11 Replies Latest reply: Nov 13, 2012 7:39 PM by Grant Bennet-Alder
dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

While browsing, playing games, or using voice communication software like Mumble, Ventrilo, Skype the internet on my computer my internet will slow down to snail speed.  When I speed test it says that there is noting wrong with it. My roommate does not have any issues with wireless on any of his machines (they are all PC's). The Apple Store near me is a hassle to get to, and is always backed up (weeks to get repairs done) and my machine is out of warrenty. Is there a way if I can test to see if it is my AirPort Card without taking it into the Apple Store?


Mac Pro Early 2008, Mac OS X (10.7.1)
  • 1. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    Have you looked at the 10.7 Performance Monitor built into your Mac?

     

    http://subrosasoft.com/blog/tips-and-tricks/hidden-wi-fi-diagnostics-tool-in-mac -os-x-10-7-lion

     

    What do you get for signal and noise when it is running?

  • 2. Re: Wireless Problem
    dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    how do i find out what my signal and noise is? I dont know if this helps but when im watching my network in activity monitor it will spike up to 141 KBPS then drop doing to under a KB or 0 then bounce back up to say 2 KBPS then drop to under a KB again. Is that normal? I attached a screenshotScreen Shot 2012-11-13 at 12.29.46 AM.png

  • 3. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    Click on the blue text in my post above. This will take you to an article that explains how to use the built-in performance monitor tools in 10.7.

     

     

    To get the application, simply open your hard drive and you will find the System folder. From there follow the path below to find the Wi-Fi Diagnostics application.

    /System/Library/CoreServices/Wi-Fi Diagnostics.app

     

     

    Use the performance monitor portion of those tools to note the typical signal level and the typical noise level. Also note that the graphs should be flat (no spikes).

     

     

    Monitor Performance

     

    Monitor Performance displays a graph of network signal strength, noise level, transmit power, and data rate. Information such as Country Code, SSID, Channel, txPower, txRate, Signal, and Noise are logged and displayed in the area at the top of the window with each line representing a single sampling. The graph below shows a running representation of the wi-fi networks signal and noise measured in dBm.

     

    WiFi Monitor.png

  • 4. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    Then use the information in this excellent User Tip by tesserax to evaluate your signal to noise level:

     

     

    SNR Guideline

    • 40+dB = Excellent signal
    • 25dB to 40dB = Very good signal
    • 15dB to 25dB = Low signal
    • 10dB to 15dB = Very low signal
    • 5dB to 10dB = Little or no signal

     

     

    full User tip is here: Airport: Optimal Base Station Placement

     

    .

  • 5. Re: Wireless Problem
    dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    My signal and noise seem to be fine. Here is a screenshot of the graph.

    Screen Shot 2012-11-13 at 3.35.59 PM.png

  • 6. Re: Wireless Problem
    dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Would it be worth trying to clean install OSX?

  • 7. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    That's not "just fine".

     

    The first part of the graph shows -60db signal and about -85 to 90 noise. That gives you 30 to 25, which is OK. Then in the last third, the signal deteriorates nearly 10db and the noise gets higher, leaving barely 20 signal to noise. That is considered weak.

     

    If this is what you found on a random look, I would be very concerned that in steady use, the signal would drop off more and the noise would get higher, causing your connection to seem very slow.

     

    How many other Routers are around you?

     

    If that tool does not tell you, the free utility iStumbler will:

     

    http://istumbler.net/

  • 8. Re: Wireless Problem
    dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There are about 19 or so other networks that are being found on my istumbler. I have tried using different frequencies but my signal doesnt go above 47% and my frequency bounces around.

  • 9. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    Do you have a dual-band Router, with channels above 11?

     

    If not, there is comfortable space for three networks in the 2.4GHz band (channels 1..6..11), and you can sometimes cram in six and still work.

     

    With a dual-band Router, you get dozens more channels and you get away from all those others.

     

    19 is simply too crowded for good stable results in the long run.

  • 10. Re: Wireless Problem
    dblester Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Any suggestions on a good reliable router for strong preformance with gaming, and streaming?

  • 11. Re: Wireless Problem
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    I know the Apple Airport Express and Airport Extreme are both Dual-band, and high quality.

     

    But I live far from my neighbors, so when I look around with iStumbler, I see... my network only. So I have just used the one the ISP gave me.