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Lion WiFi Connection Problem

666979 Views 2,664 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2014 8:57 PM by farrago RSS
  • mymatelee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 29, 2012 3:50 AM (in response to mymatelee)

    I have a Lynksys router with WPA encryption.

  • CT Level 6 Level 6 (14,985 points)
  • Mary Beth Basil Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 4, 2012 2:30 PM (in response to edfromarvada)

    edfromarvada, 

    I can't find system configuration file.  I have aom.apple.networkConfig.plist and SystemLoginitems.plist but no system configuration.  Can you clarify?

  • James Wilde Calculating status...
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    Nov 7, 2012 5:49 AM (in response to lrogersinlv)

    Without wishing to read all 167 pages, it's obvious that only workarounds and temporary solutions have so far been found.  Has anyone tried installing an external - e.g. usb - network antenna and connecting via that?  The big problem with this solution, perhaps, is that so few usb antennas have Mac drivers.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 5:56 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    Without wishing to read all 167 pages, it's obvious that only workarounds and temporary solutions have so far been found.  Has anyone tried installing an external - e.g. usb - network antenna and connecting via that?  The big problem with this solution, perhaps, is that so few usb antennas have Mac drivers.

    If you are one of the group of people which see the "signal level bars" for airport connectivity go grey, or otherwise indicate a disconnected state there, then you might find some relief from buying a USB radio.  Some people have done this.  Depending on the age of your machine, you might also find some relief by taking advantage of your Apple Care contract, and taking it to the Genius Bar.  If you take your computer to the Apple Store, you should also take your Wireless router with you, so that the "exact" behavior can be observed.

     

    Many people have taken their machines to the Apple store, and had them work fine there, and all diagnostics pass.  In that situation, it would mean that something at your place of residence/work/wherever-the-problem-is, a local environmental issue is creating problems.   Typically, that would be RF interference which is creating enough dropped packets, that something important is not happening.

     

    Do you have black airport level bars when your internet connection seems to not be working, or grey bars?

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 7:21 AM (in response to gphonei)

    Thanks, gphonei

     

    The bars go grey.  As for the other, I think my Mac is now out of guarantee period.  As far as interference from other networks is concerned, we are so far from civilisation that there is none.  It's probably a kilimeter to the nearest village.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 8:12 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    Thanks, gphonei

     

    The bars go grey.  As for the other, I think my Mac is now out of guarantee period.  As far as interference from other networks is concerned, we are so far from civilisation that there is none.  It's probably a kilimeter to the nearest village.

    Do the bars flicker between grey and black, or do they just go grey and stay?  Does it connect for any length of time, or just up and down, or always down?  Does it work to right click on the bars and reselect your access point, and then it works again for a while?  Does your router/access-point have the latest firmware in it?  Can you tell me which router brand and model you have?

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 11:02 AM (in response to gphonei)

    On boot the bars are black for maybe 10-15 minutes and then become grey.  They do not change or flicker.  When they are grey I have no connection and cannot get a connection - time out when I try to reconnect.  It does not work to right click and reselect the access point.  Only a reboot will restore connection.

     

    My router is a TP-Link model TL-MR3420, running version 3.12.8 Build 110418 Rel.43954n of the firmware, which I seem to remember I upgraded to shortly after buying the router some 4-5 months ago, since it was necessary to get it to handle the 3G sim card I had.  I don't use sim now.  Only DSL.

     

    I've just changed the settings to use only 802.11g.  It was previously set to 802.11b/g/n.  I have also changed the settings from auto channel to channel 5 - just an arbitrary choice, but I did see in this long thread that some people have had results from fixing the channel and the mode.  Don't know if it's going to help.  I'm also pinging www.apple.com (seems like poetic justice to choose that address) every five seconds.  It's been running for 440 pings now, which is 36 minutes, so it seems to have worked.  If I had to guess, I'd guess on the pinging rather than the mode and channel change.

     

    //James

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 11:04 AM (in response to gphonei)

    Another comment.  The response time of, say, my web browser (Safari) is now normal.

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 11:33 AM (in response to gphonei)

    Still one more comment.  I have now installed a D-Link wra-131 usb wifi adapter, which appears to work fine.  I'm considering testing it without ping running, and see how long it keeps ticking over.  Any comments?  Or should I just have a little startup script which starts a pinging session and use the built in wifi adapter?

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 11:43 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    Spoke too soon.  The ping sequence immediately began to time out.  Returned as soon as I reactivated the inbuilt wifi adapter.  This adapter appears in some respects to act as though it were a tp adapter, like for instance it takes its ip address from the dhcp server which is in charge of the tp link to another computer unless I set the ip address manually.  I've turned the wra-131 off and I'll see how the Mac runs for an hour or two.

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 11:51 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    Interesting bit of information here:  the RSSI is fairly constant at -84 dBm  the noise level fluctuates around -88 dBm.  If that means what I think it means, then the signal to noise ratio is about 1, since the two are equal, and that makes for a helluva lot of noise.  Where might that be coming from?  Other computers on the network?  The Mac is sharing this network with two Windows boxes.

     

    I have a piece of software from Realtek which shows that I'm getting a 90% signal from the wra-131 but in the menu row I have three black arcs, which I assume to mean, say, 75% signal.  Or am I misinterpreting the icon?

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 2:02 PM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    Interesting bit of information here:  the RSSI is fairly constant at -84 dBm  the noise level fluctuates around -88 dBm.  If that means what I think it means, then the signal to noise ratio is about 1, since the two are equal, and that makes for a helluva lot of noise.  Where might that be coming from?  Other computers on the network?  The Mac is sharing this network with two Windows boxes.

     

    I have a piece of software from Realtek which shows that I'm getting a 90% signal from the wra-131 but in the menu row I have three black arcs, which I assume to mean, say, 75% signal.  Or am I misinterpreting the icon?

    If the RSSI and the noise floor are that close, then it sounds like you could have some in band interference on 2.4ghz.  Using WiFi analyzers, will only show you WiFi signals of course.  You said you were out in the sticks.  Sometimes, out that remote, there are other radio systems used by various companies for data gathering from various types of equipment.  The ubnt.com equipment, used by many of these type of data gathering systems in the US and abroad too it seems, have a "channel shift" feature that allows the "signals" to be hidden from consumer WiFi equipment.  Also, baby monitors, wireless phone systems, VCR rabbits (TV signal extenders) and all kinds of other stuff might be using 2.4ghz.  Can you think of anything else using radio signals in your house that you could turn off to test if there is some interference?

     

    Try moving your router away from anything it is near, and move your computer around if it is near anything metal. The noise floor could be elevated by some reflected signals which are just far enough delayed to not be resolved by the antenna systems on your equipment.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 7, 2012 2:08 PM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    On boot the bars are black for maybe 10-15 minutes and then become grey.  They do not change or flicker.  When they are grey I have no connection and cannot get a connection - time out when I try to reconnect.  It does not work to right click and reselect the access point.  Only a reboot will restore connection.

     

    My router is a TP-Link model TL-MR3420, running version 3.12.8 Build 110418 Rel.43954n of the firmware, which I seem to remember I upgraded to shortly after buying the router some 4-5 months ago, since it was necessary to get it to handle the 3G sim card I had.  I don't use sim now.  Only DSL.

     

    I've just changed the settings to use only 802.11g.  It was previously set to 802.11b/g/n.  I have also changed the settings from auto channel to channel 5 - just an arbitrary choice, but I did see in this long thread that some people have had results from fixing the channel and the mode.  Don't know if it's going to help.  I'm also pinging www.apple.com (seems like poetic justice to choose that address) every five seconds.  It's been running for 440 pings now, which is 36 minutes, so it seems to have worked.  If I had to guess, I'd guess on the pinging rather than the mode and channel change.

     

    //James

    Which version of OS X are you running?  On lion and mountain lion, there are tools which might help point out what is failing. 

     

    http://macs.about.com/od/LionTipsNtricks/qt/Os-X-Lion-Wi-Fi-Diagnostics.htm

     

    http://fairerplatform.com/2012/08/how-to-unearth-use-os-x-mountain-lions-wi-fi-d iagnostics/

     

    The Mountain Lion diagnostics also are selectable from the desktop if you hold down the Option(alt) key and click on the WiFi Icon and 'Open Wifi Diagnostics' which will be the last menu item.

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 12:26 AM (in response to gphonei)

    If the RSSI and the noise floor are that close, then it sounds like you could have some in band interference on 2.4ghz.  Using WiFi analyzers, will only show you WiFi signals of course.  You said you were out in the sticks.  Sometimes, out that remote, there are other radio systems used by various companies for data gathering from various types of equipment.  The ubnt.com equipment, used by many of these type of data gathering systems in the US and abroad too it seems, have a "channel shift" feature that allows the "signals" to be hidden from consumer WiFi equipment.  Also, baby monitors, wireless phone systems, VCR rabbits (TV signal extenders) and all kinds of other stuff might be using 2.4ghz.  Can you think of anything else using radio signals in your house that you could turn off to test if there is some interference?

     

    There is a 4G station about a kilometre and a half away in the village which has given some electromagnetic allergic people serious problems, one of them nearly 3 km from the source.  In house we have no babyminders, but we have a dect telephone whose base station is some 6 metres away from the router, but again, this doesn't affect the windows systems.  We have a TV signal booster (built into the cable) about 4 m away.  We have a microwave in the kitchen about 3 m away.

     

    The house is of wooden construction and the router is in a room leading directly off the entrance hall.  On my work (Windows 7) laptop some 8 m from the router on the same floor I have 90% signal and no problems.  Other computers in the house, all on the floor above, are my Mac Mini, 60% signal, on my desk near a radiator, my wife's Windows 7 laptop with about a 40% signal on her desk, close to a radiator, our son's netbook running XP - don't know how strong the signal is there, but good enough, and my very old tower machine running Ubuntu - don't know the signal strength here either.

     

    Try moving your router away from anything it is near, and move your computer around if it is near anything metal. The noise floor could be elevated by some reflected signals which are just far enough delayed to not be resolved by the antenna systems on your equipment.

     

    I've moved the other machines around, the laptops, but it's a bit more complicated moving the Mac Mini which sits ina cat's cradle of cables.  I'll postpone that.

     

    Which version of OS X are you running?  On lion and mountain lion, there are tools which might help point out what is failing.

     

    10.8.2, which I believe is mountain lion.  Problem is that machine is at home, so I can't test these tools until this evening.

     

    http://macs.about.com/od/LionTipsNtricks/qt/Os-X-Lion-Wi-Fi-Diagnostics.htm

     

    I think this is the one I have tried, and it was here I got the signal and noise levels.  I've moved it to the launch pad along with a couple of other tools I have installed.  Problem is I don't yet know what are 'normal' levels for both, as wifi had not yet taken a firm hold when I retired - or rather, I was deep in the company's infrastructure with cable connections to all servers.  Now I'm part time IT manager for a school which uses a lot of wifi, and I feel my lack of knowledge and in particular of tools.  The wifi network is so bad that, where possible, I've led tp cables to the classrooms which the teachers can connect their laptops to, but I'm getting off the point.

     

    http://fairerplatform.com/2012/08/how-to-unearth-use-os-x-mountain-lions-wi-fi-d iagnostics/

     

    The Mountain Lion diagnostics also are selectable from the desktop if you hold down the Option(alt) key and click on the WiFi Icon and 'Open Wifi Diagnostics' which will be the last menu item.

     

    Gphonei, first I'm grateful that you take the time (that goes for all others who try to help us in here, even if you haven't addressed my problem) and secondly, you obviously know what you are talking about.  If you could suggest a book/article series about wifi which can get me up to speed, and especially a bunch of free or cheap tools I can use, I'd be even more grateful.  I really feel I'm struggling at times, especially at work.  There we use Zyxel equipment, and I really am beginning to think that Zyxel just doesn't cut it.  There are a number of AP's where I have it as standard practice to restart them the first thing I do when I get to work as they have probably bombed out.

     

    //James

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