Airport vs. PC's Built in Wireless Cards

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by thestubbornrock, May 28, 2006.

  1. thestubbornrock macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    #1
    I've noticed that all of my PC friends receive strong Wi-Fi Signals, but my airport signal is weak or non existant. Why?

    I use a 12" PowerBook G4. I've tried turning on "Interference Robustness", but that didn't do anything. Is there anyway that I can boost my signal?

    My PC friends will be able to log on to a network, but I won't be able to due to a low signal strength.

    I've also noticed that sometimes, I can log on to a network with a very strong signal, and then the signal will fade away a few seconds after connection. What's that? It seems to me that the PowerBook amplifies the wi-fi antenna signal to connect to a network and then reverts to "normal operating signal strength" after connection. If I could just keep it at the amplified signal strength, it would be all good.
     
  2. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    round the corner
    #2
    I'm in the same boat and I have this problem with my PowerBook as well. I've discovered that while the Aluminum may look nice it is actually interfering with the built in Wifi and causing the lower signal

    I've got access to an iBook as well and it's signal strenght is better

    I think the that the aerial on the MacBook Pro has been moved but I'm not sure if this problem has been fixed due to that adjustment
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    I think it has to do with two things:

    1) Antenna design -- the WiFi cards different companies use probably don't differ that much, but the antennas, which are inside the computer (typically in the lid behind or around the screen), in terms of how many there are and where they are placed, plus the RF characteristics of the enclosure, play a big role in reception quality. A lot of people speculate that the metal enclosure of the PB makes things somewhat worse... for instance, the iBook 12" seems to get somewhat better reception for most people than the PB 12", even though the designs are otherwise almost identical.

    2) AFAIK, the other thing is that there's no standard for what the "bars" mean -- it's not safe to assume the 3 lines out of 4 on the Airport icon is the same as three bars on another operating system.... so when you both get reception, it may be that you have worse reception or it may be that the measuring is different.... Of course if you measure a real metric like MBps or SNR something like that....
     
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #4
    My Sharp MM20 connects much easier to networks than my PB15.

    However, it will recognize many that it cannot connect to if you try. Where as the PB tends to be able to connect on ones that it recognizes.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    This is something that always frustrates me... both my iBook and my Axim tend to "see" networks they cannot connect to because of signal weakness...so frustrating. Tempters, all of them! :mad: :p
     
  6. Temujin macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    #6
    Don't know if it has been moved, but I get a much stronger signal than on my old PB.
     
  7. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #7
    Yes, the antenna has been moved down near the display hinge rather than in the sides of the display bezel. It's lower in altitude, but apparently has a larger surface area than the old antenna.
     
  8. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    round the corner
    #8
    Thats good to hear, glad something has been done
     
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
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    #9
    So true!

    One point that I also find interesting, it that it seems to be easier to get my PB15 connected to a WiFi network in the first place vice my MM20. Yet the MM20 reconnects much faster/easier.

    Good to hear!
     
  10. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #10
    Side by side, my brother's Power Mac G4 got 3 bars and was almost 40% faster (according to CNET's bandwidth test) than my gaming PC getting one bar with the same Linksys card installed in both machines. My iBook not only picks up more signals than my fiancé's Toshiba laptop, but signal strength is nearly always stronger. I'm not sure if it is OS X delivering the advantage or the fact that both Macs tested have plastic cases, but the advantage has been clearly with the Mac in both cases.
     
  11. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #11
    My iBook's Airport it great, get awesome signals all over in my house. I even get 2 bars(sometimes 3) when I am at my pool. As for my PC, well its a desktop and we never move it.
     
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #12
    Also sucks that the Apple drivers don't support all the radios in the Broadcom chip.

     

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