I got a brand new MBA last friday and I have the same WiFi problems everybody here's talking about. Serious problems connecting to shared drives, screen sharing to Mac Mini breaks all the time, Time machine can't find the backup disc and so on. The disruptions while browsing the web are just minor annoyances compared to my other problems. This is simply unacceptable.
What a huge disappointment. I don't know whether to wait for Mavericks, get an AN router or send the machine back. Returning it would certainly be the right thing to do, but we'll see.
I visited my local Apple Store today. They ran the Apple hardware diagnostic on my MBA and of course the wireless component passed the test. We then proceeded to run side by side tests with a 2012 Macbook Air 11". The 2012 model has the earlier wireless-N Broadcom chip and works perfectly with stable 6ms pings to google.com. Mine was jumping all over the place with 6ms, then every couple of seconds would jump to 120-200ms.
Two "geniuses" were looking at this as they had received numerous complaints about the MBA 2013 wireless performance. They were quite open about the issue and also stated they were well aware of the problem. They then proceeded to show me 5 of the new MBA's on display and all had the same issue when a ping test was performed.
They offered to replace my MBA with a brand new unit out of stock but given this seems to be a fundamental design fault I did not see a point in playing poker in the hope of getting a unit that performed correctly. I suspect their entire batch will have the same issue. They have recorded all complaints on the Apple support system and stated that Apple engineers are continuing to look at the issue.
Not sure what else they could offer and I didn't want to return my MBA for a refund. I will just put up with it and hope for an eventual fix from Apple.
I went to my local Apple dealer and asked about my options. The guy suggested I file an official bug report / report a problem with my purchase and call support for details on how to go about with this.
I haven't read the entire thread (I shudder at the thought), so it might have been mentioned that this problem seems to be related to the Haswell architecture, and the same problem apparently exist on newer PC:s as well. "Over there" things have often been solved with different drivers, which could indicate that an update or Mavericks actually could solve this. But connectivity issues (as in connection/no connection) aside, the current architecture also seems to have a much weaker overall WiFi signal than older machines relating to both BlueTooth and WiFi being on the same chip. Or something.
Mentally prepared to return it, though.
After all this reading I am pretty sure that the problem itself is not in poor Apple implementation but it's more a haswell hardware related thing. there were people complaining on the Sony forum as well.
Apple has the bad luck of having been the first (or one of the first) to get it to the market and everyone is now complaining about it.
That said, I will still wait to buy a laptop (it could be rMBP at this point, if it doesn't show this issue) and I would suggest people with faulty units to return them.
After trying three MacBooks, returned two, all three experienced the latency problem. But I have not experienced any connectivity issues. I have decided to hang on to the latest MacBook and wait for a fix. I have faith that a problem that is widespread and can easily be duplicated can be resolved. Call me the eternal optimist.
I suggest reading this excellent post by headcase, which sums up much of this mile-long thread:
In short: Far from all MBA users have trouble with wi-fi drops and disconnects. But close to all have latency issues/variable ping results with the newer wi-fi drivers included in the 1.0 update and the 10.8.5 maintenance release. Thus I bet you can return as many Macs as you like, you will still have latency issues with anything other than the original .22 driver.
I myself have a seemingly perfect MBA, but only the .22 driver gives me no latency issues
(I have rolled back the wi-fi driver both after 1.0 update and 10.8.5 update.)
I am reposting my older thread with some edits to reflect the latest information I have.
Ok, so as I said I would do some weeks ago, now that 10.8.5 is released into the wild, I installed a clean build of 10.8.5 onto a spare drive for my 2013 MBA.
1) I checked the wireless driver version that is provided in this OS X 10.8.5 maintenance release, and its now version 184.108.40.206.1
2) I pinged the various routers in my home (all current generation AC and N class), and the ping times with this latest wireless driver unfortunately averaged above 80ms, with many ping times above 250ms. So this driver clearly contains the latency bug that was in the 220.127.116.11.35 driver that came in the 2013 MBA 1.0 Software Update.
3) While running 10.8.5, I rolled just the wireless driver back to the original 18.104.22.168.22 driver that came with the MBA, and the ping times to my router were back under 3ms, as they should be.
So... some things to note and where we are at:
a) 22.214.171.124.22 is the original wireless driver that came with the 2013 MBA, and does not contain any latency bug. However, some 2013 MBA owners complained of frequent WiFi disconnects with this original driver, which is why Apple released an updated driver.
b) 126.96.36.199.35 is the wireless driver that came with the 2013 MBA 1.0 Software Update for OS X 10.8.4 to remedy the WiFi disconnect issue that some MBA owners were having, but it contains a persistent latency bug that impacts most if not all 2013 MBAs,which is detrimental to apps like VoIP (e.g. Skype) and even has a noticeable impact on non-critical activities like loading of web pages
c) 188.8.131.52.1 is the wireless driver that came with the OS X 10.8.5 maintenance release to specifically remedy the known AFP networking issue, which is not related to this support thread. Unfortunately, this latest wireless driver from Apple and Broadcom still contains the persistent latency bug that came out with 184.108.40.206.35.
What I am suggesting for current 2013 MBA owners:
- If you are happy with your Mac in how it performs, then chances are you're not even visiting this support forum... so go surf the Net and enjoy.
- Per my previous posts on this support thread, if you are not happy with the latency issues on your MBA, you can either roll back to the original 220.127.116.11.22 driver, return your Mac, sell it, or wait until Apple releases another update to the wireless driver. As I know many folks are tired of waiting for a fix, and although I believe Apple and Broadcom are well aware of the latency bug, I will nonetheless try to contact a few of the Apple network engineers through my connections at work, and try to ensure that this issue is being addressed.
- If you are one of those poor souls who experienced dropped connectivity issues with the original 18.104.22.168.22 driver when using your home router, I would recommend taking your machine to your local Genius Bar and have them run tests to see if the Broadcom radio chip is flagged as defective. I would also still recommend what has helped others in this support thread... namely, don't upgrade the driver, and rather consider upgrading to one of the current generation routers on the market today (e.g. the top rated ASUS RT-AC66U or others I've tested below, which all work perfectly fine with the .22 driver). Some food for thought: as you probably wouldn't want to plug your brand new Mac into a crusty 10 year old Ethernet jack on a wall, I'd also consider upgrading that wireless connection on the other end if its aged beyond 5 years.
Furthermore, by upgrading your home router to the latest technology, you will not only enjoy the full potential of AC wireless thoughput on your brand new MBA, but it will also give you important benefits which include:
- a beefier CPU on the router for improved LAN <--> WAN routing performance
- 5GHz band for less RF interference from other APs and other equipment operating on the 2.4GHz band
- future-proofing with IPv6 addressing for when your ISP starts using IPv6 instead of tapped-out IPv4
- a strengthened SPI firewall to protect your network from intrusions by hackers
And if you're looking for something current that has all these latest features, but you're not tech-wise and want something "plug & play", the current generation Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are great for the average user too. Btw, other great advice on home networks can be found at SmallNetBuilder.com
A how to:
So for those wishing to roll back to the original wireless driver after you've upgraded your MBA to 10.8.5: yes, there is a very simple 5 minute process that most can do, and yes this method is something that many others have done on previous MacBooks over the years (you can look back on the web and you'll see this method posted in many places and not just on this MBA thread, as the wireless networking industry which I am part of unfortunately still has a ways to evolve). But with that said, I will still caveat that this isnot something Apple supports, and I myself have only briefly tested my 2013 MBA with:
a) back up your Mac. Anytime you start messing with hardware drivers on a PC or Mac, you want to maintain the ability to go back if you experience any issues
b) after you've updated to 10.8.5, download the original 22.214.171.124.22 driver I posted earlier here:
c) copy that downloaded IO80211Family.kext file (unzipped) into /System/Library/Extensions of your Mac, and authenticate with your normal Mac password to replace the file that was there
c) launch the Terminal app in your Utilities folder, and paste these commands into Terminal, hitting the Return key after each:
sudo chmod -R 755 /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext
sudo chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext
sudo touch /System/Library/Extensions/
d) wait for your Mac to finish the process and reboot (will take a minute), and then you can test for the latency bug by pinging your router in your home 15 to 20 times. See previous posts from me on this support thread or google around on how to do that if you don't know how. If you're seeing average ping times of less than 15ms, you're good to go.
For the record, here's a list of recent generation routers I've tested against with zero dropped connections, zero dropped packets, and less than 3ms RTT in ping times (no latency issues) on the original .22 wireless driver that came when the MBA first shipped:
(all running latest OEM firmware - no 3rd party firmwares)
- ASUS RT-AC66U
- Linksys EA6500
- D-Link DIR-868L
- Linksys E4200 v1
- Linksys E4200 v2
- Apple Airport Extreme 5th Gen
- Apple Airport Extreme 6th Gen
- Netgear WNDR3700
- ASUS WL-330N travel router (awesome little device to stick in your travel bag and ideal for the MBA when you need USB Ethernet and wireless, btw)
- Seagate Wireless Plus (great little device with 1TB of strorage you can turn into a full-blown NAS, btw)
When traveling, I've also had no discernable issues when connected to public WiFi hotspots up to this point.
Conversely (and as I have reported to Apple engineering), I've tested positively for poor latency with all of these devices when using the subsequent drivers. I am still engaged with Apple engineering, and will try to help get this resolved.
Somebody said that the problem might be related to Haswell new architecture and gave the example of other new laptops like Sony Vaio Pro (and I would add Vaio Duo and Fit to the list). I follow that thread also ( http://community.sony.com/t5/VAIO-Hardware-Networking/New-Sony-Vaio-Pro-Wifi-Iss ue/td-p/143557 ) and in that case it seems to be another problem: very poor connection under -70 dbm. Some say that is the placement of the antenna, some say that is the carbon fiber that blocks the signal and some say it's the faulty wifi card. They had disconnecting problems at first that were mostly fixed by driver updates.
So they have problems but it doesn't seem to be the same ping problems we have.