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New Macbook Air - wifi connectivity problems

444628 Views 2,049 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2014 9:41 AM by thiagobona RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • raducan.mihai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 3, 2013 1:47 AM (in response to carbon_dragon)

    I understand now. I think it has something to do with the 4g beam. Probably, the beam requires something that MBA's power management cuts off and a conflict arises. Take into account that OSX Mavericks will have some power savings features built in so you might have some problems with it also, if you decide to update.

     

    @ mrbevan: I have no such problems. Playing Candy Crush makes no difference in my ping results. I'm also on .22 driver. Even if I had no problems with .35 (except 30-35 ms ping times) I rolled back to .22 driver. I  see no difference in wifi performance (better or worse): browsing, streaming, Skype, Facetime, everything works great. But ping times are now around 3 ms or less.  

  • carbon_dragon Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 3, 2013 5:15 PM (in response to raducan.mihai)

    @raducan.mihai You may be right, but remember the 4g beam is an alternative to trying to use WiFi abroad which this machine sort of has a problem with. So avoiding that problem produces another. I've never had to avoid two catastrophic opposing technical problems before and I've owned Apple computers since 1984.

     

    I'm doing OK, but only because I've accepted poorer battery life, bought an expensive Apple modem, and have a fairly expensive AT&T dongle to get connection on the go. The result is very useable but I shouldn't have to go to this expense and trouble just to use the new Air. I DIDN'T do these things for my 2010 air (except for having an AT&T dongle). And I had to upgrade my dongle from a 4g Shockwave (HSPA+ plus 3g) to the Beam because the old one didn't work on the 2013 Air either! Even with the newest drivers.

  • 0 scoobysnacks 0 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 12:23 AM (in response to vhkim)

    I have been watching this thread with interest since early summer and am still holding off my planned Air purchase until this is fixed.

     

    Interestingly, I received a very positive promotional email from Apple UK yesterday.....'all the critics agree that the MBA is a hit'......quotes along the lines of 'mind blown' and 'greatest laptop ever made'. I am sure that the quotes are genuine but find it a bit galling to read on here how much of a lottery a MBA purchase seems to be.

     

    Come on Apple, fix this so people who want to buy the 'greatest laptop ever made' can do so with confidence that WIFI will work reliably.

  • benoitfromganshoren Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I would like to share my experience, which might be relevant for some of those experiencing wifi issues. My experience with my new MBA mid summer 2013 has not been very pleasant, but I think my problem has been fixed, at last, so far...

     

    Here is a quick summary

    - My first MBA mid summer 2013 crashed after one single day use (the screen blinked, backened, and I could not start the MBA anymore. Worked again after a couple of days, but given doubts about the machine, I got a new replacement machine. It's a I7, 8Gb, 500 Gb

     

    - With the replacement machine, the second one, I got wifi issues. Intermittent issue. Not on all networks/modems. Sometimes the connection got very slow, but most of the time I lost the connection, and was not able to reconnect (connection time out). I had major wifi issues, while all other machines on the same network worked fine (linux pc, windows pc, other/older MBA, Macbook Pro, Iphone, Ipod touch...)

     

    - I got the usual process through Apple Care, they escalated the issue to 2nd line support, and they did not know better than asking me, again, to install the wifi fix (the usual one, the same as many users refer to). It did not fix the problem at all. The support of Apple Care was very poor. 2nd line support did not appear to be more competent thant 1st line support and came up with common sense suggestions, nothing specific. They promised to call back and did not. In the end, they recommended to bring the pc in the shop and to ask for a thorough testing of the hardware. In the mean time, I noticed that when I lost the connection, I could get it back when I put my MBA very near the router (a few inches). Anyway, I followed their advice and requested a hardware test of the machine.

     

    - They tested the machine on several networks, and they told me they did not notice any issue, that everything was working fine. But anyway, they replaced the network card, and said they would receive the motherboard at a later stage if the issue occured again. So far, replacing the network card seems to fix the issue, my MBA connects like a charm now. Let's cross the fingers, I hope it will keep that way.

     

    - I got the opportunity to talk with the guy in charge with my machine. He said that he thought that the network card had an harware issue. And he suggested that the heat might have play a role, which would explained why the issue was intermittent. It makes sense to me, as the issue occured often at the end of the day, or after hours, or when I performed heavy tasks for the machine.

     

    - I am suspicious - why did they replace the network card if they did not identify any hardware issue when testing the machine? Is it related to the network card itself, or is it related to an assembly issue and/or the design of the machine? They did not aknowledge any known issue with the new 2013 MBA and pretended I had probably just bad luck, but that does not mean there are not known issues.

     

    - I did not make any roll back to the original driver. If the driver itself has an issue, I trust Apple to fix this later with an update.

  • raducan.mihai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    From your post and all that's been discussed here, it seem to me that the wifi issue is a hardware problem that can sometimes be, not fixed, but "cheated" with software. Let me explain, because if I'm right it explains a few things.First, there is the working MBAs category (probably most of them). Nothing to say here. Second, there are the MBAs with wifi issues. And this are the ones I'm talking about.

     

    My guess: there is (was) a problem with the manufacturing line of the wifi card. It was probably intermittent and that's why they can't say for sure what cards are affected and what are not. It probably has to do with soldering and that's why when the card get's hot and it expands (dilates) the faulty soldering point stops making contact as it should.

     

    What they tried to do to and, in some cases, succeeded is to keep the wifi card as cold as possible via software. How can you do that?  By putting it to sleep as soon as possible. Exactly what .35 driver does. If the defect is not so big, the "fix" works. By keeping it cool, the faulty soldering contact point is not expanding (dilating) and everything works. If the defect is bigger, no matter how cool you keep it, the faulty contact point remains faulty, so to speak.

     

    What do you think about this?

  • attiland Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 5:28 AM (in response to raducan.mihai)

    raducan.mihai wrote:

     

    From your post and all that's been discussed here, it seem to me that the wifi issue is a hardware problem that can sometimes be, not fixed, but "cheated" with software. Let me explain, because if I'm right it explains a few things.First, there is the working MBAs category (probably most of them). Nothing to say here. Second, there are the MBAs with wifi issues. And this are the ones I'm talking about.

     

    My guess: there is (was) a problem with the manufacturing line of the wifi card. It was probably intermittent and that's why they can't say for sure what cards are affected and what are not. It probably has to do with soldering and that's why when the card get's hot and it expands (dilates) the faulty soldering point stops making contact as it should.

     

    What they tried to do to and, in some cases, succeeded is to keep the wifi card as cold as possible via software. How can you do that?  By putting it to sleep as soon as possible. Exactly what .35 driver does. If the defect is not so big, the "fix" works. By keeping it cool, the faulty soldering contact point is not expanding (dilating) and everything works. If the defect is bigger, no matter how cool you keep it, the faulty contact point remains faulty, so to speak.

     

    What do you think about this?

    Interesting idea, but as you asked what do we think, I think the fix would not work like that as you mentioned. Some connection would just cut. Don't forget reconnecting takes long long secounds. Without understanding what exactly the fix does it is just speculation. I have 10 MBA 2013 to look after. Been bought from different sources (shops/online) as we were go along. the fix fixed them all. Yeah it is possible UK got the same source since the laptop been reliesed, but it is unlikely true, so my opinion, is it is a frimware/ software issue, been sorted 99% I can imagine situations when it is still failing, but I have't seen it ever since the fix been rooled out. My users going all around the world and it works for them. They would report the issue, as one of the app they use is very sensitive for connection issues, and I would see them from logs too, as I have seen them before the fix.

    You say the .35 driver puts the card to sleep; how do you know that? I don't think it is true like this, or doesn't apply to my settings, so the theory fails.

  • KlaatuBarada Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 7:20 AM (in response to vhkim)

    I have a strange question,  I happen to have two new MBA's that are working (from a WIFI connectivity perspective) without any problem. I have a Airport Extreme sixth gen.

     

    Should I be concerned that when Apple eventually releases a fix via firmware or a patch to OSX 10.8.4, that I will be affected.

     

    Or I am I just a paranoid retiree?

  • raducan.mihai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 9:03 AM (in response to attiland)

    @ attiland: On page no. 75 user Richard_vd explained why the ping values on .35 are so big. Mysteriously, his post disappeared (he noted his missing post at page 86, last post on the page). If I recall the idea of the post correctly, the .35 driver puts the card to sleep if there is a delay bigger than 2 ms between packets. That's why he wrote a syntax (page 75) that fixes that. It was not clear for me if this is the only thing the .35 driver does. But, if he was correct and if I recalled the post right, the question arises: why would you, as Apple, come up with a driver that produces such big ping times? It makes no sense. Unless the purpose is to give the card some time to "breathe" and not to get hot.... At least according to my complicated theory 

    MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), 13" mid 2013 (Haswell), base model
  • BDBoy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 9:10 AM (in response to vhkim)

    I am returning both of our MacBook Air and the TimeCapsule (AC). Apple care couldn't fix the issue. It's not fun when WiFi disconnect in middle of video conference.

  • raducan.mihai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 10:09 AM (in response to KlaatuBarada)

    @ KlaatuBarada: If you look at ping times, they already did that with .35 driver. But, just like you, I have no problem with wifi connection and I'm confident that hardware wise my MBA is ok. So, no matter with what driver Apple comes up, I can always go back to one that works. So, to answer your question: you are a little paranoid   But, with all that's going on, i think it's understandable and you are not the only one.

  • carbon_dragon Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 1:33 PM (in response to KlaatuBarada)

    I had the same worry. It sounds as if they're not fixing the problem, they're "hiding" it with a fix which degrades performance and doesn't do that much for you. That idea is pretty distressing.

  • henryngo Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 8:34 PM (in response to vhkim)

    My Air' wifi just drop off and cannot reconnect until after couple of days. Install "fix" at Apple store but at home still cannot connect until next morning when I change connection name and restart both the air and router.

    When I do the hardware test, press D while restarting it report wifi issue so will return it as it's only one week old.

  • orchetect Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 8:45 PM (in response to henryngo)

    henryngo -

     

    I just did the hardware test on my Air and it found no problems.  You definitely have a defective unit with a different problem than the majority of people in this thread.  They should exchange it for you, or you can just return it if you want to wait until Apple has fixed the larger WiFi issue that the rest of us have been facing (as some have recommended).

  • Aristotle2208 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 9:45 PM (in response to brainyark)

    hows your usb wifi adapter going right now. im considering to buy one

    thanks

  • raducan.mihai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2013 12:57 AM (in response to Aristotle2208)

    I just want to give you a little tip on choosing the channel for your router. I like to choose it manually. To see what channels are used by the neighboring wifi networks you can get an application from the store (that costs money, of course!) or you can press the wifi icon while holding Alt/Option key. It will show you details for your network (band, security, signal strength, channel, etc) and if you hover the cursor on top of one of the other networks visible (don't click on it, just keep the cursor on top) and leave it a second or two it will show you the band,channel, security and signal strength of that network. This way you can see what channels are used and you can choose a "free" one.

     

    Hope that helps.

     

    PS: If you have an Android phone you can use a free app called Wifi Analizer.

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