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Why does my Wifi Icon Show I'm Connected, When I'm Not?

920 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 22, 2014 10:01 AM by WZZZ RSS
Saxman Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 7, 2014 8:05 PM

What is the point of having the little visual icon that shows when you're connected to the internet, if it shows you're connected, even when you aren't?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 21.5in. ,3.2 GHz i3, 12GB Ram
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)

    If you are referring to the Airport icon, it doesn't show that you are connected to the Internet, only that you are receiving a signal from and connected to your wireless router. The connection from the router to the Internet is an entirely different matter. For example, I can pull out the ethernet cable that, in my case, connects the router to the FiOS ONT (and on to the Internet) and still see a normal, strong signal from the router to Airport in the Mac.

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)

    If you want to know if you're connected to the Internet or not, and what the quality of that connection is, just open Network Utility, choose Ping and enter something like


    You should get something like this. If you are showing considerable packet loss, then youi have a problem with your connection to the Internet.


    --- ping statistics ---

    10 packets transmitted, 10 packets received, 0.0% packet loss

    round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 5.758/10.090/14.302/2.964 ms


    Or go to  (Be sure not to inadvertently hit a MacKeeper ad there, if one shows. If it does, get Adblock Plus (Firefox/Chrome.) If you're using Safari, get an approved adblocker for that.


    If it keeps showing "looking for networks" instead of showing a check mark next to your network, then, yes, something else is going on. You have a problem connecting to your network. What happens if you option-click on the Airport icon? What are you seeing for Transmit Rate? The Transmit Rate will indicate the quality of the connection between the router and Airport, nothing to do with the connection to the Internet.


    If the Rate is quite low, reboot the router. I've seen full bars in the Airport icon with a Rate of 2. Rebooting the router was the fix.


    Here are some generic things to look at.



  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)

    And if pages are opening slowly, that means you have a slow connection (or even, possibly, a poor connection to your network.) Not that your connection has been severed. (I would first suspect slow Internet speed, not your network as being the culprit.)

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)

    A rate of 52 isn't bad, certainly nothing that would cause problems connecting adequtely to the router. You're on an N router, probably with a max rate of 130.


    Two sugguestions for the looking for networks thing: One create a new location in Prefs>Network. Another, make sure you have these settings: Ask to join new networks should be unchecked, make sure  IPv6 is turned off and

    Screen shot 2014-01-17 at 7.54.32 AM.png


    For the slow page loading, what are the results of


    Might try using these numbers from OpenDNS for DNS Servers and see if you get better speed. Put them in above any other numbers there and they will be used first.




    Then go to to check to see if it's working.

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)

    OK, this probably doesn't help you, but for what it's worth here's what I just encountered: couldn't get on the Internet and everything looked positively fine going to the router. Four bars with a transmit rate of 130. So I had no reason to suspect my connection to the router. But my wife's iPad was connected to the net. Turned Aiport off and back on again and everything returned to normal. This is a first. Very puzzled. It was the connection to the router from Airport, at the Mac/Airport end. The router to the Internet or the connection from the ISP wasn't the problem.


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