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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Wi-fi problems - Please help ...

Wi-fi problems - Please help ...
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just_switched
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Sep 30, 2005, 11:21 PM
 
Hi,

I have been using 12" PB G4 for the past 6 months or so. Recently I upgraded my router to 802.11g - a Dlink 624. My PB started to lose connectivity very frequently. I changed the router to Linksys - WRT54GSV4. Even with this, the wifi is losing connection constantly. My SSID appears for a short time and then vanishes and appears back again. I dont think router is the culprit here. M y wife & I are very frustrated with this behavior. I will REALLY appreciate if someone could point me the right direction.

Thanks

Mahesh
     
ericssonboi
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Sep 30, 2005, 11:57 PM
 
What kind of secure connection are you using?
I'm also using the Dlink 624 and i'm not having any problems with it.

Have you tried running the PB just through the modem? (not wirless)... How does the connection hold up then?
Could it be your internet connection and not the router?
15" 2.33 MBP 2GB Ram, 120GB HD - Main Rig
     
JKT
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Oct 1, 2005, 07:31 AM
 
Available for today only before it becomes a subscriber option - try some of the suggestions in this MacFIxIt article (e.g. try changing the channel the router is using). Save yourself a copy for future reference.
     
benwhanlee
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Oct 1, 2005, 09:06 AM
 
You may want to download something like the Air Traffic Control widget. It'll show you if your computer is picking up other wireless signals on the same channel and will help you find a channel that's open or unused.
15" Al PB 1.67, 15" Ti PB 667, Power Mac 400
     
just_switched  (op)
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Oct 1, 2005, 11:03 AM
 
Y'day very interesting thing happened - I was browsing the net and suddenly my wireless bar would go completely blank. I noticed that the laptop was buried under my comforter. Everytime I lifted my laptop in the air I got the signal bar right away. Is it something that the obstructions are weakening the signals? It was late last night. So there was no microwave or phone or anything. Besides I live in a separate house and so external interferrences are minimized to a greater extent. Does this tell anything??? I am trying to find out if I need to do something in my laptop? Also where in any app I go and set the channel number? This morning after I downloaded the widget, I realized that my neighbors are also using the same channel. So I changed the channel to 4 but my wifi is still working w/o any change on my machine. I would expect same changes in some setting on my PB too. PB handles automatically???

I downloaded that widget. But the signal strength indicated in the widget is a lot different than the "Internet Connect" application. Widget says 56% and the app has all bars. Dont know which one to rely. Also I dont understand why a connection would drop-out.

I use a 40-bit encryption. I am not thinking of using a simple MAC ID filteration.

DI624 was an awful router. I used to lose my connection even on my desktop which is hard-wired to the router. The user presentation was lousy and I simply hated it. The new linksys is so far good.

TIA
     
Nai no Kami
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Oct 1, 2005, 11:51 AM
 
To monitor the quality of your signal strenght you could use the "Wireless Grapher" widget. It updates only when open, so it doesn't steal those precious CPU cycles when dashboard is off.

Y no entienden nada... ¡y cómo se divierten!...
     
benwhanlee
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Oct 1, 2005, 12:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by just_switched
Y'day very interesting thing happened - I was browsing the net and suddenly my wireless bar would go completely blank. I noticed that the laptop was buried under my comforter. Everytime I lifted my laptop in the air I got the signal bar right away. Is it something that the obstructions are weakening the signals? It was late last night. So there was no microwave or phone or anything. Besides I live in a separate house and so external interferrences are minimized to a greater extent. Does this tell anything??? I am trying to find out if I need to do something in my laptop? Also where in any app I go and set the channel number? This morning after I downloaded the widget, I realized that my neighbors are also using the same channel. So I changed the channel to 4 but my wifi is still working w/o any change on my machine. I would expect same changes in some setting on my PB too. PB handles automatically???

I downloaded that widget. But the signal strength indicated in the widget is a lot different than the "Internet Connect" application. Widget says 56% and the app has all bars. Dont know which one to rely. Also I dont understand why a connection would drop-out.

I use a 40-bit encryption. I am not thinking of using a simple MAC ID filteration.

DI624 was an awful router. I used to lose my connection even on my desktop which is hard-wired to the router. The user presentation was lousy and I simply hated it. The new linksys is so far good.

TIA
You don't need to change anything on the laptop. It automatically sets to the channel the network is broadcasting on.

Also, Internet Connect doesn't measure signal strength, it measures some combination of signal quality and strength. (This changed under Tiger, previously it showed you a measure of signal strength alone.) The widget will show you a straight measure of the signal strength.

Don't know why your signal would drop completely, but if your powerbook is sitting underneath a comforter, I'd be willing to bet it's having a hard time maintaining the signal through the comforter.
15" Al PB 1.67, 15" Ti PB 667, Power Mac 400
     
JKT
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Oct 1, 2005, 12:39 PM
 
You can also download iStumbler to get a really comprehensive look at your and other WiFI networks. It's freeware.
     
disgruntled goat
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Oct 1, 2005, 04:16 PM
 
I'm using a D-Link 624 with my 15" PB and also have have recently began to notice frequent loss of signal. However, it seems my cable modem may be the culprit as when i unplug it and then plug it back in, everything goes back to normal. It is quite strange how it started all the sudden and quite annoying.
     
imacgeek
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Oct 5, 2005, 11:29 PM
 
i had the same problem and i tryed every thing and found it was best toreset the router everymonth because the wireless gets cloged up and needs to be wiped
     
brettcamp
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Oct 6, 2005, 01:59 AM
 
I'll try both of those suggestions, as I just started having the same problem. however, I blush to admit that I've not password protected my router; could the frequent brief loss of signals mean that someone in my neighborhood has started poaching on my unguarded signal?
     
just_switched  (op)
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Oct 15, 2005, 09:14 AM
 
After I changed 4 routers, I concluded that the problem is with my PB. I have a DELL notebook from work and it shows "Excellent" signal strength. Apple's wi-fi technology sucks! It is frustrating.
     
bighead
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Oct 15, 2005, 12:23 PM
 
You might also pop the battery out and open the AirPort Extreme card door to make sure that the card is fully inserted and that the antenna is fully connected. Loose antennas can cause signal drops and loose cards can cause kernel panics (which you haven't mentioned, but it's good to look for anyways.)
the bighead

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just_switched  (op)
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Oct 15, 2005, 12:51 PM
 
I opened up the battery component and opened a small door inside where I saw a small wire connected to a slot. It was already connected tightly but I still pulled it out and re-inserted to be tight. I dont know what was that for. Is that the wifi antenna? Or is there a "card" kind of hardware for wifi?

I observed one more behavior. I changed the type to "B only" on my router and then noticed that I have full bar in PB. However iostumbler and Macstumbler shows the signal strength only at high 40s or around 50s. That's it. I took my machine to my neighbors place, who is running a 802.11g and there I could get all bars even in the 2nd floor. He is running a NetGear router - a G one. I am running a Linksys (WRT54GC) - a G one too.

I called the tech support and they suggested me to take this to apple store for trouble shooting. I am plannning to do so today and see what they have to say.

Will keep you all posted.

Thanks
     
PConvert
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Oct 15, 2005, 05:18 PM
 
Experiencing the same problems, iStumbler didn't help.


Please keep us updated...more people have this problem than you think. hehe
-Philadelphia, PA-
     
just_switched  (op)
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Oct 16, 2005, 08:35 PM
 
Ok - more updates. Took my PB to the apple store. He couldnt find anything either. He said that all PBs are known for weak wifi reception due to aluminum chasis. Also he said that my wifi card is working as it is not dropping the connection. So he recommended using Airport Base station to see if the reception improves. I know he was pushing the product. At that point, I was so frustrated and was willing to try anything to narrow down the problem. He also said that if my PB continues to get 2-3 bars in spite of ABS, then he said that he would send the PB for service to change the screen to get a new wifi card. Surprisingly the ABS' performance is superior - even in my 2nd floor bedroom I get all signals. It just rocks. I am going to try - as a last resort - NetGear router to see if that helps. If that works good (very unlikely), then I am going to return my ABS. The other major problem I have with ABS is the ABS does not support VPN. My work uses Nortel's contivity VPN software and with that I am having problem connecting.

In a nutshell, Apple Base Station solves my problem - at what cost??? $179 - that is a LOT!!! Luckily I was able to get a refreshed one for $129.

HTH
     
mduell
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Oct 16, 2005, 08:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by just_switched
Ok - more updates. Took my PB to the apple store. He couldnt find anything either. He said that all PBs are known for weak wifi reception due to aluminum chasis. Also he said that my wifi card is working as it is not dropping the connection. So he recommended using Airport Base station to see if the reception improves. I know he was pushing the product. At that point, I was so frustrated and was willing to try anything to narrow down the problem. He also said that if my PB continues to get 2-3 bars in spite of ABS, then he said that he would send the PB for service to change the screen to get a new wifi card. Surprisingly the ABS' performance is superior - even in my 2nd floor bedroom I get all signals. It just rocks. I am going to try - as a last resort - NetGear router to see if that helps. If that works good (very unlikely), then I am going to return my ABS. The other major problem I have with ABS is the ABS does not support VPN. My work uses Nortel's contivity VPN software and with that I am having problem connecting.

In a nutshell, Apple Base Station solves my problem - at what cost??? $179 - that is a LOT!!! Luckily I was able to get a refreshed one for $129.
Is the stock antenna connected to your D-link? It may have come unscrewed.
Instead of blowing $130 on AEBS, you could buy a bigger/better antenna for your D-link for about $40.
     
bighead
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Oct 17, 2005, 10:32 AM
 
I've seen a lot of DLink and SMC base stations have terrible connection quality with OS X and AirPort Extreme cards. Most of the time, applying the newest firmware to the base station fixes the problem, but at Cal State Fullerton where I go to school, some of their WAPs are just buggy as hell. It may be problems with the firmware of your WAP, and there's not much you can do because the manufacturers "don't support the MAC" (sic).
the bighead

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