Crappity Crappy WiFi

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ColoJohnBoy, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #1
    I just moved in to a new apartment building that provides free WiFi. I wasn't terribly impressed with the speed or reception or, well, any of it. Seeing as how it's free, though, I didn't complain. A couple nights ago a friend of mine came over with his Dell Inspiron 8600 and connected to the network: it smoked. I had him check the speed on the CNet Bandwidth Meter - he clocked 6.5 Mbps; the best I got was 227.4 kbps.

    The network is administered by a local company called ETS. I contacted them about adjusting settings and what not to fix it. The rep from the compnay just said that "MACs" (His writing, not mine) have wireless connectivity issues and the best I can do is to buy a supplementary antenna, and talk to Apple directly.

    Seems like bad customer service to me, but seeing as they seem to know jack-shizzle about Macs, I doubt I'd get far with them. Using the PowerBook in my profile. Anyone have any ideas on how to improve my connection? Or would it be possible to use an AirPort Express to improve the signal? ANY suggestions are appreciated.
     
  2. nrd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #2
    Try turning off IPv6 in the airport network section of system preferences.
     
  3. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #3
    Turned off IPv6 and restarted. Now I get about 249 kbps down and 561 up. The up is a definite improvement, but, yeah. 249 ain't much better than 228. What's IPv6 supposed to do?
     
  4. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #4
    Try that "Use Interference Robustness" and see what happens. :D It's in your airport menu.
     
  5. slyydrr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #5
    It's been awhile since I took Networking in college, but I do remember the basics. IPv6 is essentially the new IP system that allows for more users on the internet. At the current rate of growth, they've essentially set a date at which they think they'll have exhausted all available IPs (I think IPv3 is only 24 bits). Anyway, that date isn't too far off (within 10 yrs) so they're planning to implement IPv6, which will allow many more IP addresses.
     
  6. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #6
    Always have interference robustness on, so I don't think that's it...
     
  7. lanray macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    #7
    Just chiming in...
    I had to get a PC for work - got a Gateway lappy (the "convertible" kind - sort of fun, really). My PB can't pick up the airport express across my apartment. The "new" (used) Gateway picks up 4! networks, and gets the airport easily all over the apartment. Anyways...
     
  8. briangig macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    #8
    have you used wireless previously on your powerbook? maybe the antenna is disconnected. I dont know what that rep was smoking, but macs portables have something alot of pc laptops dont, antennas. I would go to a library, or starbucks and try out your wireless there. If the suggestions earlier in the thread didnt work.
     
  9. elisha cuthbert macrumors 6502a

    elisha cuthbert

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #9
    My best thought

    Make sure you copmuter is updated with all the necesary updates and also check the apple site for the broadband speed thing and everything should work i hope for your sake
     
  10. progx macrumors regular

    progx

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Western NY
    #10
    how would you connect your attenna for the Powerbook?
     
  11. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #11
    I actually work at a Starbucks and haven't had any problems there. It works on the T-Mobile network there and also on the network for the Marriott that is above us in the building. The more I read the more it seems my best option would be to buy an AirPort Express and use it as a range extender. Anybody have experience with using it with a third-party wireless network?
     
  12. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #12
    Just checked updates, downloaded and installed the Broadband updater - connection actually runs SLOWER now, about half what it was!
     
  13. briangig macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    #13
    I see...well, something still doesnt sound right. If it does work at the those other locations, maybe you were just close to the WAP. Maybe bring your powerbook to the genius bar, and tell them to check the antenna connection. Would suck if you spent the cash on a wireless device if you didnt need to.

    the antennas are around the display, its all internal. I've never messed with the aiport extreme version, so i have no idea how to get to it.
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    The broadband updater is for people with high-latency, high-speed connections: satellite. Try to remove it if you can, as it'll only slow you down.

    From there, check your signal strength with http://www.macstumbler.com/

    If it's strong enough (over 30ish) try turning OFF interference robustness. Interference robustness can slow down your transfer rates in favor of stronger reception.

    In my 12" PB the airport card can be removed...it's in the battery bay area. See if it's the same with yours, and check that the antenna is seated well in it's socket in the card.

    If none of that works, open up MacStumbler and walk around your apartment until you find the place with the highest signal strength, then test your connection speed.
     
  15. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #15
    Any ideas on how to remove the Broadband updater? Would be nice if they'd use lay terms like 'Satellite' instead of letting poor saps like me guess at it (I know latency means usually, but not when it comes to freaking broadband!)

    As soon as I can remove that I'll try your suggestion. Just now, though, I went and sat outside the leasing office, where the WiFi provider said the main antenna is located - doing that I get speed every bit as good as on my friend's Dell - 6.5 Mbps down, 768 kbps up.

    I'm peeved by the situation mainly because free wireless broadband was a big selling point for me on this apartment - it ends up saving me $50-$75 per month. I had no idea it would be this big of a pain.

    UPDATE: Fantastic. I just found a BroadbandTunerUninstaller.pkg, but get a message when I try to run it saying "Broadband Tuner Uninstaller cannot be installed on this computer. The network settings have not been updated." I have no idea if that's good or bad.
     
  16. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #16
    Running MacStumbler now, I'm actually picking up two of the wireless networks, one on Channel 3, the other on Channel 7... okay, and another just popped up on Channel 10. The signal strength varies among them, none ever having a consistently strgoner signal, 35 being the highest any will go, and 19 the lowest (so far). I turned off Interference Robustness, but can't detect any noticable improvement.

    Something odd I did notice when I was sitting outside the leasing office, my PowerBook automatically connected to the network (Something I want it to do) and scrolled the name of the network in the menu bar next to the AirPort icon. It hasn't once done either of these things when I'm actually in my apartment. Have no idea if that's significant or not.
     
  17. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #17
    my powerbook used to do this scrolling thing too, but doesn't any more...anyone?
     
  18. nrd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #18
    IPv6 is the new IP routing protocol. If your router doesn't support it, your Mac will still attempt to configure it. Stick with IPv4.

    System Preferences > AirPort > Options button, you can specify connection settings and preferred network.
     
  19. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #19
    You uninstall the Broadband Tuner by running the installer again and when you get the Option button, choosing to uninstall it.

    Try running Broadband Optimizer and see how that goes
     
  20. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #20
    Wowser. Just ran Broadband Optimizer. I wouldn't say it fixed it, but it certainly improved things. Everything runs noticeably faster. The tests I ran both showed improvement (though the results were very different): the Speakeasy.net test showed 2696 down, 669 up, while the cnet test showed 1426 down. Not the 6.5 Mbps I should be getting, but much better than the ~230 kbps I was getting. Thanks loads!

    I still think I'm going to pick up an AirPort Express at some point in the future, but it certainly isn't as urgent as it was. Speaking of which, any ideas on that? Will the APE give me the 6.5 Mbps or will it just strengthen the weak signal? Do I need to buy some sort of antenna for my PB to get the top speed?
     
  21. slyydrr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #21
    I would imagine that APE would, if it strengthens the signal, increase your bandwidth as well. The weaker your signal is (typically farther away from source), the less bandwidth you have. By increasing the signal you should increase your bandwidth.
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #22
    Note: The APE will not work as a range extender unless the main WAP is also from Apple or supports a compatible vesion of WDS (highly unlikely). Does your building also supply wired Ethernet, or just WiFi? If so, just use your APE as a secondary WAP. Otherwise, save your money.

    Are you sure your firend with the Dell was connecting to the same network as you are? Did you check speeds at the same time. Remember that in a shared connection, you will rarely get full bandwidth.

    BTW. I finally (had to) set up my Linksys WRT54g last weekend, since the new Intel iMac absolutely will not connect to the Verizon supplied Westell 327W router I use with my DSL. Signal strength is much improved, and since I finally got rid of the last vestiges of 802.11b (an old PC with a crappy D-Link USB dongle), speeds went up all around.

    B
     
  23. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    #23
    Same here, with my cable I can get 300KB/s sustained, but with Wifi, my max has been 70KB/s.....AirPort Express, no matter how far away :confused:
     
  24. ColoJohnBoy thread starter macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #24
    We were definitely connected to the same network. We connected separately and at the same time, his speed always consistent and always higher than mine. The only way I get speeds near as fast as his is by sitting outside the building's leasing office, where the base station is.

    I would get an antenna for my PowerBook, like QuickerTek's Whip Pro antenna, but I'd much rather have something like the APE that brings the signal to my whole apartment, that I don't have to plug directly into my PowerBook. Does anyone know of anything like this?
     
  25. Benjin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #25
    why are they even shipping computers with ipv6 enabled?
     

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