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Do Airs have poorer wifi reception?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by deepakvrao, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    I just switched from Win, and I find that I have poor wifi connectivity in my favourite armchair, where I was fine with a plastic bodied Dell. Does the Aluminium shell have anything to do with wifi reception in MBAs?

    Any App to see wifi strength?
  2. GGJstudios, Dec 11, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011

    macrumors demi-god


    The antenna in Apple notebooks is in the plastic-covered hinge and on the Air, protrudes in to the area under the display. It's not covered by aluminum. WiFi signal strength is dependent on several factors, and is subject to interference from a wide variety of sources.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Don't have any WIFI issue with my PC notebook. Don't have any WIFI issue with my Macbook Air.
  4. macrumors regular

    Dunno whether I'd call it an issue, but the Air is fine in my bedroom, which is about 20 feet from the router, but not in my living room which is about 50 feet from the router.

    Have to keep in mind that the house is not like US homes, but built with bricks and concrete, and I have 2 9inch walls between router and living room. Dell works fine in the same spot, and that's why I was wondering if MBAs have a slightly poorer reception. If I move even to the adjacent sofa in the living room, it works fine on the Air too.
  5. macrumors G5


    No Issues

    With my 13" holds a good strong signal anywhere in the house. Same for my MBP, iPad and iPhone 4S.

    A lot of these wifi issuers are router related.....I have posted this many times before, but it's worth noting: The router / modem combos supplied by IPS's are almost all bottom of the range and poor.

    Purchasing a top quality router, and using only the modem in the ISP supplied uint is the way to go.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    I don't have a problem with the routers I use either, so I am fine. But the wifi in my 2011 Air isn't as great as my 2008 black Macbook, which could see about 5 more networks in my neighbourhood and let me connect to the next building's wifi at work.
  7. macrumors 68030


    I've had many new Mac & PC laptops concurrently. Typically I experience the best WiFi performance from my ThinkPads. They have a very elaborate & brilliantly designed system which includes lengthy dual antennas, inside the composite lid that enhance the range & ability to obtain the highest speed being broadcast.

    My MacBook Pros don't have as much range since they cannot locate the antenna in the aluminum lid, so they are a bit more susceptible to dropping the connection. It's not a big issue, but it's definitely noticeable. My new MacBook Airs are the same as the MBP. No better or worse. They get the job done.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    No wifi issues with my Air here.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Hey Jude

    I have a couple MBAs: 13" from 2010 and the current 11" and even though I still have to re-join my network upon awakening the computers from sleep, I have not had any issues maintaining a connection once it is established, on either MBA.
  10. macrumors regular

    Thanks guys.

    I don't have any disconnection, but just scratchy network when on that armchair. I guess I'll just shift it about 5 feet closer to the router.
  11. macrumors 604


    To see your current wi-fi signal you need to alt click on the wifi icon in the top right corner. The figure that is important is RSSI. The closer to 0, the stronger the wifi signal. The only problem with this is that the figure does not update as you move around looking for the best signal - you need to move then alt click again to see the figure.


    So I've written a script for you to do this.

    Open terminal then type in this

    while i=1; do /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I | grep CtlRSSI; sleep 0.5; done
    Then hit enter. You'll see output like in the screenshot below and it will change as you move around. Again, closer to 0 = strong signal. Once you're done hit Ctrl+C on the terminal to stop the script


    I would write a proper app to do this, but I am not clear right now if it would be pulled once the sandboxing becomes enforced in the Mac App Store next year.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    I'm certainly no expert on Terminal commands, so I'm quite likely wrong, but shouldn't that be Command-C?
  13. macrumors 604

    Command + C in terminal behaves normally, i.e. copies selected text to the clipboard.

    Ctrl (or ^) + C - quits current running program
    Ctrl + Z - kills current running program
  14. macrumors demi-god


    Thanks! I should have figured that out by remembering Cmd-C is copy. Not enough coffee yet! :cool:
  15. macrumors 604

    Happens to the best of us. No worries.
  16. macrumors regular

    Thanks - works just great.I see -62 in my bedroom, -82 at the armchair in question, and -72 when I shift o the adjacent armchair.

    What is sandboxing?
  17. macrumors demi-god


  18. macrumors newbie

    Does the new entry level macbook air have at least the same good wifi reception as the old white macbook.
    Has anyone compared them?
  19. macrumors 68020


    if you could get a duel band router you might have better luck on the 5 ghz band which macs support. generally its used less and has less interference. well in my experience anyway. my 5 ghz connection is always better then the 2.4
  20. macrumors regular

    i cant go into any technical stuff..

    but my air is blitzing fast on my wifi..

    sometimes i feel as though its even faster than my desktop..
    which is pretty weird :D
  21. macrumors 68020


    Actually, I've found that yes, the MBA has poorer WiFi connectively than other machines.

    My 13" connects at a lower speed than my Mac Pro, and when "out and about" at university I find that I can struggle to connect (or stay connected) when friends with 13/15" MacBooks Pros are fine.

    Now, when connected, the Air is fast - but it only has 2 antennae stacks, rather than 3 like the iMacs/MacBook Pros. It just doesn't like being on the peripheries of its operable range, which is also a little shorter than some other computers.
  22. macrumors regular

    This is EXACTLY what I meant. When connected it's very very fast, but it just does not connect as far as my plastic Dell or wife's plastic Acer does.
  23. macrumors member

    Macbook air Wi-Fi reception is not great

    If you plug your air into the power supply, you get twice the wi-fi reception (300Mbps compared to 150Mbps when unplugged).

    If you move the screen on your air, you'll find the reception gets interrupted (anecdotally, I've seen it reported here and I can cause file transfers to pause and stall out by adjusting the angle of my screen.)

    If you sit in one place, don't move the screen, rub your stomach and pat your head, and plug into the power adaptor you should be fine.
  24. macrumors demi-god


    That's completely false! Everyone knows you should pat your stomach and rub your head! :D
  25. macrumors newbie

    similar story. have a new MBA that compares unfavorably to my wife's cheap HP PC and my former more expensive HP PC. regardless of where in the house i go, it's in 3rd place. at times it doesn't hold the signal.:mad:

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