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How to improve wi-fi when closed MacBook Pro is connected to an external monitor?

1700 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2013 8:13 AM by august1997 RSS
Dieds Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 22, 2013 1:50 PM



My MacBook Pro is connected to a ViewSonic monitor, and I am connected to my wireless network.


Speed tests show that connection speeds slow greatly when the lid is closed -- which is the only way I can get it to display properly on the ViewSonic (otherwise the display is over-magnified and out of proportion). However, the connection speeds are excellent when it is open.


My question: What's the best way to improve my connection speed? Is there a setting that would allow me to leave the lid open while still using the display? Or is there another alternative?


Thanks in advance! 

MacBook (13-inch), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Go into Display under System Preferences and change the scaling on the external display when it's open.  Does that fix your scaling issue?  I can't say that I've seen the WIFI problem that you're describing myself... the antenna should be in the screen surround, so I can see it changing a little bit, but it shouldn't just drop off big time like you're describing.  Maybe report it to Apple in case it's a design issue.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Are you mirroring the display?  What's your choice on the external display/AirPlay looking icon on the top menu bar?

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Is your external display connected via HDMI directly (i.e. do you have a Retina MBP) or via a converter?  Mini->HDMI or other?  It's my understanding that if the system sees an external display capable of mirroring (hard wired or AppleTV) it should display that icon and instead of AppleTV, it'll just show the respective model screen/TV to make this happen.  When it's mirrored, you can scale the screen to fit the external display better or to fit your MBP screen better.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    That's really weird (not really, I can see a logical explanation for it and indicated above that the antenna is in the screen lid most definitely), but it shouldn't drop off that much and I know others work in the same way you do with an external keyboard/mouse and monitor hooked up and have no issues.  Maybe the magnet that keeps the lid closed has an adverse affect on the signal more than expected or maybe it's just your laptop.  I guess if you had another or knew someone with one that you could test with, that would help.  The other option is to improve the signal output of your home WIFI.  If your router is a few years old, maybe upgrading to a newer 802.11n based one with MIMO and dual frequency bands could help.  Either that or move it to a more central location for your needs.


    I will say this, I do sometimes stream stuff from my 13" to AppleTV and close the screen. I don't run into signal degradation like you indicate.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Dieds wrote:


    Hi Swank,


    I'll let you know what the folks at the Apple Store conclude - as I have an appointment this Saturday and they are going to test the setup. I have a Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG6580 and get 50m down and 5m up on the MacBook with the top open. I'll post when I hear something from Saturday's visit. Thanks again for all your help.

    lol, there's the issue.


    No, don't take this the wrong way, but the gateway type devices have very poor coverage in terms of WIFI.  I know some people like to get them because it's all in one box and convenient, but the last Moto SBG I worked with had such poor WIFI coverage in a client's home that was an older historic type house that I pretty much gave up on those type of devices.  A dedicated router and standalone modem is a much better dynamic solution.  Only real issue is two boxes instead of one.  One other aspect to the gateway devices is that if there's ever a firmware issue with them that is causing a problem with the WIFI side of things, the cable carrier isn't always gung-ho about updating the firmware on their side to push up those fixes that come from Motorola.  As long as the DOCSIS side of the modem works and links up, that's all they usually care about, so it tens to leave the router side of it at a loss.  Anyway, just some more info for you to have.


    BTW, if you do go to the Apple Store and you somehow end up talking about wireless routers, don't fall too much in love with the idea of them selling you on an AirPortExtreme they have.  You can buy one if you must, but there are a ton of other routers from Netgear for instance that are about the same or less cost that have much better WIFI coverage and features in them.  The newer ones from Netgear even support a USB drive connected to the router for TimeMachine backups... something that no other router aside from Apple's APEs support.  I guess what I'm saying is that Apple people tend to get hung up on the "Apple stuff is the only stuff that'll work right" mentality that they fall for a lot of the bs that the Apple Store geniuses sell them on.  There's half-truths to everything and only years of experience in networking and IT will give you enough past knowledge to formulate a proper conclusion on issues.  A lot of the people that work in these places have taken a few tests and cert courses to do their job and that's about it.  While I may not know everything about Macs yet, I've done everything else on the PC and network side of things for a really long time and the same logistics apply to pretty much any computer regardless of manufacturer.


    Good luck with your appointment... just keep a level head and don't let them bs you.  Whatever you do, don't walk in carrying a bottle of water.  They'll probably blame that for the issues and void your warranty. lol

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Try it before your appointment.  What have you got to lose.  All you'd have to do on the Motorola is just flip it to bridge mode... something either you or the ISP should be able to do.  You'll know almost immeidately if things improve or not via the same tests you run now.

  • august1997 Calculating status...

    even though this is a late entry there are two ways you can get back your normal strength the first and easiest would be to close the lid of your mac to where it is nicely formatted on your monitor the crack it a little to where it doesnt wake the computer but prevents the muffle on the computer. this method is very effective and works well for my mirrored display settup. another way would be to buy a external wifi usb adapter. this would allow for an external internet connection with a closed mac. hope this helped


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