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Wifi Constantly Dropping in Lion

522271 Views 2,266 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2014 2:35 AM by WSR RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • emteek Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 1:28 PM (in response to gphonei)

    gphonei wrote:

     

    Your wired network interface was en0.  The Airport/WiFi adapter is probably en1.  Can you do

     

    ifconfig | grep -A4 en1

     

    and show what that returns?

     

    roger that. 

     

    $ ifconfig | grep -A4 en1

    en1: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1480

              ether 00:1d:4f:f6:e3:a7

              inet6 fe80::21d:4fff:fef6:e3a7%en1 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x5

              inet 192.168.1.102 netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.168.1.255

              media: autoselect

              status: active

    fw0: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 2030

     

    the airport radio is back up and running since the macbook woke from sleep

    "route get 8.8.8.8" with the wired connection disconnected shows the interface is en1 (radio)

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 9:39 PM (in response to emteek)

    emteek wrote:

     

    gphonei wrote:

     

    Your wired network interface was en0.  The Airport/WiFi adapter is probably en1.  Can you do

     

    ifconfig | grep -A4 en1

     

    and show what that returns?

     

    roger that. 

     

    $ ifconfig | grep -A4 en1

    en1: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1480

              ether 00:1d:4f:f6:e3:a7

              inet6 fe80::21d:4fff:fef6:e3a7%en1 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x5

              inet 192.168.1.102 netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.168.1.255

              media: autoselect

              status: active

    fw0: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 2030

     

    the airport radio is back up and running since the macbook woke from sleep

    "route get 8.8.8.8" with the wired connection disconnected shows the interface is en1 (radio)

     

    okay, that seems to indicate the right information to say that your wireless is "up" and should be functioning as you said it did come back up.  If you can check this the next time it fails, the important thing is the "status", to make sure it is active, and then the "inet" line to make sure an address is allocated.  If you have an Apple store near by, and have Apple Care still going, I'd suggest taking your router and your computer to the Apple store to show them that you can't ping your router even though it says it's up.

     

    The problem, of course, is that it might take some time for it to fail again once you power everything up at the store.

     

    If you look around with Google, you should be able to find the instructions for turning on wireless debug logging which could tell you more about what is happening in the hardware.  If you need some pointers or direct instructions, I can get that together for you at some point.

  • emteek Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to gphonei)

    gphonei wrote:

     

    If you need some pointers or direct instructions, I can get that together for you at some point.

     

    Appreciate all the help.  I don't have Apple Care, unfortunately.  It might be of some value to keep the macbook running when the wireless conks out and take it to a free wifi zone and see if it would connect which would isolate my environment (router, interference).  There are many signals floating around and my router channel hops between 1 and 11 it seems, although my signal is typically -20 dBm higher than anyone else.

     

    before I take this problem out for a ride, i'd like to become smarter about it first.  I just started running wireshark partly because I don't have the Lion wifi diagnostics (I crashed this thread with snow leopard, hopefully no one is offended or led down the wrong path because of it) and also because i have used wireshark in the past, not skillfully, but nevertheless, i at least know it is one of the better protocol analyzers out there.  i am more of a hardware person, so networks are like spaghetti to me but i'm willing to try stuff.

     

    if you are familiar with wireshark or have another preferred tool, kindly point out where i might intelligently start sniffing.

  • Chaoguy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 11:50 AM (in response to lhale)

    So I am a little unclear as to the nature of the problem people are having. It seems that most people are experiencing the actual wifi bar signal indicator saying there is no connection.

     

    If that is the case, it is different from the problem I am having. My problem is that the black wifi bars remain all the way full, but every so often I just lose connection to the internet. I remain connected to my router but can no longer contact any online servers. sometimes the problem persists only a short time, other times it is for quite a while. I have tried messing around with different DNS settings, because this seems to be the most likely culprit, but to no avail.

     

    If this is the same as the majority of the problems being reported here then disregard this and I'll implement the solutions listed here. If it is infact different then any help would be appreciated.

  • eROCK1 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 10:44 PM (in response to Chaoguy)

    Chaoguy, you're in the right place.  A lot of us here have this same symptom.  Black bars stay solid full strength, but no traffic is passing.  The workaround is to click on the Wifi bars and click "Turn Wi-Fi Off", wait a few seconds and then turn it back on.  This should bring it back for a little while. 

    No one really knows what the main cause for this is.  Some people don't have the issue at all.  I suspect that it has something to do with the router that you're using, and the signals being sent to it by your internet provider.  If the levels are slightly off, the WiFi may be dropping packets.  Wired to Ethernet, we don't see this problem. It only seems to show up with Wifi.  My Windows machine next to my iMac doesn't have the problem, but of course it uses different hardware and software that may not be as "sensitive" to these wacky signal issues coming from the router.  I've tried using a USB wifi dongle (so that's new hardware and software running it) and still had the issue.   I think it's something in OS X that is making it so sensitive to signals for some reason.  In my opinion, the fix will be in an update to either the routers firmware, or to OS X, or just cleaning up the signal by my cable operator.

  • Chaoguy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 25, 2012 5:36 AM (in response to eROCK1)

    Okay thanks a bunch. It's really strange because I get the problem every so often at my home, but we recently went on vacation to stay with family and the problem was horribly magnified so that I would only be transmitting data the few seconds after restarting the wifi. My work around was to leave the wifi diagnostics tool up and use it whenever the signal cut out, after running it there was a 50/50 chance it would say the connection was okay and it would start working again or it would tell me to restart the router, which was absolutely not the problem, as my brother with an older MacBook but also on lion had zero issues. I'll see how the problem is when I get home where it is more of a minor incovience than an infuriating enigma.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 12:21 PM (in response to emteek)

    emteek wrote:

     

    gphonei wrote:

     

    If you need some pointers or direct instructions, I can get that together for you at some point.

     

    Appreciate all the help.  I don't have Apple Care, unfortunately.  It might be of some value to keep the macbook running when the wireless conks out and take it to a free wifi zone and see if it would connect which would isolate my environment (router, interference).  There are many signals floating around and my router channel hops between 1 and 11 it seems, although my signal is typically -20 dBm higher than anyone else.

     

    before I take this problem out for a ride, i'd like to become smarter about it first.  I just started running wireshark partly because I don't have the Lion wifi diagnostics (I crashed this thread with snow leopard, hopefully no one is offended or led down the wrong path because of it) and also because i have used wireshark in the past, not skillfully, but nevertheless, i at least know it is one of the better protocol analyzers out there.  i am more of a hardware person, so networks are like spaghetti to me but i'm willing to try stuff.

     

    if you are familiar with wireshark or have another preferred tool, kindly point out where i might intelligently start sniffing.

    If you haven't tried yet, try setting your router to a fixed channel.  Either 1, 6 or 11.  It sounds like 1 or 11 would be best for your area if your router is hopping around and not picking 6, which is usually full of all the "default" configured routers.

     

    Wireshark, will show you where everyone is at, and help with signal level analysis.  In using it, the things that would be most interesting, would be to watch for spikes in the noisefloor or in reduction in RSSI, which could indicate that the radio environment is fluctuating with other signals comming and going.  When that occurs, the things to suspect, are wireless telephones, baby monitors, and TV signal extenders and similar things which just might be on for a short period of time. 

     

    Other people have reported problems with channel switching causing loss of service often enough to create problems like yours.  They've switched to a fixed channel to keep the radio from hopping around.  Some have had to try several different ones before finding a solution.  The channels are not "separate", but rather overlap in usage, and 802.11n should be on 1, 6 or 11 because it uses adjacent channels for more bandwidth, to provide higher data rates.

     

    Regarding debugging the failed connections, there are instructions on the forums for using lower level, command line activity, to turn on debugging for the network layers. 

     

    $ sudo /usr/libexec/airportd debug +alluserland +alldriver +allvendor

     

    will turn on debugging.  The various system log files will contain the information about what is happening.

     

    $ sudo /usr/libexec/airportd debug -alluserland -alldriver -allvendor

     

    will turn it off.  Search for these commands to see others people experiences and some other comments on their use.  In the later versions of OS-X, there are more friendly things for debugging the connection issues.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 12:37 PM (in response to Chaoguy)

    Chaoguy wrote:

     

    Okay thanks a bunch. It's really strange because I get the problem every so often at my home, but we recently went on vacation to stay with family and the problem was horribly magnified so that I would only be transmitting data the few seconds after restarting the wifi. My work around was to leave the wifi diagnostics tool up and use it whenever the signal cut out, after running it there was a 50/50 chance it would say the connection was okay and it would start working again or it would tell me to restart the router, which was absolutely not the problem, as my brother with an older MacBook but also on lion had zero issues. I'll see how the problem is when I get home where it is more of a minor incovience than an infuriating enigma.

    Some people have talked about having blutooth generated interference.  If your blutooth is on, try turning it off.  Also, when the symptom stays the same, and seems to worsen or improve as you change locations, it can indicate that you are taking the problem with you.  However, it can also mean that there is just a common cause in multiple places.

     

    If the tool tells you to restart the router, I'd guess that means that it loss "sight" of the router, but otherwise detected a working "network".  Since there are so many layers of things going on, it really can be frustrating to drill through all the issues to find the root cause. 

     

    Did you find, and were you able to try the "ping" tests when the "internet is not working?"  In particular, the Google public DNS server, 8.8.8.8, is pretty much always reachable, so if you open terminal window, and run "ping -n 8.8.8.8", that will let you know if the network path is up for simple packet flows.  The '-n' says don't use DNS to find the name of 8.8.8.8, just use the IP address as is.  If that works while the internet is not working, then that can start to point at other, higher level ISP or specific protocol problems.

     

    The DNS services can be tested with "dig" from the terminal.  Try stuff like  "dig -x 8.8.8.8" and "dig @8.8.8.8 -x 8.8.8.8" to compare, and see if your configured DNS servers (the first dig) are working when the "internet is down", vs forcing googles server to be used (second dig).

     

    Finally, you might try installing "firefox", or "chrome" browsers, and when safari doesn't work, try one of them to see if something changes.

     

    Also, since HTTP is on port 80, you can, in the terminal window, type

     

    telnet www.google.com 80

     

    to see if you can simply connect.  If that works, then type "GET /" and hit return, and see what data is returned.

  • emteek Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 1:39 PM (in response to gphonei)

    gphonei wrote:

     

     

    Wireshark, will show you where everyone is at, and help with signal level analysis. 

     

    Other people have reported problems with channel switching causing loss of service often enough to create problems like yours.  They've switched to a fixed channel to keep the radio from hopping around. 

     

     

    Great ideas.  I will try a fixed channel.

     

    I experimented with running wireshark in monitor mode to capture the 802.11 protocol messages.  It automatically parses the radiotap header so I can see S/N's.  What I need to learn how to do is filter for only my SSID (I see mine plus all my neighbors) and somehow dump the S/N values somewhere to plot, saving the chore of having to scroll through thousands of messages.  I am not a network engineer but this tool helps me appreciate those that are. 

     

    I do not think I have experienced the radio dropout while using WEP.  The problem appears with WPA and appears to get worse in WPA2.  Is there merit to decreasing the MTU lower than 1480?   Making conclusions based on these observations after only a few days of testing is a recipe for error so I will continue to test.  More later.

     

    I feel obligated to post some of my other failed attempts (not suggested by gphonei btw)

    Some have posted solutions such as writing an applescript to periodically ping an IP address (local router or 8.8.8.8).  I tried this and other solutions a few days ago.  While I was happy to learn how to automatically execute an applescript upon boot, these did not seem to help in my case, nor did resetting the macbook's NVRAM, nor did resetting the SMC.  Under osx's system preferences, system, network, adding 8.8.8.8 to the DNS seems to have only caused problems when I tried to wirelessly access my campus home page this morning and local library home page.  Without an active connection, there was no getting to 8.8.8.8 so deleting it automatically put the default local router's IP as the DNS server and I was back where I started.  I only post this so perhaps someone will learn from my mistakes

  • hgrieves Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2012 1:57 AM (in response to emteek)

    I had been similar problems to many people on this thread with my iMac (running ML 10.8.2) dropping its wifi connection all the time. It began after I upgraded my wireless router (Linksys X3000). And as part of the upgrade I finally shifted from WEP to WPA2, changed passwords etc. I tried fixing channels, reducing MTU size, creating a new location but nothing seemed to work.

     

    I then came across a thread which suggested cleaning out my keychain of all the passwords to any router at 192.168.1.1. When I opened Keychain I was amazed to find half a dozen entries, collected over the years as I've migrated from each old mac to the new one.

     

    I deleted all over them. Then re-connected to my wifi network, entering all the details afresh. Since then, no problems at all.

     

    I would suggest trying it if you've tried everything else. If it does work for you, let people know on this thread (and/or others).

  • Happel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2012 2:05 AM (in response to lhale)

    I gave up and got a Atheros based airport card from ebay. Put it in my macbook two weeks ago, no wifi problems since.

  • infamousdee Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 4, 2013 11:59 AM (in response to lhale)

    GO TO YOUR NETWORK PREFERENCES.....

     

     

    for some reason i have had weird wifi issues when i shouldn't particularly in my Dad's house. i was being connected to a weird IP Address that none of the other computers were on...

     

    the airport in my Macbook Pro 13" mid 2011 started DROPPING WIFI at my other house with an Airport Extreme that ive never had problems with. power cycled everything, you know, normal troubleshooting procedures.

     

     

     

    nothing was working besides, turning the airport off (at the top of the menu bar (wifi symbol)) and then back on.

     

    that seemed to work for about 30-60 seconds then drop again like some other users were describing.

     

     

     

    bottom line

    AT MY DADS HOUSE:

    my Mac was connecting to 192.1.10.73 or something that started with a 192

    the devices that were actually getting internet were on 10.1.10.***

    in other words something starting with a 10.

    so at my dads house i had to MANUALLY configure the IP Address in order to even get connected...

     

     

     

    at my other house. i went into SYSTEM PREFERENCES > NETWORK PREFERENCES >

     

     

    you can add and subtract diiferent networks like you would through mail by + and - at the bottom left of the window...

     

     

    i just added another WIFI conncetion... named it WIFI 2.....check your IP Addresses on the devices that are staying connected. you may need to add it manually...

     

     

    to manually add IP Address go to advanced at the bottom right of the NETWORKS window > TCP/IP > and then change the CONFIGURE IPv6 to MANUALLY.... then youll be able to type in your IP Address and not have the mac self assign something it will never work on.....

     

    you may also want to try Renew DHCP Lease for a quick fix SOMETIMES........it doesn't always work

     

    

  • Allnuts Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2013 2:10 PM (in response to infamousdee)

    I have the same problem of wi-fi dropping. I have mid 2012 MacBook Pro with Lion. Sometimes the wifi drops after a minute and sometimes it holds for 30mins. But keeps dropping unless i have a transfer going and often even then.

     

    It seem my wifi hotspot (named Andromeda) is on channel 6 and there are many other wireless connections in my building on the same channel. Could this be the real problem instead of the problem being the Os or the MacBook Pro hardware?

     

     

      Software Versions:

      CoreWLAN:          2.1.3 (213.1)

      CoreWLANKit:          1.0.3 (103.2)

      Menu Extra:          7.2 (720.1)

      configd plug-in:          7.4.1 (741.1)

      System Profiler:          7.0 (700.3)

      IO80211 Family:          4.2 (420.3)

      WiFi Diagnostics:          1.0.2 (102)

      AirPort Utility:          6.1 (610.31)

      Interfaces:

    en1:

      Card Type:          AirPort Extreme  (0x14E4, 0xF5)

      Firmware Version:          Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (5.106.198.19.22)

      MAC Address:          10:40:f3:ed:9a:6c

      Locale:          ETSI

      Country Code:          DE

      Supported PHY Modes:          802.11 a/b/g/n

      Supported Channels:          1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140

      Wake On Wireless:          Supported

      AirDrop:          Supported

      Status:          Connected

      Current Network Information:

    Andromeda:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          50:cc:f8:66:0e:87

      Channel:          6

      Country Code:          DE

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -28 dBm / -87 dBm

      Transmit Rate:          65

      MCS Index:          7

      Other Local Wi-Fi Networks:

    SoneraGateway00-26-44-A5-CB-26:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          00:26:44:a5:cb:26

      Channel:          6

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -71 dBm / -88 dBm

    SoneraGateway08-76-FF-48-5E-64:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          08:76:ff:48:5e:64

      Channel:          6

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -64 dBm / -88 dBm

    SoneraGatewayB4-82-FE-BF-31-55:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          b4:82:fe:bf:31:55

      Channel:          6

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -72 dBm / -88 dBm

    ZyXEL_5493:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          c8:6c:87:aa:1e:22

      Channel:          11

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -72 dBm / -84 dBm

    norkko:

      PHY Mode:          802.11g

      BSSID:          00:18:f8:f5:cd:16

      Channel:          13

      Country Code:          DE

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -80 dBm / -88 dBm

  • Allnuts Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2013 7:03 PM (in response to Allnuts)

    I´ve found a solution. It seems that most of the Wi-fi routers and mobile phones default wireless channel is 6. Also seems that channel 11 is also one of the most used default channels. I´m on the move a lot so I have used Samsung Galaxy Notes Mobile Hotspot. The hotspots default channel is again 6. I couldn´t change the setting of my Notes hotspot, but I found an app in googles Play-store called Wifi Tether in which you can choose the channel and the application can also keep the connection up by pinging websites (theres default sites but you can name any sites you like). I chose channel 7 and since no one in my neighbourhood has channel 7 the connection keeps with no problem.

     

    Wifi Tether for Android. You need to Root your Android handset to use this.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.googlecode.android.wifi.tether &hl=fi

     

    I guess the problem is in some way in the way Lion treats wireless connections, but i tested my connection with my old MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard and had the same problem.

     

    Go to About this Mac > More Info > System Report > Network > Wi-Fi and check your neighbourhoods Wi-Fi Channels then change your Wi-Fi routers/mobile hotspots channel to a free/least used channel.

  • Doc Dougherty Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2013 7:15 PM (in response to Allnuts)

    Go read up on how Wi-Fi works. Channel 7 interferes with both channel 6 channel 11.

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