Skip navigation

Lion WiFi Connection Problem

666760 Views 2,660 Replies Latest reply: Apr 17, 2014 2:11 PM by ElJefeGrande RSS
  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 7:09 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    ...

     

    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.

    One of the chief contributors, I feel, is Apple's attempt to use as much bandwidth as is avilable, thus selecting 802.11N in preference to 802.11G/B.   You said you forced it to G, and selected channel 5.  For 802.11G/N, channels 1, 6 and 11 are usually the best choices, because if everyone else uses those channels, then noone is strateling two different segments and creating "intererence" to both.

     

    Given the relative signal levels you quoted, it seem like the radio in the Mac is having problems decoding a fairly weak (relative to the noisefloor) signal.   If there is anyway you can try moving the router close to the mac or the mac closer to the router, just as a test, you may be able to discover if the Mac is just too deaf.  The antenna systems for each of the computers will of course contribute to how well things work. 

     

    Regarding your "work" WiFi issues.  If you have the money, to try something new out, I've had great luck deploying the Ubiquity Systems nanostation loco, M2 and M5 radios (http://ubnt.com) at my church.  We installed about 16 of these over a large building structure with lots of stone and metal walls/structure, and they really work well at penetrating walls.  We put them (1 of each to get dual band support) in the hallways, pointing down the hall at the 4 corners of the structure in one wing.  Works great!  If you wanted to try one out, at your house, and then at work, that might be an interesting way to investigate both problem places.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 8:37 AM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    ...

     

    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

    There are all kinds of commercial wireless networking companies, and many of them charge hundreds of dollars for each device.  Some of those devices have all kinds of fancy roaming-between-radio features that most installations don't need, unless you have moving, continuously connected, streaming data applications, such as robotics or other automation.  If people walk around surfing the web, and doing things that are "occasional" network use, instead of continuous, then you just need "radios" that are all "wired" into the same DHCP'd network. The radios are then just bridges from wireless to the central DHCP system and routed by the wired network infrastructure.

     

    I've found that the Ubiqity radios do a great job doing exactly that.  You can use a pair to build a wireless bridge between desparate places, or just wire one into a wired network to provide a wireless access point onto that network. 

     

    In terms of learning more, and having good tools, it really depends on the situations you are encountering.  You mentioned rebooting your radios in the morning.  The ubnt.com equipment has a feature which allows you to give it a "pingable" address, and if it fails to reach that address, repeatedly, it will initiate an automatic reboot.  My experience with firmware issues, have been few and far between, apart from some issues with major updates with these radios.

     

    If there are serious issues with WiFi working, I usually look first at firmware versions on the routers, and look online for specifics.  I search for the router name, version and firmware versions to see if people are reporting problems.  This usually also reveals the manufactures release notes for the firmware update, and that can be educational to read too.  If firmware is not an issue, then I look for things in the physical environment.  Metal, other RF sources etc.  I have a friend who is an RF technician and he has spectrum analysers, advanced WiFi testing features on some of those as well.  I can use that equipment to do some simple inspection of the signals on the radios and for other things using the same spectrum. 

     

    The noise floor indication on WiFi analysis software on the Mac is useful to understand how much signal margin you have.  There are lots of things available on line, which illustrate the primary issues.  Here's something I found just now searching for 'WiFi RSSI vs noisefloor performance':

     

    http://ccie-or-null.net/2011/01/24/understanding-a-wi-fi-connection/

     

    I don't think its necessary to have extreme knowledge to do this stuff, except if you were going to build a wireless network where 100% connectivity was essential, such as for automation or robotic control etc.  Then, you need to understand more about your environment and your equipment so that you can do more of the math that helps with planning for failures and other related things.   It doesn't sound like you are at that level of need.

     

    The consumer level knowledge that is evident in forums like this, creates problems for some people, because they'd like for the radio to just be a toaster.  It is actually more complex then that, and thus you have to know more about how to use it "effectively".  Also the majority of the complexity is in software design, and thus the problems can be "anywhere", not just in the "newest" thing you've added. 

     

    Finally, I'm not suggesting that Apple has no blame here.  I'm just trying to facilate you finding where the actual problem is so that you can focus on actually getting the right solution for your problem.

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 12:23 PM (in response to James Wilde)

    Well, I started my Mac a little before 6:00 this morning, and immediately opened a terminal window and started pinging apple.com at 10 second intervals.  I've just got home and see that apple.com has been pinged 5266 times today, and nearly all of them have got an answer.  So my Mac has been online for over 14 hrs, which is a good deal better than the 14 minutes it has been online recently.  Now I just have to work out a little script to start this operation when I log on in the morning. 

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 12:37 PM (in response to gphonei)

    gphonei wrote:

     

    One of the chief contributors, I feel, is Apple's attempt to use as much bandwidth as is avilable, thus selecting 802.11N in preference to 802.11G/B.   You said you forced it to G, and selected channel 5.  For 802.11G/N, channels 1, 6 and 11 are usually the best choices, because if everyone else uses those channels, then noone is strateling two different segments and creating "intererence" to both.

    OK, when others are out of the house I'll change to one of these channels, probably 6 since it's nearest to my arbitrary 5.

    Given the relative signal levels you quoted, it seem like the radio in the Mac is having problems decoding a fairly weak (relative to the noisefloor) signal.   If there is anyway you can try moving the router close to the mac or the mac closer to the router, just as a test, you may be able to discover if the Mac is just too deaf.  The antenna systems for each of the computers will of course contribute to how well things work.

     

    I'll try moving the router nearer to the Mac to test the signal.

    I'll also take a look at Ubiquity APs

  • Mary Beth Basil Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2012 1:43 PM (in response to James Wilde)

    I don't think my problem is my UBEE router.  Charter has come out to check it twice and they say it's fine.  Besides, my ipad, iphone and Dell notebook all work fine.  Only my macbook pro has the problem.  The router also worked fine untill I installed ML.   I have 4 black arcs indicating my signal strength is strong but every 15 to 20 minutes I get nothing when I try to change pages - still have black arcs but if I click on the arcs it says looking for networks with spinning ball in grey.  If I click on turn wifi off for a few seconds, then on, it usually works for another 20 minutes.  Doesn't Apple ever read these forums?

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 9, 2012 8:06 AM (in response to Mary Beth Basil)

    Mary Beth Basil wrote:

     

    I don't think my problem is my UBEE router.  Charter has come out to check it twice and they say it's fine.  Besides, my ipad, iphone and Dell notebook all work fine.  Only my macbook pro has the problem.  The router also worked fine untill I installed ML.   I have 4 black arcs indicating my signal strength is strong but every 15 to 20 minutes I get nothing when I try to change pages - still have black arcs but if I click on the arcs it says looking for networks with spinning ball in grey.  If I click on turn wifi off for a few seconds, then on, it usually works for another 20 minutes.  Doesn't Apple ever read these forums?

    I think they are, given the email offering help that I and others have received.  The basic deal though, is that this isn't a "support" channel.  Their Apple Care and Genius Bar at the stores, seem to be the way that they do support activities.  Have you taken any other steps besides letting Charter check your router?  It might be interesting to try changing one or more of the following, which some people find solves the problem.

     

    1.  Use a fixed channel, 1, 6 or 11 instead of auto discover

    2.  Switch to a specific protocol, 802.11g or 802.11n. If all of your devices support N, try N first, see if things get worse.  If so, try G.

    3.  Move your router to a different place or orientation.  Sometimes, reflecting signals, or just stuff inbetween the two devices can create problems for "weak" signals.

     

    The information on this web page, http://wirelesslanprofessionals.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Spectrum-Analysis -Primer-Part-1.pdf, has a huge amount of detail about how WiFi works, and how RF signal nomenclature applies to what you see/experience.  I'm not suggesting that you must look at such detail, but sometimes, just understanding the nomenclature can help you look at what is happening and understand the problem.

     

    The diagnostic tools in mountain lion can help you see more about what is going on.  It can be a little time consuming, but fighting with this issue seems to be pretty time consuming for many people too, and it seems to me that fighting with something that gets you closer to the solution is worth while.

     

    1. Hold down the option key and click on your airport signal indicator in the tool bar at the top right of your screen. 2. At the bottom, select "Open Wi-Fi Diagnostics...".

    3. Select "Turn on Debug Logs"

    4. Click "Continue".

    5. Click on the > arrow next to "Basic Logs"

    6. Select "DHCP" and "Wi-Fi Logging".

    7. Make sure that "Notify me when the Wi-Fi interface [Disconnects from the network]" is selected and checked.

    8. Wait for your machine to disconnect.

    9. Select "Stop Logging" in the drop down that appears on the diagnostics window.

    10.  Wait a moment for it to assemble the logs.

    11.  A finder window will open with "WiFiDiagnosticReport*.tgz" selected.

    12.  Double click on that file name to unpack it.

    13.  Double click on the resulting folder to open in.

    14.  Right click on the "wifi.log" file, and select "Open With -> TextEdit.app", or if TextEdit.app is not available, select "Other...", at the bottom, and then select it from the Applications window that opens.

    15.  Scroll to the bottom of the opened window, and read through the messages there to see if you find anything that is informative about what happened that caused the failure.

     

    You could just copy and paste the last 20-30 lines here perhaps if you are not sure what you are looking at/for.

  • jonathanfromdunlaoghaire Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2012 5:49 AM (in response to lrogersinlv)

    I'm using a MacPro with 10.8 which I installed about a month ago.

     

    A couple of days ago my wi-fi stopped working. The machine said that I had no hardware installed.

    Today, my internet connection got so slow it became unusable.

     

    So, I went rummaging about on my iPad and came across the following suggestion to speed up my connection, courtesy of Darin Simmer:

     

    "Create a new Network Location (System Preferences: Network: Location (pull down menu): Edit Locations. Add new location. Do not rename or Duplicate."

     

    So, I did all of this but did not press the Apply button because I noticed that I had now lost my eithernet cable connection. I just cancelled the whole procedure because I thought I was digging a deeper hole.

     

    Suddenly, my wi-fi connection reappeared and my I'm up and running with a really perfect signal and connectivity again. I don't know what I did, but it fixed the issue

  • lferrett66 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 5, 2013 8:57 PM (in response to lrogersinlv)

    This is my first Apple computer (excluding Iphone & Ipad) - I am singularly unimpressed.  My wifi drops out close to every 15 minutes and to be frank, with close to 1/2 a million views on this issue and 2.5K comments, Apple are seriously neglectful of its customer base if they have yet to provide a fix.

     

    Does anyone have a simple fix for this?  I am not a computer technician, I don't know what a protocal is or the difference between an "n" and a "g" I don't know how to find what bandwith is being used.............. 

     

    Has anyone taken their Air back to the store to get it fixed?  If so has it worked or should I just throw away my $2K and go back to Dell and Windows cause I simply don't have hours trying to fix something that is a basic requirement of a laptop.

  • CT Level 6 Level 6 (14,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 4:48 AM (in response to lferrett66)
  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 1:55 PM (in response to lferrett66)

    lferrett66 wrote:

     

    This is my first Apple computer (excluding Iphone & Ipad) - I am singularly unimpressed.  My wifi drops out close to every 15 minutes and to be frank, with close to 1/2 a million views on this issue and 2.5K comments, Apple are seriously neglectful of its customer base if they have yet to provide a fix.

     

    Does anyone have a simple fix for this?  I am not a computer technician, I don't know what a protocal is or the difference between an "n" and a "g" I don't know how to find what bandwith is being used.............. 

     

    Has anyone taken their Air back to the store to get it fixed?  If so has it worked or should I just throw away my $2K and go back to Dell and Windows cause I simply don't have hours trying to fix something that is a basic requirement of a laptop.

    There is, most likely, an incompatibility in Apple's WiFi implementation, with older WiFi security modes.  But, there are also countless people who have come here, thinking they've got an Apple WiFi problem, when in fact, their problem was due to some other issue.

     

    Because of the complications of Wireless networking compatibility, and the huge number of "pieces" to the over all puzzle, standing around and expecting there to be a simple solution, is probably a bit optimistic.  Call Apple support and tell them it doesn't work.  That's the only "way" to express your frustration.  Make a point to tell them that this doesn't make sense to you, and ask for a "supervisor" to talk to if they can't help you.

     

    Be prepared for the fact that they have no interest in supporting your routers problems and/or working with your ISP to fix your problems.   I can tell you for sure, that the 4 Mac's that I have in my house work just fine.  There are many others that also work just fine.  There are some that don't, as you've noticed.  I have a Toshiba, Windows 7 machine which often has a pretty lousy time using WiFi in some places. 

     

    You've probably been lucky to have the same "vintage" of equipment which turned out to be "compatible".  If you haven't checked your WiFi router to make sure that it's firmware is up to date with the latest version from the manufacturer, I'd do that immediately.  Chances are, if there is an update, it will fix your problems.

  • calebfromqld Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 3:42 PM (in response to lferrett66)

    lferrett66 wrote:

     

    Does anyone have a simple fix for this?  I am not a computer technician, I don't know what a protocal is or the difference between an "n" and a "g" I don't know how to find what bandwith is being used.............. 

     

    There are 3 possible explanations:

     

    1. Your MBA is faulty (hardware or software). 

    2. Your wireless router is faulty (hardware or firmware).

    3. There is an incompatibility between your MBA and router.

     

    If your MBA wireless networking is fine when you take it into an Apple store, and they test it there, then cancel option 1. (otherwise tech support)

     

    If you have other devices, such as phones, tablets, other laptops, that work perfectly with your existing wireless network, then cancel option 2. (otherwise firmware upgrade, and/or tech support and/or new router)

     

    That leaves option 3.  I personally had the problem that my router had a poor, early implementation of the draft wireless-n (2.4 GHz) protocol, and when my iMacs tried to use mode n it would intermittently fail (about every 1-15 mins).   When I switched my router to use only mode g, my pauses/drops went away.  (Note that all my other working devices only used mode g, so they never experienced the problem.)  Note that this was the router I received from my ISP when I purchased my DSL package, just to indicate how common this problem might be.

     

    Note that there are other people in this forum who have changed from mode n to mode g, and it has not resolved their problems; thus, I don't pretend that this fixes everything.  There may also be other kinds of incompatibility.  Another common one might be wifi security options, e.g. WPA options, although I have personally not had problems with wifi security.

     

    I realize there is a lot of confusing jargon and technical language in all of this.  My personal opinion is that Apple made a blunder by making these devices use mode-n by default.  It would have been possible (and still is) to ship with mode g, and provide a UI that allows people to test whether mode n works first, before setting it to remain that way.  They should have realised that the glut of cheap routers (with draft-n) on the market would cause endless problems for many people.  It took me a day or two (and browsing this very thread) to test a few options and figure out what was going on, but that's because I am moderately familiar with basic networking.  Apple cannot reasonably expect everyone to figure this stuff out, and indeed many people buy a mac specifically so they don't have to.  It is all fine and well to blame the cheap router, but from the perspective of the user, if his phone works on wifi, and his PC works on wifi, then why can't his $2k mac also work?

     

    For me personally, I used mode g for a while, and everything was fine, but eventually I wanted full-speed mode n to support faster file transfer over the wifi network, so I got an Airport anyway.  My wifi then worked in (full) mode n too.

  • James Wilde Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 12:24 AM (in response to calebfromqld)

    Unfortunately the last two posts, which might have relevance in just lferret66's case, since (s)he has a new machine, do not address the hundreds of other cases where a functional system has been rendered dysfunctional without a change of router or any other change to the system than an upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion, or, as in my own case, applying an upgrade to Mountain Lion.  They do not address the issue of those who have reverted from Mountain Lion to Lion or Snow Leopard, and found that their MacBooks function perfectly again.

     

    In my own case I would willingly go back to an earlier version of Mountain Lion, one pre-October 2012 (I think), which caused my Mac to have wifi problems.  The problem is that almost every upgrade has required a remake of the email database, and I'm not sure how a regression is going to affect the availability of my email messages.

     

    The summary is, as far as I am concerned, that there is a problem with Mountain Lion's handling of wifi, which has nothing to do with legacy systems and incompatibilities, but is quite simply an error in the operating system, and this should be fixed as a high priority.  There are, after all, more people who use a MacBook Pro with wifi than who use it with a tp cable.

  • gphonei Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 3:04 PM (in response to James Wilde)

    James Wilde wrote:

     

    Unfortunately the last two posts, which might have relevance in just lferret66's case, since (s)he has a new machine, do not address the hundreds of other cases where a functional system has been rendered dysfunctional without a change of router or any other change to the system than an upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion, or, as in my own case, applying an upgrade to Mountain Lion.  They do not address the issue of those who have reverted from Mountain Lion to Lion or Snow Leopard, and found that their MacBooks function perfectly again.

     

    In my own case I would willingly go back to an earlier version of Mountain Lion, one pre-October 2012 (I think), which caused my Mac to have wifi problems.  The problem is that almost every upgrade has required a remake of the email database, and I'm not sure how a regression is going to affect the availability of my email messages.

     

    The summary is, as far as I am concerned, that there is a problem with Mountain Lion's handling of wifi, which has nothing to do with legacy systems and incompatibilities, but is quite simply an error in the operating system, and this should be fixed as a high priority.  There are, after all, more people who use a MacBook Pro with wifi than who use it with a tp cable.

    James, I didn't look back to see what specific steps you've tried.  These two posts, do describe the basic issue, which is that your old network has an incompatibility with the "software" in the new OS.  Yes, that is not a great thing, and surely it is a pain in the ARSE.  But, in the end, that's what there is to deal with.  As the other reply suggested, forcing various restrictions on your routers configuration might be necessary.

     

    I recently helped my Sister-in-Law with an iPad problem related to her router.  I had her switch from 802.11n with WPA to WPA2, and then the iPad could connect.  She has a netgear N300 router.  I also did need to update the firmware as well. 

     

    802.11n as well as WPA/WPA2 implementations are all relatively "new", and if the router's firmware has not been kept up to date, there are going to be problems with one or more of these features.

     

    Is it fun, no.  Is it good for the manufactures to expect you to do all this work for them?  No, but their engineers, are capable of doing it for themselves, and since it is "doable", and fixing it for you, costs them money, their isn't much "desire" to keep doing that over and over, when there are no other requirements to do that.

     

    They feel vindicated because every router manufacture on the planet has some mechanism for the user to "update" the firmware.

     

    Apple's "Airport Utility" shows you that the firmware is out of date and guides you to update it.  Other router manufactures provide various ways of "checking" for updates.  But most of those are using "web pages" to manage the router, and if you don't open that interface up (as you would need to the Airport Utility as well), you will not know that the device needs to be updated.

     

    The router is a separate computer system which needs to be updated independantly, managed and such.  If you can't do this yourself, then, much like PC users who don't know how to use antivirus software and firewalls, the attributes of that system, and it's failure modes and such, will impact the success you have with using that device.

     

    Finally, it's just not realistic to imagine that a router would be any more "correct" in operation than another device which connects to it.  The systems must be compatible.  Many people with "old" routers don't have working/correct implementations of the newer standards which Apple is "using" (well mandating by the selections of protocols/features when the routers say they support it). 

     

    I am not suggesting you have no right to be upset.  I'm simplying saying that just being mad doesn't solve the problem for you.

     

    For more than a decade, people have not gotten mad at Microsoft, and stopped using windows just because they ended up with viruses and malware.  In ignorance or indifference, they spent more and more time and money to "fix" or "work around" the problems trying to keep a stable system and not lose any data.  They bought extra, detachable drives, floppy disks, CD/DVDs and other things to copy their data onto, to save it, because everyone said, viruses aren't the only way to lose data, your disk might die.  So, they tolerated the complete failure of Microsft to deliver a quality product.

     

    Apple is not "ignoring" the problem.  The problem is intractable for them to solve, unless it is exactly their problem of not making their software meet the "standards".  Since so many people don't have the problem, I'd suggest that your only recourse is going to be solving it yourself by tracking down the incompatible piece of your system regarding Mountain Lion WiFi problems.

  • norgard Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 3:48 PM (in response to gphonei)

    go get 'em, gphonei!

     

    Here's a puzzle.  I gave up trying to get my wifi working about 2 months ago and hooked up an ethernet cable. About a week ago, I unplugged the cable and turned on wifi back on - voila, it has been working flawlessly - go figure  ;-)

  • CamCaGuy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 4:12 PM (in response to gphonei)

    gphonei, I for one appreciate your clear, concise responses to very technical issues.

     

    I have two iMacs (2009 vintage, one early, one late), an iPad (first retina display, whatever version that is) and two iPhone 4S. After some initial Mountain Lion WiFi connectivity issues, I switched from WPA to WPA2 and added an Airport Extreme Base Station (also to strengthen my WiFi signal for streamng video to my TV.

     

    I would say that all of my earlier connectivity issues have been resolved.

     

    I do notice that my early 2009 24" iMac seems t connect more quickly to WiFi on wake-up from Sleep than does the later 2009 21.5" iMac belonging to my wife. They both always connect on wake-up, but it takes perhaps 10 or 15 seconds for mine and sometimes 15 to 20 seconds for hers. The two iMacs are within 9 feet of one another (we sit back to back) and in teh same room with our cable router and Airport Extreme Base Station.

     

    Using WPA2 Personal made connection reliable for iPad and both iPhone 4S, as well as for Apple TV and Roku 2 XD.

     

    It took me several years to convince my wife to get rid of Microsoft Windows and all its issues. I am satisfied that all my Apple devices talk with on another and the outside world. It does require a clear head and some patience at times, but generally, it is a pleasure.

     

    Thanks again for your continual encouragement to those who have encountered the vagaries of WiFi today.

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (80)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.