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New Macbook Air - wifi connectivity problems

449521 Views 2,058 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2014 8:24 AM by hunberry RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Cloudi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 8:53 AM (in response to Flood78)

    Update from Cloudi

     

    I have not posted for a while.  I'm one of the lucky new MBA 13" owners.  I have not had any problems - ever.

     

    I'm posting again not to gloat, but to make it clear that some of us have not had problems - any systems analyst will understand it's as important to know the details of what's always worked as it is to know the details of what doesn't.

     

    My set-up is clearly documented earlier in this thread (search for Cloudi). The only change is that I decided to install "Update 1.0" (see earlier items in thread). This was a risk because I have had no problems and some have reported problems starting only after the update (again, sea earlier comments).

     

    I'm relieved to be able to report that I continue to have NEVER have had a WiFi 'drop-out".

     

    I have used my new MBA in every imaginable WiFi connection circumstance (LOL! ).  So, that's security settings of every type in cafe's and universities and so forth and also open WiFi with and without the need for passwords, again in airports, coffee shops, hotel 'Guest' WiFi etc etc.

     

    It is likely that I have successfully linked to most 'ages' of router. So, I'm certain I've linked to several different 'g', 'n' and 'ac' (2.4 and 5GHz).

     

    So, to repeat, whiclst I'm tempted to gloat, I'm not gloating.  The fact that I and many of those who have purchased the latest MBA have not had problems in ANY of the wide variety of WiFi settings MUST be a clue to what's wrong...

     

    A P P L E ........  T   A   K   E        N   O   T   E (pleeeeease.......?)

  • wofsie Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 9:18 AM (in response to Cloudi)

    I got my original configure to order 2013 MBA in June and had the WiFi problems right out of the box.  It was replaced with a new configure to order Air which also had problems right out of the box.  After working with a senior tech and updating my Netgear firmware and changing channel to WPA2, things improved but still had problems.  It would drop WiFi 6-7 times a day instead of every 5 minutes, but the speed was very slow when browsing the Internet and it wouldn't stay connected more then 5 minutes outside of my house.  After installing the fix I thought everything was going to be perfect at first.  No more drops in WiFi and the speed was great.  By the 3rd day after the fix, it dropped WiFi and the speed once again slowed dramatically.  Over the course of this week it has dropped WiFi that I am aware of 7-8 times total, which is a major improvement but still not good for a new expensive Air.  The speed is terrible and it runs like a snail most of the time.  Ran the WiFi diagnostics for the first time last night, and it was a short test as I was only using the Air for a little over an hour.  I didn't notice any disconnect from WiFi however the speed was very slow.

    Before I closed down I checked the diagnostic report and it did detect WiFi drops while the Air was in use.  I suspect that even though I am not aware when the WiFi drops, that is at least in part what is affecting the speed since it actually is dropping the connection.  I am hoping this is a software issue for those of us suffering and that Apple will find a fix that works 100% sooner then later. 

     

    FWIW, the senior tech is still working with me and gathering diagnostics for Apple to work with. 

    I just wish Apple would not stay silent but speak up and tell us what they think is happening and not keep us in the dark!  Very frustrating and disappointing.

  • LeeBrunk Calculating status...
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    Jul 25, 2013 10:12 AM (in response to vhkim)

    I just wanted to chip in with my update.  I installed the patch when it came out and it resolved issues with older encryption.  I haven't had a single drop since save for two modem/router reboots at home where all devices were affected.  I have since installed a Win7 partition and the wireless works fine there, albeit with shorter range and somewhat slower throughput than in OSX.  This is similar to the performance difference I noticed with my old late-2008 MBP when running in Win7, so I am guessing that Boot Camp is to blame there as before.

  • zqx321 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 10:57 AM (in response to LeeBrunk)

    As I posted earlier, the custom build 13" MBA I received on June 26 would hang (i.e., freeze, crash, require reboot) whenever connected to Wifi of any kind. I returned it for exchange. The replacement 13" MBA I received on July 8 works flawlessly with every Wifi router I've tried, including 5HGz, 2.4GHz, 802.11/g/n, etc. No drops indicated by the Wireless Diagnostics program. Same software, just a different MBA.

     

    With some trepidation, I installed the 1.0 update when it was released. Luckily, there was no change and Wifi still works perfectly.

     

    I think there's been way too much speculation about the cause(s) of the problems reported here (and I'm guilty of that, too), but my considered opinion after reading all the posts is that the most likely cause is faulty Wifi hardware in some MBAs, and that the severity or nature of the problem varies.

     

    In some cases, simply changing the security protocol, deleting old network profiles, changing the network selection order, etc, fixes the problem. In other cases, where that doesn't work, the 1.0 update eliminates or reduces the frequency of the drops. In still other cases, the fix isn't significantly reducing frequency of the drops or is possibly making them more frequent. From what I've read here, in all cases the automatic reconnect in the update eliminates the need to manually stop and start Wifi, albeit with a potentially significant impact on speed if drops are frequent.

     

    Now, of course I'm not 100% sure that it's a hardware issue, It could be that the people reporting continued drops are using one of a small handful of router models that are incompatible with the MBA's new hardware or software, and the update hasn't fixed the problem for all routers (yet). That seems somewhat unlikely to me, but it's always a possibility.

     

    There's a very small likelihood that there's a bug in the configuration for the drivers/hardware that is caused by migrating from another Mac. This is easily tested by booting from the Recovery partition, which has a clean configuration. Again, I'm skeptical that bad configuration migration has anything to do with the problem.

     

    If I were in the camp of new MBA owners who still have disconnect problems after installing the update, I would do the following:

     

    1. Make sure it's not a configuration problem by booting from Recovery. If it works under Recovery, migrate just the data and programs from your old Mac and don't use Migration Assistant.

     

    2. If Wifi drops under Recovery, systematically attempt to determine if the problem exists with only some Wifi routers, or all Wifi routers. If it's some, I would report this to Apple (yeah, could be difficult to get the model info if it's public Wifi, but you can tell them what setting are reported in the Utilities menu of Wireless Diagnostics.) Hopefully they can fix the issues in software.

     

    3. If the problem exists with all Wifi routers, I would press Apple to replace the MBA, even if it's past the 14 day return period. That might work, depending on the person with whom you speak and the attitude you take on the phone (firm but friendly is the best policy -- don't beat up the person who is trying to help you.) It's important to stress that the problem existed right out of the box, and that the only reason you didn't return the MBA for exchange is that Apple indicated a software fix was coming. Since it didn't work, and it's highly likely to be caused by faulty hardware, they should replace your MBA. If they agree, make sure you can exchange the replacement if it doesn't work.

     

    If you strike out on getting an exchange, then my recommendation is to send the machine in for warranty repair with a detailed description of the problem and how to reproduce it. There's a good chance they'll replace the MBA with one that works. It's a major hassle to be without the machine, but if you love your new MBA...

  • brainyark Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 10:57 AM (in response to zqx321)

    And that's the worst part, isn't it! Apart from the wifi drops, the machine is a beauty! I'm more willing to have to suffer with a USB wifi dongle than switch to a different model. Did I not plug in my machine today? But I've been at work for hours, and there are hours of charge left :-D

     

    I think I'm going to try to take my machine to as many network configurations this weekend to see if I can discern any pattern.

  • stumbleone Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 11:20 AM (in response to zqx321)

    I posted earlier about my i5/4G/256G/13" machine that worked perfectly any number of different places around town as well as at home.

     

    Finally found one bar where the machine did not work.  It connected okay to the bar's WiFi but would not allow access to internet.  My iPhone and iPad were completely functional. 

     

    I talked to tha manager and he said that he was fully aware that his router did not work with MBA Airs as well some other systems (did not ask which).  He said that they were calling in somebody to either update the firmware on the router or more likely just get a new one.

     

    I cheerfully predict that this will fix the problem for me.

  • brainyark Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 11:22 AM (in response to brainyark)

    I just ordered myself a USB wifi adapter to see if it'll fix the problem at home. That way at least I have a backup if I'm on the road and run into issues.

     

    http://www.amazon.com/Edimax-EW-7811Un-Wireless-Adapter-Wizard/dp/B003MTTJOY/ref =sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374776525&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+wifi

  • Leo_404 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 12:14 PM (in response to LeeBrunk)

    I also want to give my update.

     

    I used to have problems at a particular location that I know to use an old wifi router (D-Link DIR-600 using WPA2 over 802.11b/g).

     

    Just after buying the MBA-13 I7/8GB/256 in early July, I have worked at this location for a week, having drops every 10-20 mins.

     

    After installing the patch, I came back to this location this week, and had no drops at all.

  • wofsie Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 1:49 PM (in response to Leo_404)

    First off it is good to hear that several people posting have new Airs that work with NO issues of WiFi dropping or slow speed.  I also would like to add that much hunch is that most with a new Air that still has problems even after replacements and installing the patch have tried ALL of the various reconfigurations, trying the newest routers either by purchasing an Apple or trying out an Apple router owned by friends, checked all of the routers that work with the least verses the most drops, spent hours on the phone or at the Apple store either getting or attempting to get another replacement Air.  Needless to say, we all purchased the Air in the first place in order to make life and work easier, and the MBA is not cheap.  Whether it is only a few or several who are having problems with the Air, the very fact that Apple put out the patch in the first place and are STILL gathering diagnostics from some of us who have Airs that aren't working perfectly clearly indicate there are problems!  While I have done all of the jumping through hoops of fire in an attempt to see if I can fix the issues 2nd replacement Air is having, the point is I shouldn't have to!  Not at the amount of money I spent to buy the machine.  To state "if my Air were having problems I would do all of the following steps" is to assume that those of us with problem MBA's haven't done those things!  This computer not only cost me a lot financially, it has cost a lot in the time it continues to take trying to get it to work!  Hopefully when mine does work without the glitches and slow speed I will remember how frustrating it has been and realize that for anyone still having problems, whether it is a few or a multitude, don't need a lecture.  Empathy is the key word of the day perhaps!  No one spends money on a laptop to have to ask at every public place it doesn't work what kind of router they have!  This is getting to be a little much.  Apple didn't do the leg work necessary to assure the New Air had all of the bugs worked out before releasing it and so we get to be the lab rats gathering data.  Hopefully they will get it right for the rest of us who are unfortunate enough to be stuck with replacements of replacements that aren't working properly!  Sorry for the rant, but this is frustrating.

  • zqx321 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 3:38 PM (in response to wofsie)

    wofsie, since your rant was obviously aimed at me, I can't let it stand without responding.

     

    What makes you think I have no empathy for your situation? On the contrary, I feel your pain. Been there, had it happen to me countless times, got the T-shirt. I'm a veteran of 40+ years in the software profession -- from the kernel level to the application level, from the first mainframes to smartphones -- and a confirmed high-tech hobbyist-junkie. I've worked on and owned more cutting-edge devices than I care to think about, and have spent countless hours of my life troubleshooting frustrating flaws in software and hardware, always wondering how non-professionals (i.e., consumers) could possibly cope with them. And I've done battle with vendors with whom I've spent even more countless hours and dollars. I've also hovered over teams of engineers that worked for me, whipping them to fix the bugs while customers whipped me.

     

    Anger? Tears? You bet!

     

    Should it happen? No. But this stuff is made by humans, and humans have flaws. Even when we try to do our best, we mess up over and over again. At least Apple tries.

     

    My guess is that Apple has problems with factory QA on these new Airs, or at least with the Wifi testing/sampling protocol. I would bet they're in the process of dealing with it or have already resolved the problem at the factory. The fact that it's taking them a long time to resolve the problem for the bad machines that have already been sold isn't an indication that they aren't working as hard as they can on it. From everything I've read, this is a difficult problem to solve, probably because the symptoms vary, and in networking there are always timing issues that make it difficult to reproduce problems. There's a lot of routers out there, with many different firmware versions, and the variations in RF (signal strength, SNR, etc.)  make the universe of test conditions nearly astronomical in size. And they have to take great care producing the fix to ensure that they don't break anything else.

     

    On the customer service side, my experience with Apple was completely different than yours, and there's no justice in that. I guess it's random luck. They bent over backwards to replace my defective Air, offered to compensate for the inconvenience and made sure I was satisfied. I may have lucked out when my replacement Air didn't have a problem with Wifi, or it may be that the hardware problems affect a relatively small percentage of units. But I was fully aware that the replacement might have problems, and was prepared to go into battle again if it did. I'm sure I would have been angry and sad had it happened, but I would have continued the quest for the machine I want. This is life in the high-tech fast lane.

     

    Your situation appears to be unusual compared with that of others who have posted here. To my great surprise, you have been told that Apple won't replace the replacement Air, which is defective, too, with the reason being that you bought it from an Authorized Dealer rather than online or from an Apple Store. I have never heard of such a policy and I find it shocking. I don't know if you've done so, but I would try to take it up with the owner of the store *and* a supervisor at Apple. And if the Apple supervisor doesn't give you satisfaction, take it up with that person's supervisor, and so on, until you get what you want or they give you an explanation that makes sense. Again, if you've already done that, my apologies for suggesting it.

     

    And that brings up the purpose of my post. It was intended to help people resolve the problem. It wasn't aimed at you personally, and it didn't assume that people out there haven't already tried the things I suggested. There are a number of people on this thread who are experiencing the problem for the first time. Hopefully, at least one person will find my suggestions helpful.

     

    I'm sorry you got two bad Airs, and I'm sorry your dealer and the people with whom you've spoken at Apple haven't given you satisfaction. But that's no reason to take it out on me. I'm only trying to help.

  • wofsie Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 4:18 PM (in response to zqx321)

    zqx321, actually my rant was out of my frustration, and I apologize that it seemed directed at you.  I have talked with my authorized dealership owner as well as a senior Apple person and have not had any luck.  I have gotten the run around and have been told to do this and to do that and to be patient, and I am upset by it all.  You are right that I shouldn't take it out on you or anyone else on this site.........and again I apologize.  It is amazing to me that because it is a configure to order MBA bought at an authorized dealer for Apple, they can't take it back unless Apple agrees to take it back and re-emburse them........and since Apple won't agree, that's that.  Apple won't agree to take it back and refund the money because it was purcahsed at one of their aurthorized dealers and not through an Apple store or over the internet Apple store.  Apple did replace the machine and send a new one, only it continues to struggle along.  It was made clear to me last week that Apple is not willing to replace it again since they thought they had a fix and still aren't willing to do anything but continue to work with me over the phone, collect data and sooner or later they assure me the Air will work and I will be satisfied.  I have spent time on the phone with the Netgear techs making sure my router is the most up to date and have been assured by both those techs and the Apple tech that my router is set perfectly.  I have gone to friends homes who have recently purchased new Airport Extreme routers, only to still have this slow computer that drops connection.  It interferes with work and is eating up a great deal of time as the weeks go by.  Having spent part of my morning dealing yet again with a tech from Apple and still having a sluggish computer that they are gathering information for diagnostic purposes, I feel like a guinnea pig in a maze.  Your post hit a raw nerve, and that is no excuse for my rant in anyway.  Your post is a very good one with a lot of helpful information that may help some folks to actually fix what the issue is with their Air.  You are correct in stating that computers are made by humans and problems can and do occur and there are reasons why it will take a while to fix this one without causing bigger problems.  Unfortunately this human (me) hit a wall today with the Apple situation and blew a fuse with my earlier post.  Please accept my apology.......I was in the wrong and I mean no harm.

     

    I am hopeful that eventually Apple will figure this out and my Air will work beautifully with no WiFi drops, a long battery life and fast speed.  For now, I continue to work with Apple the best that I can in order to get to the day when I can have peace with this computer!  

  • Benjamin Slack Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 25, 2013 7:51 PM (in response to vhkim)

    Well... I wish I had seen this thread BEFORE buying this new Mac Book Air for my daughter for college. Just unpacked it, went to hook up the wifi and... nothing. Connection time out every time. It's an older wireless 'g' router, sure, but it works with every device in the house, dozens of different vendors from Microsoft to Roku to Apple (iPods). All connect just fine. Not this New Mac Book Air however.

     

    Worse still for Apple, this is my FIRST mac computer purchase and it looks to be my last. This thing has to work for my daughter. She isn't going to get to dictate the hardware that she connects to. Compatibility is as key as portability, design and battery life. I'll give apple support a chance to make it right, but if what I see here is the norm, I don't expect it can be fixed. It sounds like a major screw up in design to me.

     

    Oh, also, I already download and installed the July patch. I tried all the work arounds: the turning it off and on, removing or disabling the Bluetooth item from the networking device lists, reordering the service order, the four key reset, the creating a new location, etc. etc. No effect on the problem, leaving me one very unsatisfied customer. What I've been told for years is that macs work out of the box. Just not true.

  • Rosember Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2013 12:13 AM (in response to wofsie)

    wofsie wrote:

     

    zqx321, actually my rant was out of my frustration, and I apologize that it seemed directed at you.  I have talked with my authorized dealership owner as well as a senior Apple person and have not had any luck.  I have gotten the run around and have been told to do this and to do that and to be patient, and I am upset by it all.  You are right that I shouldn't take it out on you or anyone else on this site.........and again I apologize.  It is amazing to me that because it is a configure to order MBA bought at an authorized dealer for Apple, they can't take it back unless Apple agrees to take it back and re-emburse them........and since Apple won't agree, that's that.  Apple won't agree to take it back and refund the money because it was purcahsed at one of their aurthorized dealers and not through an Apple store or over the internet Apple store.  Apple did replace the machine and send a new one, only it continues to struggle along.  It was made clear to me last week that Apple is not willing to replace it again since they thought they had a fix and still aren't willing to do anything but continue to work with me over the phone, collect data and sooner or later they assure me the Air will work and I will be satisfied.  I have spent time on the phone with the Netgear techs making sure my router is the most up to date and have been assured by both those techs and the Apple tech that my router is set perfectly.  I have gone to friends homes who have recently purchased new Airport Extreme routers, only to still have this slow computer that drops connection.  It interferes with work and is eating up a great deal of time as the weeks go by.  Having spent part of my morning dealing yet again with a tech from Apple and still having a sluggish computer that they are gathering information for diagnostic purposes, I feel like a guinnea pig in a maze.  Your post hit a raw nerve, and that is no excuse for my rant in anyway.  Your post is a very good one with a lot of helpful information that may help some folks to actually fix what the issue is with their Air.  You are correct in stating that computers are made by humans and problems can and do occur and there are reasons why it will take a while to fix this one without causing bigger problems.  Unfortunately this human (me) hit a wall today with the Apple situation and blew a fuse with my earlier post.  Please accept my apology.......I was in the wrong and I mean no harm.

     

    I am hopeful that eventually Apple will figure this out and my Air will work beautifully with no WiFi drops, a long battery life and fast speed.  For now, I continue to work with Apple the best that I can in order to get to the day when I can have peace with this computer!  

    I am in a very similar situation - but with my MBA. As some others and me have stated this connectivity problem is not completely new. I am on a 2012 MBA, and wifi dropping started with the OS X update to 10.8.2 (late in 2012 IIRC). It took me half a year and summed up several weeks of full time work just to figure out that it was a problem of the MBA. That because Apple did not know / denied to admit there was a problem with the wifi and the ISP was of no help either (at that time I worked at home mainly and the problems occured only there). So I did several complete reinstalls, even changed the ISP, bought an Airport Express and tried out each and every setting of the router and the MBA - with no success. The symptoms are exactly the same as with the new MBAs while at the same time four older Macs, my iPhone and every other wifi device I brought to my network worked perfectly. I also had my MBA in for repair - but with no result. The test showed it was in perfect condition. Than a wifi and Apple expert from an official service provider came to my home to check the settings of my home wifi network just to have to admit that everything was set up correctly - and having to notice that his own MBA 2012 started loosing connection in this environment the very moment he logged in (ha - painfully funny after such a long list of denials there was any problem).

    Of course, I also have a long support story with Apple, but there were no substantial efforts made before the new MBA showed its problems. I got into contact with the highest support level available for ordinary customers, and the problem with my MBA was acknowledged. I told this guy that the situation was absolutely unbearable for half a year now and that I needed a working notebook or wanted a refund even after a year of use, because the computer wasn't doing what it was sold for to do. Technically this top level support guy has reached the borders of his wisdom. He cannot help me and he does not know / is not allowed to tell me anything about the fixing process at Apple. He could not even tell we whether Apple was looking into the problem also for older computers. (BTW, Apple, this is a piece of sh*t of communication as nice as the support guy was - excuse my words!)

    As of today the situation is as follows: I cannot get a refund or a replacement of the MBA without three repair tries (this is the legal situation in Germany, where I live). Problem: Nobody can repair anything in my MBA because it is in perfect working condition. ***!

    The other option is to return it because it is not doing what it was sold for to do. Wikipedia tells me this is called a warranty issue in English. But Apple cannot handle the issue themselves because I bought the MBA from an official Apple trader. I have to contact this trader and tell them the whole story again because they have no access to Apple's support protocol. And the trader sits at the other end of the country (I bought over the internet).

    Worst of all: I do not have any trust left that an exchange MBA 2012 or a new MBA as replacement won't show the same issues again. And I cannot go on fighting this problem half of the week. I have work to be done, and I do not want to leave the Apple eco system, among many other reasons because all my software is for Macs.

    ****, Apple: 10+ years of a deep affection - and look what you have done!

    And no substantial help...

  • fisharmonicista Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2013 2:58 AM (in response to vhkim)

    same problem. i just bought macbook air last week, and it suddenly drops wi-fi connectivity on a regular basis. i try to fix it through network, but nothing i do in particular works; it seems that it reconnects itself randomly. how do i fix this? (when i try to go through network diagnostics and assistant, it displays erratic answers—sometimes it doesn't recognize the correct password for the wi-fi network, for example.) this symptom is really detrimental and i am really frustrated.

  • wofsie Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2013 9:23 AM (in response to Rosember)

    Rosember, thanks for your post!  Not that I am happy you are and have suffered with your older Mac, but it does confirm the problems and how much time and effort go into trying to get it solved while hearing from Apple that nothing is wrong, no refund and no more replacements will happen and I am told it will all work out to my satisfaction.  And during all of this, including this morning, diagnostics are being gathered on my Air!  As I type, my new Air is having a portion sectioned off and reinstalling OS so that when that's done the tech can collect more data files to send to Apple and we'll need to talk more next week about getting a fix for my Air since it is "unusual but no need to worry because it'll work like a charm soon".

    I really am not a complainer, but I changed to Mac to get away from the crashes of the Windows system.  This seems worse since it interferes with my work so much on a daily basis. 

    Not sure how it will be resolved and I keep fighting in a strong but nice way in an attempt to get a refund until all of this mess is behind Apple Airs for everyone over several months.  Like you I now have all Apple products in my house and really don't want to change back to Windows.  I would just like a refund until they fix the mess.  Then I can either get an older Pro that is tried and true to work or wait 6-12 months  and buy a new MBA with problems solved.

    Well, back to the diagnostic work on my Air which I can't use until this is completed today!

    Hopefully this will all work out sooner then later and become a distant nighare!

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