Airport Extreme/Express problems and work arounds

What wifi router would you buy?

  • 6th Gen Airport extreme

    Votes: 9 81.8%
  • Non-Apple product (device below)

    Votes: 2 18.2%

  • Total voters
    11
  • Poll closed .

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
Hi all two main questions here:

1. I have a second gen.(?) airport extreme (A1134 - flat). Starting about two weeks ago we began experiencing periods of VERY slow WIFI. The signal strength indicator remains full, but download speeds ~1-2 and upload like 0.5, and we have 20 from ISP. Everything has worked FINE for the two years we have been here with TWC.

I called and talked to customer service and reset everything bla bla bla. They finally told me it was the AE. I didn't really believe them, long story short after two weeks I think they may be right.

I never lose signal strength, but unless I'm in the same room as the AE my speeds drop dramatically. I'm testing with two different computers to make sure isn't a WIFI card problem. Again nothing has changed and this room used to act the same as every other room in the house. FYI I ALWAYS have good speeds when connected to modern via ethernet.

Do you think the extreme is finally dying a slow death? Or could there be some other culprit? I'm planning on getting a gen. 6 extreme from eBay if this one really is dead.

2. I have two OLD airport expresses on this network for airplay. Luckily I setup the network before loosing access to them (via Mavericks dropping Airport Utility 5.6). Are they going to be useless to me now? Will I HAVE to buy new expresses as well if I want to keep my airplay? Or is there some kind of work around?

Thanks in advance
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
Update:

I broke down and went out and bought a Gen6 Airport extreme (AE). All set up and the problem *persists* a few notes:

1. The wifi strength signal is full and "excellent" per Airport utility.
2. The problem seems to increase the longer I'm in the other room. When I first walk in I'll drop from ~20 down to ~12-15 and so on until I plateau around 2-3 Mbps.
3.*The problem has NOT persisted on my 2013rMBP* No drops, stable 20-21 Mbps speed. The problem only persists on my wife's 2007 Core 2 Duo MBP (yes, she desperately needs a new computer).

Could this be some kind of interference from another wifi router from a neighbor? I do live in an apartment, and I guess someone new may have moved in and setup a new network, I have been gone a lot for the last 2 months.

I still have the old AE - is there a way I could connect it to the wifi, and then use ethernet to connect to the computer in this room? Would that stabilize the network somehow?

I found pretty cheap replacement wifi cards for the 2007 MBP - but am afraid it won't help if it is simply interference. Should I get a USB 802.11AC dual band wifi plug?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Hi all two main questions here:

1. I have a second gen.(?) airport extreme (A1134 - flat). Starting about two weeks ago we began experiencing periods of VERY slow WIFI. The signal strength indicator remains full, but download speeds ~1-2 and upload like 0.5, and we have 20 from ISP. Everything has worked FINE for the two years we have been here with TWC.

I called and talked to customer service and reset everything bla bla bla. They finally told me it was the AE. I didn't really believe them, long story short after two weeks I think they may be right.

I never lose signal strength, but unless I'm in the same room as the AE my speeds drop dramatically. I'm testing with two different computers to make sure isn't a WIFI card problem. Again nothing has changed and this room used to act the same as every other room in the house. FYI I ALWAYS have good speeds when connected to modern via ethernet.

Do you think the extreme is finally dying a slow death? Or could there be some other culprit? I'm planning on getting a gen. 6 extreme from eBay if this one really is dead.

2. I have two OLD airport expresses on this network for airplay. Luckily I setup the network before loosing access to them (via Mavericks dropping Airport Utility 5.6). Are they going to be useless to me now? Will I HAVE to buy new expresses as well if I want to keep my airplay? Or is there some kind of work around?

Thanks in advance
1. Since this is occuring on only the 2007 MacBook, verify that you are getting a strong transmit rate by option clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. Report back on what the transmit rate and channel/band it is using.

2. Yes. OS X Mavericks and later does not support AirPort Utility 5.6. Fortunately, Corey J. Mahler has created an AirPort Utility 5.6.1 launcher program that allows it to work on Mavericks and Yosemite here.
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
1. Since this is occuring on only the 2007 MacBook, verify that you are getting a strong transmit rate by option clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. Report back on what the transmit rate and channel/band it is using.

2. Yes. OS X Mavericks and later does not support AirPort Utility 5.6. Fortunately, Corey J. Mahler has created an AirPort Utility 5.6.1 launcher program that allows it to work on Mavericks and Yosemite here.
Thanks for the reply - didn't know about the option click. Running at 130Mbps despite poor internet speeds. Strange thing too. Her computer sat in that room all night, I walked in there, woke it up, ran the speed test. First test 18Mbps internet speed w/ 130 Mbps wifi. Waited a minute and ran again. ~4.5 Mbps at the same wifi speed. Not sure what this really means, hopefully you can make some sense out of it.

P.S. Thanks for the launcher - glad my expresses are not useless.
 

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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Thanks for the reply - didn't know about the option click. Running at 130Mbps despite poor internet speeds. Strange thing too. Her computer sat in that room all night, I walked in there, woke it up, ran the speed test. First test 18Mbps internet speed w/ 130 Mbps wifi. Waited a minute and ran again. ~4.5 Mbps at the same wifi speed. Not sure what this really means, hopefully you can make some sense out of it.

P.S. Thanks for the launcher - glad my expresses are not useless.
I would be using speedtest.net rather than the TWC version. I am not sure if there is a difference between the two but using the standard speedtest.net would rule out chances that it is a cruddy connection to a TWC Speedtest server. You have good signal and a good SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio). I would try separating the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands and putting the MBP on the 5 GHz band and report back!
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I really don't know. With this new Airport utility I'm not really sure what I'm doing.
Out of memory, you would click your base station, hit edit, go to wireless tab --> Wireless Options --> 5 GHz Network. You can give it the same network name with 5 GHz on the end like "SmithWireless 5 GHz". Then connect all 5 GHz devices to that band instead of the slower 2.4 if needed.
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
Out of memory, you would click your base station, hit edit, go to wireless tab --> Wireless Options --> 5 GHz Network. You can give it the same network name with 5 GHz on the end like "SmithWireless 5 GHz". Then connect all 5 GHz devices to that band instead of the slower 2.4 if needed.
Done - rMBP found and connected to 5GHz network no problem. 07 MBP can't see 5GHz network even if I go to join other and type in the name/WPA2 password. *However* now that I've split the bands, the 07 MBP running on the dedicated 2.4GHz network is having ZERO connectivity/speed issues. I ran 5-6 speed tests on both speediest.net and the TWC site. Churning out at 20-21Mbps each time with a 40ms ping. We may have found the problem, however....I'm not sure what it means.

----------

Turn off Airdrop on your idevices and macs. I have the same problem with 802.11ac Airport, Bonjour on iOS 8 and Yosemite creates a wireless s*htstorm and knocks other devices off the network.

https://medium.com/@mariociabarra/wifried-ios-8-wifi-performance-issues-3029a164ce94
Interesting - could this be why isolating the bands stabilized the 07 MBP?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Done - rMBP found and connected to 5GHz network no problem. 07 MBP can't see 5GHz network even if I go to join other and type in the name/WPA2 password. *However* now that I've split the bands, the 07 MBP running on the dedicated 2.4GHz network is having ZERO connectivity/speed issues. I ran 5-6 speed tests on both speediest.net and the TWC site. Churning out at 20-21Mbps each time with a 40ms ping. We may have found the problem, however....I'm not sure what it means.

----------



Interesting - could this be why isolating the bands stabilized the 07 MBP?
I think the 07 MacBook Pro can only see the lower 5 GHz channels. You could declare the channel in the AirPort Utility. Not sure why it helped but I am glad that it is fixed! Report back with any issues.
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
I think the 07 MacBook Pro can only see the lower 5 GHz channels. You could declare the channel in the AirPort Utility.
I thought I knew about networking...but I have no idea what this statement means haha. What are "lower 5Ghz channels," and how would I declare them in the AirPort Utility? Should I be worried that I need to leave my wifi bands isolated (2.4/5GHz)? I mean will my rMBP have issues and should I run on the 2.4 or 5GHz band?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I thought I knew about networking...but I have no idea what this statement means haha. What are "lower 5Ghz channels," and how would I declare them in the AirPort Utility? Should I be worried that I need to leave my wifi bands isolated (2.4/5GHz)? I mean will my rMBP have issues and should I run on the 2.4 or 5GHz band?
The rMBP should use the 5 GHz network due to the fact that it probably has wireless AC if it is one of the newer models. You can change the channel under wireless settings. Choose one between 36 and 48 and it should work on the 2007 MacBook Pro.
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
The rMBP should use the 5 GHz network due to the fact that it probably has wireless AC if it is one of the newer models. You can change the channel under wireless settings. Choose one between 36 and 48 and it should work on the 2007 MacBook Pro.
I see what you are saying - thanks for the clarification. If I start to have issues again, I will try that...I suppose, for now, "If it's not broken, don't fix it," right?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I see what you are saying - thanks for the clarification. If I start to have issues again, I will try that...I suppose, for now, "If it's not broken, don't fix it," right?
Changing that channel should allow the 2007 MBP to join the 5 GHz network. Do you by chance have a wireless printer on your network?
 

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
Good! Some routers completely segregate the networks when running two network names. I am glad the AirPort does not do that.
Thank you for the insight, I really wanted to quit after buying the new AE and still having the problems. I had started researching replacement AE cards for the 07 MBP, which aren't that expensive used....but obviously wouldn't have solved the problem. I would likely be having the same problem a week from now despite buying more parts and spending way too much time tearing down an old computer. Much appreciated.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Thank you for the insight, I really wanted to quit after buying the new AE and still having the problems. I had started researching replacement AE cards for the 07 MBP, which aren't that expensive used....but obviously wouldn't have solved the problem. I would likely be having the same problem a week from now despite buying more parts and spending way too much time tearing down an old computer. Much appreciated.
Glad it is working well! Just for the record, the rMBP and newer devices should be on the 5 GHz network. Report back if you face any more issues.