooting this problem. This included clean reinstalls of my entire system and all apps (after drive reformat). We booted my 2011 mcbp into safe mode and 10.7. I still had issues - the connection was still slower than expected - but I could log into certain sites and programs (especially Skype) that were giving me some issues.

     

    I showed the genius bar these posts of some of my packet loss data. They were puzzled.

     

    They gave me a new computer.

     

    A couple of points:

     

    - make a documentation trail with Apple

    - keeping trying, apple wants to see happy customers who can get their work done

    - the genius bar tech noted seeing more issues when people super duper or clone drives from different machines since apple has about 11 different system versions for both sl and lion to work best with different hardware.

    - a new update "lion.2" is coming out soon. Hopefully that will resove the problems many of us are seeing.

    - after this issue and effecting my work so much (for six months and having missed some deadlines and incurred other costs) , I will always have a backup computer. My iPad works for this mostly.

     

     

    Finally, hang in there. It'll get better.

     

    Cheers,

    Noah

    Cheers,

    Noah

  • Adrian J. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You know...if I had this issue, I'd pull up a chair at the local Apple store and sit right there and do everything I'd do during a normal 4 hour internet session and see what happens.  That way, if it happens at their Apple Store, at least we know it's not my home network/interferience.

  • noahfrommissoula Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yeah, just tough it out at an apple store. I drove more than 100 miles while on a tight deadline with other work but I didn't have a choice.

     

    For those using migration assistant to move work over from a different machine, you should not move over network settings or "other files" in the migration assistant checkbox area. Of course, apps and docs arenfine to move over.

     

    Good luck,

    Noah

  • susan187 Calculating status...

    The Apple Store also replaced my MBP after being stumped by the wireless problem.  When they tried booting up using a known working OS, the MBP recognized wireless but did not completely boot.  After reinstalling the operating system, they still couldn't get my MBP to connect to wifi, so here I sit with a new MBP.  The geniuses at my local store are assuming the card was bad.  They transferred all of my data, and this new one (knock wood) is working fine.

  • RRnTexas Calculating status...

    Noah,

     

    Does the new computer have the problem?

     

    Did replacing your computer fix the problem?

     

    Thanks,

     

    RR

  • lupunus Level 3 Level 3 (995 points)

    RRnTexas wrote:

    Does the new computer have the problem?

     

    Did replacing your computer fix the problem?

    If you will read Noah's former post's you may find out, that he tried a lot of troubleshooting and on one of his last posts you may notice, that at Apple Store the finding was at last that there is a hardware fault on his machine.

    Did that answer your question?

  • noahfrommissoula Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

     

    I'll let you know my results once I bring things over using migration assistant from a superduper drive. At least one poster seems to be back up to normal functionality. What is confounding is that my connection worked okay in the apple store. I still had a bit of a slowdown though. It wasn't the speeds we shuld see. I held my ground with the genius, who was a bit puzzled by my issue and the work I put into this.  I'll follow up on this.

     

    I am palnning bringing over just my apps and docs. Rumor has it that a new MacBook pro might be around the corner - with a slight speed bump. If the fix doesn't work, I will hold out and change computers. The refresh to the line could still be a few months out.

     

    Also, I really think it makes a difference what kind of genius you get. Be as nice as possible; I'm deeply invested in the apple ecosystem and just needed my problem solved. I stated up front that I was hoping to change out my computer.

     

    As I hopefully sort out things this coming week, I also have a few different routers I will try at my home office.

     

    Cheers,

    Noah

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