2012 Mac mini: WiFi signal drops to almost nothing; temporarily fixed by hard reboot

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
660
103
My wife has a 2012 i7 Mac mini 2.3 GHZ, which I upgraded with a 2.12 TB Fusion drive and 16 GB of RAM a few years ago. I also added OWC's Bluetooth shield strip when I did the upgrade. It's running the latest version of Catalina. We have FiOS Internet, and the WiFi speed in much of our house gets as high as 200 Mbps upstream and downstream. The corner of our house where the mini is located gets about 50 Mbps up/down.

As of a couple months ago, every two or three days, while my wife is working on the computer, she suddenly is unable to connect to websites, or the pages load extremely slowly. She's still connected to our secure WiFi network, and the the icon at the top of the screen shows full strength. I run Ookla Speedtest, and either it can't connect to a test server, or it shows a speed of between 0 and 5 Mbps up/down. I bring my MBP, iPad, and iPhone to the same location. They get 50 up/down -- except, on a couple occasions, speeds on the other devices were very low and/or fluctuated wildly when I did several speed tests in a row.

I tried doing a soft restart on the mini on a few occasions, but it had no effect. For the heck of it, a couple weeks ago, I tried doing a full shutdown and a restart with the power button -- and discovered that this fixes the problem. The connection speed gets back to 50 up/down... until the problem recurs a couple days later.

Any ideas? I'm guessing it's a hardware problem. The machine is old, and it's been a faithful servant. What puzzles me are the times I got low speeds on the other devices. It's almost as if the WiFi signal drops briefly, and when it returns to full strength, the other devices respond as they should, but the mini doesn't, unless I do a cold restart. Unfortunately, I can't replicate the conditions at will.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,552
6,281
I know this doesn't solve the wifi problem, but...
Is there any way to connect it via ethernet...?
 

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
660
103
I know this doesn't solve the wifi problem, but...
Is there any way to connect it via ethernet...?
I've thought about that. I'd need to run a fairly long Ethernet cable through the attic and down through the walls -- doable but a hassle.
 

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