2006 MacBook drops wifi

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by idiwa, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. idiwa macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow. UK
    Looking for help with this please.
    MacBook. 2Ghz Intel Core Duo. OS Snow Leopard 10.6.6

    I'm running a 2006 MacBook with Snow Leopard. A few months back it started dropping wifi connection. Airport would show no connection but would list my network along with others in my building. If I tried to connect with my WPA password it would just time out. At this time I was running Leopard.

    Since then I've done a few things.
    • Tried running the Netgear router with no encryption at all (same thing happens). Will lose connection and then time out trying to connect
    • I've tried the MacBook in a coffee shop with wifi access and at my parents (same NetGear router) and at my new apartment with a horrible Orange Livebox.
    • Taken the MacBook in to see the genius bar at Glasgow Apple store. Worked fine for them, but I explained it was intermittent but we could not force it to fail. I'm sure if it ran for an hour it would.
    At present if I have the MacBook in the living room (where the Livebox router is situated) its fine and wont drop connection. If I walk some 5m to my bedroom it will work for approximately half and hour and then lose it. A few days ago I bought the Snow Leopard upgrade and installed it last night. MacBook runs a hell of a lot faster (yay!) but moving it away from the router and its dead as disco in half an hour.

    So to clarify, the MacBook has been tested on 4 wifi networks/ locus with same issue. iPhone, Xbox 360 and PS3 all have no issues with dropping connection no matter where they are in the apartment.

    Apartment is a new build and its walls are not made out of lead or kryptonite. Is this a hardware issue rather than software? When updating to Snow Leopard it was an update to the existing OS of Leopard not a clean install. Thanks for your help in advance, cheers.

    AIRPORT says the following in System Profiler.

    Software Versions:
    Menu Extra: 6.2.1 (621.1)
    configd plug-in: 6.2.3 (623.2)
    System Profiler: 6.0 (600.9)
    Network Preference: 6.2.1 (621.1)
    AirPort Utility: 5.5.2 (552.11)
    IO80211 Family: 3.1.2 (312)
    Card Type: AirPort Extreme (0x168C, 0x86)
    Firmware Version: Atheros 5424:
    Locale: ETSI
    Country Code: GB
    Supported PHY Modes: 802.11 a/b/g
    Supported Channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140
    Status: Connected

  2. robertwhyte macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    I had problems with 10.6.6 and after trying everything else finally reestablished normal life after I deleted all my keychain items except necessary certificates and keys and logged into the airport afresh.
  3. X2thaP macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2010
    When did it start to happen? ("a few months back") Perhaps when you updated to 10.6.3 or 10.6.4?

    Reason I ask is because I've had this happen to me, on a 2008 MacBook (purchased with 10.5.4 installed), as well.
    It happened as soon as I updated from 10.6.2 to 10.6.3. The following updates never fixed it, so I was working
    with all different suggestions floating around on the internet, but non of them where a permanent fix.

    I decided to 'downgrade' back to 10.6(.0) and everything worked perfectly. I kept it at 10.6 until the Mac App Store came out
    and I was 'forced' to update because I wanted the App Store. I then found out that going from 10.6 straight to 10.6.6 did not
    mess up the WiFi/Airport! So it is back to normal now.

    *EDIT* Just missed the part where you wrote you just recently did the Snow Leopard install, so it can't be due to the update I suggested.
    I do however remember some posts about the same thing happening on the 10.5(.8??) updates as well I believe.
    In this case I have no practical solution for you, sorry.
  4. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Most likely cause of the problem is the Atheros wireless card fitted in your (and most) Core Duo MacBooks.

    Simplest answer is to open it up and replace with a Broadcom n card.

    Some of the Atheros cards work fine with Snow Leopard but many just time out or connect on the 3rd attempt.

    You should be able to get a replacement card fairly cheaply off eBay.

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