Mac Pro - Airport - Bad Signal / Packet loss

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by oglimmer, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. oglimmer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #1
    Hi,

    I've got a mac pro with pre-installed Airport Express. My base station is just 10 feet (3 meters) away from my Mac and all my other computers have a very good connection, but the Mac has just a 30% connection.

    I wouldn't care about that, but the Mac has a lot of packet loss`. From time to time (about 1 time in an hour) the connection gets totally lost. I don't have to mention that this is a real problem. (BTW this happens in OS X and in natively booted Windows XP.)

    I posted that problem to a german mac forum and many others have a similar problem, now I thought to ask here (to get an international feedback and maybe some geek advice what to do ;) )

    What is your experience with Mac Pro and Airport? Wouldn't it be useful to have an external antenna?

    Cheers,
    Oli
     
  2. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #2
    Actually on the Mac Pro the airport antenna is exposed it is located on the bottom of the machine under a sticker which covers a plastic plate.
     
  3. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Oli, there have been several reports of the antenna wires being connected incorrectly. Mine had the wrong cable for bluetooth plugged in but luckily I knew about the issue even before it arrived so I quickly switched the cables. There are four antenna cables labelled 1, 2, 3 and BT. BT is not used, 1 goes to the Bluetooth, 2 goes to the upper airport connector and 3 goes to the lower airport connector. The wires are below the optical drives, hidden behind the motherboard. Taking the drive bays out makes them way easier to find. Be careful with the wiress though since the labels come off very easily!
     
  4. scoopz macrumors newbie

    scoopz

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    See this post about issues I had when installing the aiport card and check you have wire 2 and 3 connected to the top and bottom of the card respectively (see attached image).

    The only other help i can offer took me nearly a year to find out. I have an airport exptreme base station, airport express in the living room connect to speakers and airport card in my old g4cube. The music would stream perfectly to the living room airport express for hours then suddenly would stop and signal would get lost. I ended up with multiple replacements for every airport item i own and then found out it was my cordless house phone that was interferring, or at least i thought. I gave them away and got new ones. Then after a few days it happened again!! Eventually (after pulling out my hair) i found it was my microwave that was causing the dropped signal. Whenever i turn my microwave on the music stops instantly and stays stopped. Within 5 seconds of stopping microwave the music continues. I also found that the guy in the house next door can have a similar effect on my wireless with his microwave but not much i can do about that.

    Anyway i have tried turning on interferrance robustness, changing channels, changing every setting i can think of but nothing will make it stop. Well that was with my old G4cube and slow 802.11b I've not run the same test with my new Mac Pro and airport extreme (802.11a/g??) but will post results soon.

    The microwave is about 20ft away from base station and 30ft from airport express.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. scoopz macrumors newbie

    scoopz

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Ok I've just got back from testing it with some strange results. I have the MacPro connected via RJ45 to the Airport Extreme base station from day 1 so i could access internet before my wireless card arrived and guess i forgot to unplug it.

    Before I got wireless card I could stream music to my airport express from the MacPro via ethernet to the airport extreme base station. I was curious to see which route the music stream would take now it had the option of:

    1 - going direct to the express from the macpro airport card.
    2 - from macpro airport card to extreme and from extreme to express
    3 - ethernet to extreme then from there to express.

    I opened up Network Utility and watched which connection had packet activity when i streamed music and it was the 54Mbs wirless card. Not sure if it was going via the base station or direct the the express. So i turned on the microwave and off went the music (with robustness turned on)!!:mad:

    Ok so now i disabled the airport card in my macpro and the remote speakers vanished from iTunes. Closed iTunes and re-opened it and it had found the speakers again. Started playing music and packets were now going via the ethernet cable to the base station and from there to the express. OK back to the kitched. Microwave on......music doesn't stop!:D ! So the microwave doesn't interfere with the wirless signal between the Airport Extreme and Airport Express it only causes trouble with wireless signals emitted directly from the Airport card in my MacPro.:eek: now i'm confused!

    Guess I'll stick with the ethernet connection to my Airport Extreme base station, why did i buy the airport card...who knows?
     
  6. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #6
    I have another test for you to try if you like... How about switching the two wires on the airport card. I think 1 antenna is for 802.11a and the other is for 802.11g 5.8ghz vs 2.4ghz they could be mixed up.
     
  7. oglimmer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #7
    Thanks for the answers!

    I opened the case and I shot a foto (see attachment).

    It seems to me that my cables are also not correctly installed.

    Furthermore it seems that to fix this by myself is not so easy. Is there a detailed tutorial on the net how to change the wires? (I've some experiences with hardware and stuff, but I'm definitely not an expert)
     

    Attached Files:

  8. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #8
    Have you tried using different wireless channels? Whenever I've had poor wireless performance I've just selected a different channel and it has always resolved my issue. Try picking a new channel that's at least 6 away from your current one.
     
  9. scoopz macrumors newbie

    scoopz

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Honestly it is easy to do, no tools are needed at all. The wires have small brass/gold connectors on the end which simply pop on and off the cards.

    You have to apply a fair bit of force to pop the connectors back on. You simply have to make sure the conenctor is located right over the middle of the port on the card before you start to apply pressure.

    However, from your photo I do not see wire #2?
     
  10. waremaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    #10
    Hey scoopz. Did you by any chance try switching the wires around on the airport module? I am curious if that helped your range.
     
  11. oglimmer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #11
    I did that. 6 WLAN networks are in my range. So I tried a lot to find a channel which is not in confilict with the other networks.

    The basic point of my problem is that I've 2 windows notebooks and 2 win desktop computers which have absolutely no problem with the connection to base station.
    Only the Mac Pro has packet loss and a bad signal strength.
     
  12. oglimmer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #12

    Wire #2 was a little bit hidden, but I found it. Now I removed the #1 from the Airport card. I attachted #2 to this upper connector.

    Afterwards I also removed the "BT" wire from the Bluetooth module and pluged #1 into the free connector.

    Now I've #2 (upper), #3 (lower) for Airport. #1 in BT and "BT"-wire is un-attatched.

    I do some testings, then I'll post my results here.

    ps. sorry for the double-post
     
  13. damado macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #13
    Let me know how that goes. I havent' been the happiest with my wireless conection but I can't even see the lables b/c they put the BT one behind the airport card...I'll have to turn off the computer later and pull the wire a little to see if I can see what label it is.
     
  14. scoopz macrumors newbie

    scoopz

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Not got round to doing that yet waremaster. Only just got in from work and heading straight out for some drinks but i'll do it when i get back or tomorrow and post results.
     
  15. oglimmer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #15
    I've used the new wire settings for a couple of hours.

    Unfortunately my overall connection is not better, but also not worse.

    The same amount of packet loss, the same signal strength.

    What makes me wonder is that it seems that it doesn't matter which wire is connected to which connector.
     
  16. lowfi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Location:
    Geneva, Suisse
    #16
  17. oglimmer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    #17
    Finnally I was so frustrated that I took my old "Draytek 2500 WE" router and tested the wlan connection with this one.

    You wouldn't believe it, IT WORKS PERFECTLY!!!!

    100% connection strength, no packet loss at all.

    I can say without a doubt, that the airport card and the "Fritzbox! WLAN FON" - router (and it's connection chip) aren't really compatible.
     
  18. damado macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #18
    Since most are having this prob and it doesn't seem to be the wires, should we then set the BT wire back onto the bluetooth card and change the 2 back to 1?
     
  19. scoopz macrumors newbie

    scoopz

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    I tried swithcing the wires around with abosolutely NO EFFECT (well a slight anomaly but nothing major).
    Before i was getting 100% signal (see 1st thumbnail)
    Then after swapping 2 and 3 i got 75% signal (see 2nd thumbnail)
    I then swapped back to original config and still only get 75%.
    With no wires connected there was no signal as expected (see 3rd tmb)

    So I think my first 100% was some kind of false reading. The base and macpro are only 2 or so meters apart but a few desks etc in the way and I've never seen 100% even with my old G4Cube. For those wanting to know, i have:
    0 send errors
    0 receive errors
    after half a day.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. lowfi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Location:
    Geneva, Suisse
    #20
    Mine is even worse :(

    img deleted

    Wire 1 + 3 are connected to my airport. BT is connected to BT module. Wire 2 wire is not connected. MP and airport express base station are about 1 foot apart, no microwaves or other equipment are even near my computer. 3 other networks are in the neighbourhood but they all use a different channel (im on 13 currently).

    If i connect my MP directly to an airport express using a cable i get full speed.

    Damnit :mad:
     
  21. thasoul macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    #21
    to all fritz!box owners: my reception with the mac pro and the fritz!box is as described above, but:

    disabling the G mode in the fritzbox the mac pro only connects with the B mode and gets 100 percent signal strength: NO PACKET LOSS or anything else strange...

    so disabling G+B or G in the fritzbox gives me a workaround...

    can you guys try it out?

    thnx :)
     
  22. MagicBez macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    #22

    My cables aren't labled at all like in the diagram. My signal is poor sitting right next to my iBook with like 5 networks and none on my MacPro.

    Anything I can do!?!!?
     
  23. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #23
    Thanks to this thread I am skipping Airport and BT on my mac pro. I'll survive without them, especially if they don't work for crap.
     
  24. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #24
    Bluetooth works great for me. I switched the cables to the correct set up as discussed on here and haven't looked back. I'm loving the flexibility of having Bluetooth, the Wireless Mouse and Keyboard are great and syncing with my phone is fantastic too.
     
  25. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #25
    I can always add it later after they've worked out the issues. I'd rather spend that money on more ram or HD space. Student budgets suck. But I have more use for wireless on the powerbook (which it has) and in a mobile device... just makes more sense in that respect.
     

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