Flakey Airport--Hardware or Mystery Interference?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Makosuke, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #1
    I bought a MBP 17" and an Airport Extreme Base Station to go with it a few months ago, and I've been having an intermittent problem with dropped connections. Symptoms are as follows:

    Sitting there doing whatever (it really doesn't matter whether there's a lot of network activity or none at all), when the airport connection drops out. The network usually disappears temporarily from the menu, and I can sometimes see other networks in the area, sometimes not. If I toggle Airport off and back on with the menu, it immediately kicks back in and works fine.

    Prior to 10.4.8 the meter in the menu would show full bars, but the connection would be dead. As of the most recent updates, the bars now go to zero accurately reflecting what's happening.

    This is very intermittent--sometimes it'll happen every five minutes, other times I can go over a day without a dropout.

    I had initially thought it might be something specific to the MBP, but I'm on a trip now and the wireless is absolutely rock-solid in hotels, etc. So now I'm left thinking it's either a flakey base station, some weird interaction between MBP and the ABS, or some external source of interference.

    It definitely isn't signal strength--I'm only about 20 feet from the base station, and always have full bars. There's nothing between me and the base station but a couple of thin interior walls (no microwaves or such), and turing on Interference Robsutness has no effect. The network is WPA2 Personal, but the security type doesn't seem to matter. My G5 tower hardwired to the base station never has any problems at all--chugs right along through these flake-outs.

    Anybody seen something similar to this? Maybe have a suggestion as to how to narrow it down at least, so I know whether to go for a warranty replacement?

    Certainly if I figure out anything I'll post here so it might be helpful to others.
     
  2. Reflow macrumors 68000

    Reflow

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    NJ/PHL
    #2
    In you Airport Base Station Change your setting on the channel from automatic to 3 or 2 and see if that helps. To me is seems that your are getting interference from your development
     
  3. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #3
    Yeah I'd try running it at Channel 1 (or 2), then at 6, then at 11 - if the problem is interference from someone else's network that should work.
     
  4. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    Given that there are two other wireless networks in the area, interference was one of the things I'd thought of. I've tried several different channels, none of which seem to make any difference (whether they're occupied by one of the other networks or not).

    And I did specifically check--the other two networks in range (barely--they're so weak they appear and dissappear periodically) are running on 6 and 11, and I've tried both the same and totally different channels with no obvious difference.

    Admittedly I haven't tried every single one, and maybe I should, but I got discouraged after about the fourth one didn't make any difference.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #5
    One item that another person brought up in another thread, that apparently helped him significantly, was to change the multicast rate on the base station. The Airport Config software says that increasing the multicast rate will decrease the network's range; but it's probably worth a try.

    When I've read about multicast it hasn't been clear to me how it would impact wireless performance in general - it seems to only involve particular types of wireless traffic. But it's an easy thing to test.
     
  6. USMaC macrumors member

    USMaC

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Location:
    New Bern, NC
    #6
    I had a similar problems a couple years back. After a while I realized that the network drops happened every time someone used our cordless phone (2.4 GHz). Changing the channel on the base station eliminated the problem. I hope you are able to find a simiarly simple solution.
     
  7. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    I've goofed around with changing the Multicast rate a bit, although I'm entirely unclear on what it actually does, so I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing. Perhaps I'll read up on it more and try some more settings hoping it'll help.

    I wish it were something so easy as a cordless phone (don't even own one) or running the microwave (no relation), so I guess it's probably some kind of weird external interference. I had nasty problems with Cable Internet dropouts, too, so maybe this is another symptom of the same thing. Makes me wonder what the heck kinds of EM fields must be swirling around my home--I don't live somewhere you'd expect much interference.

    Maybe my neighbor is operating an illegal radio station or has the world's most powerful cordless phone or something...
     

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