11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 3, 2011 2:35 PM by StephTizio
patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

I'm having a problem that I thought was a AirPort network problem and I'm beginning to wonder if it might be a problem with my MacBook's AirPort hardware or connection.  I'm going to post this in both the wireless > AP forum as well as the macbook one in case I'm misdiagnosing it.

 

It started when I was trying to extend my wireless network from an AP Extreme n with an AP Express g.  I found a lot of advice on the wireless forum and finally bit the bullet and bought an AP Express n to extend it.  After some problems getting those in sync it seemed to accomplish what I was trying to do.

 

But as I've been making these changes I noticed that my MacBook Core Duo seems to not pick up the signal like it used to.  If I'm right on top of the AP base station I get a full signal, but as I move 30+ feet away it diminishes until it drops out completely.  And this is in areas where I used to get a strong signal.  I've got my AP base station in the same location and I can use my iPad in areas where the MacBook doesn't find a signal.

 

Is there a way to test the AP receiving hardware in the MacBook?  It is about 6 years old, so it could just be giving out.  Here's what showing under the About This Mac - Airport menu.  I'm about 30 feet from the base station now.

 

Software Versions:

  Menu Extra:          6.2.2 (622.2)

  configd plug-in:          6.2.5 (625.6)

  System Profiler:          6.0.1 (601.1)

  Network Preference:          6.2.2 (622.2)

  AirPort Utility:          5.5.3 (553.20)

  IO80211 Family:          3.2 (320.1)

  Interfaces:

en1:

  Card Type:          AirPort Extreme  (0x168C, 0x86)

  Firmware Version:          Atheros 5424: 2.1.14.6

  Locale:          FCC

  Country Code:          US

  Supported PHY Modes:          802.11 a/b/g

  Supported Channels:          1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165

  Status:          Connected

  Current Network Information:

OurNet:

  PHY Mode:          802.11g

  BSSID:          f8:1e:df:ff:85:af

  Channel:          10

  Country Code:          US

  Network Type:          Infrastructure

  Security:          WPA2 Personal

  Signal / Noise:          -91 dBm / -96 dBm

  Transmit Rate:          2

 

Thanks for any advice/help to assist me in solving this issue.  It's been pretty frustrating


MacBook Intel, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Actually running 10.6.8
  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,515 points)

    patricksgolden wrote:

     

      Signal / Noise:          -91 dBm / -96 dBm

    That's a pathetically low signal value.  I'm not surprised you're having trouble connecting.  Please describe where the two base stations are located compared to your Mac.  You might try moving the base stations, or at least raising them.

     

    If you hold down an "option" key while you pull down the AirPort menu bar item you'll see a value of "BSSI" which is the signal strength.

  • bitoffeefback Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

    afraid i can just contribute with a similar problem:

    up to last week the wireless network worked fine. but ever since i tried to change the configuration i cannot seem to bring things back to work

     

    have a 2008 macbook pro, and a wireless network with a first gen. time machine and an airport express n.

    express is the base that creates the network and the time machine extends.

     

    i'm sitting 1m from my express and 2m from my time machine.

     

    i have the same problem that i'm starting to doubt wether my macbook internal airport is mallfunctioning. the airport utility sometimes finds the express, sometimes the time machine, sometimes i can see my network, sometimes not, logging in wpa 2 personal sometimes works, sometimes it responds with a time out, sometimes with a wrong password.

     

    i need to connect to ethernet to get on the internet. (but the wireless network works fine, because dsl is connected to the other base station)

     

    but whenever i try on my iphone, there's no problem

     

    problem is: seems i have the same issues on my old g4 ibook. until yesterday all fine, but now i get an error joining the airport network.

     

    any ideas??

    many thanks.

  • patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    William -

     

    I've moved them around, but the new AP Express is currently about 4 feet off the ground on a desktop.  That's the one that I'm getting the signal from according to the AP icon in the menu. The AP extreme is at about 7 feet on top of a china cabinet.  That is positioned about halfway between the base station and an upstairs room.

     

    Right now I'm showing an RSSI (I think that's what you meant - your post said BSSI) of -75 and a transmit rate of 24.  I'm sitting about 3 feet from the transmitting base station.

     

    In trying to diagnose whether I've got an Airport problem on my MacBook I also saw in another post the advice to delete and rebuild the following:

    in HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration

    - com.apple.airport.preferences.plist

    - com.apple.network.identification.plist

    - NetworkInterfaces.plist

    - preferences.plist

     

    I did that, restarted, rejoined the network and it hasn't seemed to make a significant difference.  I've yet to try the MacBook in different parts of the house further from the base station.

  • patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I meant to append the system profile information now as I did in my original post:

      Software Versions:

      Menu Extra:          6.2.2 (622.2)

      configd plug-in:          6.2.5 (625.6)

      System Profiler:          6.0.1 (601.1)

      Network Preference:          6.2.2 (622.2)

      AirPort Utility:          5.5.3 (553.20)

      IO80211 Family:          3.2 (320.1)

      Interfaces:

    en1:

      Card Type:          AirPort Extreme  (0x168C, 0x86)

      Firmware Version:          Atheros 5424: 2.1.14.6

      Locale:          FCC

      Country Code:          US

      Supported PHY Modes:          802.11 a/b/g

      Supported Channels:          1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165

      Status:          Connected

      Current Network Information:

    OurNet:

      PHY Mode:          802.11g

      BSSID:          e4:ce:8f:6b:50:2b

      Channel:          10

      Country Code:          US

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -73 dBm / -96 dBm

      Transmit Rate:          36

      Other Local Wireless Networks:

    OurNet:

      PHY Mode:          802.11n

      BSSID:          f8:1e:df:ff:85:af

      Channel:          10

      Country Code:          US

      Network Type:          Infrastructure

      Security:          WPA2 Personal

      Signal / Noise:          -94 dBm / -96 dBm

  • patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Here's an update that tells me it's not my MacBook Airport that's the problem.  I substituted my AP base station with a non-Apple wireless router I forgot I had (a Zyxel) and it seemed to clear up the problem.  I'm getting a signal where I didn't get one before.

     

    So I guess the problem is with the base station - AP Express - and the device I was using to extend the network - AP Extreme.  If anyone has suggestions about how to improve those I'd appreciate hearing them.

  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,515 points)

    patricksgolden wrote:

     

    Right now I'm showing an RSSI (I think that's what you meant - your post said BSSI) of -75 and a transmit rate of 24.  I'm sitting about 3 feet from the transmitting base station.

    You're right that I meant "RSSI".  There's also a value labeled "BSSID" that is the "AirPort ID" (MAC address) of the base station you're connected to, which you can use to verify your impression about which one you're using.

     

    A RSSI value of -75 is pretty weak.  Presuming a noise value in the mid-90s (which seems to be your situation), according to this post, it qualifies as a "low signal".

     

    Regarding what you've seen regarding the Zyxel router, is it using the same channel as your AirPort gear?

  • patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    The Zyxel is transmitting on channel 1 (2.4 Ghz) while the Airports both seemed to be transmitting on Channel 10.

  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,515 points)

    patricksgolden wrote:

     

    The Zyxel is transmitting on channel 1 (2.4 Ghz) while the Airports both seemed to be transmitting on Channel 10.

    What happens if you change the AirPort units to use channel 10?  By the way, because of the way channel frequencies are allocated in the 2.4 GHz band, the common recommendation is that the channel be one of 1, 6, or 11.  Those choices provide the greatest separation between Wi-Fi base stations.

  • patricksgolden Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Tried it on each of the channels listed with no change in ability to pick up the signal.  It only works within about 10 feet of my Airport Express - the new one.  If I move outside the room it can't connect.  It might see the network and ask me for my security password, but it doesn't connect.

  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,515 points)

    I'm afraid I'm out of suggestions.

  • StephTizio Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    This is a part of the larger MacBook Pro connectivity issue. There are several related threads dealing with the MBP's networking problems. If your unit is suffering from this type of difficulty, good luck ... (or a long ethernet cable)

     

    (PS Everybody please make noise on this one so apple comes up with a solution.)