I am saddened by all this, I have been a dedicated mac user since I discovered mac in 1992. My background is in production engineering, I understand about manufacturing and I suspect there is an engineer somewhere who knows exactly what the problem is but isn't saying anything.
The symptoms suggest to me that the problem is in the hardware. We hear that some people are having problems and others are not, there also appears to be differing degrees of seriousness of the problem. This suggests the problem is in quality variations in hardware manufacture rather than in the software. If it were software the problems would be far more uniform across users. Apple needs very large volume and will be sourcing components from many different places, I suggest that one supplier is supplying dodgy wifi units and it highly likely someone, somewhere is aware of this.
Being a hardware issue would also explain why the "fix" is a softare fudge.
This is deeply disappointing, I have a 2011 11" Macbook Air, it is a great machine. I bought the small one and am so impressed I want to upgrade to a new faster machine with the longer battery life and I planned to get the largest ram and memory available. If the problem was a software issue I would go ahead but, as I say, I am pretty sure it is in the hardware and so will saty with the machine so I am not going to buy one. For my work I travel to remote areas and I have to have a good wifi connection that will work with all sorts of routers.
I am deeply saddened to see how quickly after Steve Job's death Apple seems to be losing its way in so many different ways. With the capital that Apple has behind it there is no excuse for not fully testing the product before it is supplied to the customer. Saving a bit of money on comprehensive testing is strategically foolish and a sure fire way of very quickly squandering a reputation that took decades of hard work and dedication to build.
Just signing in again to post an update.
I noticed that with my WiMax gateway (ZTE ix380), the wireless connection never drops. Although the internet is disabled on that device but I don't think that matters, does it? I have tested it for different sessions of almost 45 mins each, it never hiccuped. Tested it by constantly pinging my other laptops connected to that device every other minute.
I also tried copying all WiFi parameters I could from that gateway to my original DSL wifi router, but it keeps on dropping on that.
What I think is that its a compatibility issue, either software or hardware can't say. I'll test out other routers in coming days and keep posting.
I am giving up the fight...
I was contacted by apple engineers and they told me some specific router config I needed for the mba to work correctly. That's fine... for home use. Everywhere else is horrible with the constant drops. The update just re-connects, which is fine unless you are power surfing or watching youtube. Windows 8 drivers are even worse still, constant drops every 15-20 seconds. I have to restart wifi to get it to connect for another 15-20 seconds.
I am sad to say I am returning the mba... I only have 3 more days to do so, and I cannot live with such a flaw. I really do enjoy almost every aspect of the mba; I just wished it worked :C
Just a bit of an update. Decided to extend my trouble shooting a bit and went and picked up a Linksys AC900, Wireless AC router. Low and behond, connects just fine. Drove around town, trying connections to the public networks. Anything N or better, connection. G or less, no go. Still considering a return very seriously. There's a whole lot of Wifi world out there still using "g" and the documentatioin says the MBA is "g" compatible. It's pretty obvious that it's not however, patch or no patch.
Re: possibly being a hardware issue.
I'm not an engineer -- but if this really is a hardware QC issue, why does my 6th-gen AirPort Extreme connect on 802.11ac beautifully when it puts much higher demand on the "hardware" than an 802.11n or 802.11g connection?
I mean, if it's a hardware defect shouldn't it be the other way around -- the 802.11ac should have the most problems?
(And side note, it feels like we're dealing with one big collective spinning beachball on this issue as we wait...)
From wireless diagnostic it seems the problems are the follow:
07/27/13 10:36:38.7550 No LAN Connectivity 07/27/13 10:36:38.7550 LAN: WiFi interface can ping IPv4 router 192.168.1.1 . . . fail 07/27/13 10:36:38.7560 UNEXPECTED DROP DETECTED!!!
07/27/13 12:45:06.3320 No WAN Connectivity 07/27/13 12:45:06.3320 WAN: WiFi interface can ping DNS server 126.96.36.199 . . . fail 07/27/13 12:45:06.3330 UNEXPECTED DROP DETECTED!!!
I sent the logs to apple engineering.
While the first is an instant short drop, the seconds take more than 30 seconds to get network again.
This is a note of support for those calling on Apple to fix this wi-fi problem as well a message to Apple, Inc. I’ve been an MS-DOS person back to the 1980s. In replacing a laptop, the most important thing for me after reliability is light weight. Upon looking to replace my almost ten year old IBM Thinkpad X40 (a great pioneering 2.9 pound ultralight) the 2013 2.3 pound 11” MBA looked so good that I was prepared to jump ship from the DOS to the Apple world – until I became aware of this still unresolved problem. If it is resolved to the general satisfaction of people in this thread, I’m in. But in the meantime, I’m still shopping. The 1.9 pound SONY Vaio Pro 11” with a touch screen seems to have the MBA beat innovation wise except for a deal-breaking noisy fan. The longer the MBA’s wi-fi issue remains unresolved, I’m sure an attractive alternative will appear. So I urge Apple to come up with a credible fix. For the time being, I’d love to buy the 2013 MBA.
The config that worked for me (netgear wndr4300) was having wpa2/aes on channel 11 for the 2.4 ghz. I never used the 5ghz because it always showed as terrible connection for some reason, but it didn't drop on that as well. Literally everywhere else I have been I have seen constant drops before and post update.
Leaving now to return :C
Its not working as promised, its sadly malfunctioning in a major area.
Yet you love to buy it?
I can sell you a LOT of defective hardware, please send your money!
Thus Apple can continue to make a large profit selling defective units.
If everyone with a defective unit returned it, Apple would feel a market pressure to deliver what they promised, people acting like you shows Apple that a lot of people gladly pays a premium price for, really, nothing!
And they wont even complain!