Airport starts with 3 bars, when I restart Airport it shows full 4 bars? Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by aquasky, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. aquasky macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008

    I have just bought a brand new 24 inch iMac with a Time Machine which I use to connect to my DSL modem/router to go on the Internet.

    The problem is that when I power up my MAC from shut down, each time the ICON in the MENU BAR top right corner shows that my AirPort connection is only 3 bars and what's more I cannot access the Internet or check emails as it is really slow (I have to wait 5 minutes for google to load).

    I then click on the Airport signal strength icon in the menu bar and select 'Turn AirPort Off' then I immediately click the same icon again (now empty with no signal) and select 'Turn AirPort On'. NOW I GET ALL FULL 4 BARS AND PERFECTLY FAST INTERNET CONNECTION - What the heck is going on here??

    As far as I know all system updates have been made both of my operational system and the firmware of the time machine.

    I am using WPA 2 Personal Security. My Channel selection in Time Machine properties was at first Automatic, so I thought that I may solve the problem by changing it - so I changed it to Channel 7. Did not help. Connection Sharing is in Bridge Mode (between Time Machine and Router). Not sure what else to do.

    The time machine is only 1 metre (or meter, if you are in the US) away from the iMac. My partner also has the same iMac placed just opposite mine on the same desk, same distance to time machine and she does not have this problem.

    Can anyone help pls?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. JG271 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    I wouldn't worry about it - leopard wireless is notoriously inaccurate/bad. I'd reccomend downloading iStumbler - it'll give you more accurate signal strengths and more.
    Hope this is useful...
  3. aquasky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    It's just that it obviously works fine when I reconnect AirPort - but it bugs me to do it each time I start the Mac from shut down. I thought someone might have an idea how to deal with this? Thank you.
  4. Solemony macrumors 6502


    Nov 26, 2008
    Try unplug your modem's power cord and/or even unplug your router's power cord to do a restart and everything should be back to normal.
  5. aquasky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    I basically just unplugged the power cord overnight to my modem, router, iMac - I suppose that would reset them allright, but unfortunately this did not solve the issue. Still 3 bars, - then to full 4 bars when I reconnect Airport as I describe above? Strange... Any more ideas?
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    More people worried about micromanaging the OS, and going nuts in the process.
  7. Solemony macrumors 6502


    Nov 26, 2008
    Try to reconfigure your router?
  8. aquasky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    I have tried but no effect. I might call tech support and see if they can suggest something... Thank you to all who read/replied to this.
  9. EmilyJane macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    I've had something similar happen. I live in a building with dozens of wifi networks. Sometimes when I boot my Mac it connects to an open network not my own and usually the signal strength is lower than 4 bars. While I can connect to the Internet it is usually very slow. When I turn AirPort off and then back on I make sure to select my network in the drop-down menu and everything is back to normal.

    It's a stretch but maybe this is your problem too?
  10. pismobrat macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007


    Please look at this from a different angle.

    Despite the inaccuracy of the Airport Bar, how is your wireless performance?

    If all you do is surf the internet and not use any network resources:eg NAS drive. You should be just fine.

    Alternatively, change your channels. 1, 6, & 11 are the ideal choices depending on what bleeding is occurring in your neighborhood.
  11. aquasky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    EmilyJane, yes I am experiencing the same issue as you. And yes, there are also other networks visible (neighbors etc). I tried changing to channel 7, but I still get three bars with almost 0 speed (bear in mind the TimeCapsule is only 1 meter away).

    Pismobrat, I almost get no internet speed when the indicator is at 3 bars, only when I reconnect the Airport am I able to get full 4 bars and full internet speed.

    I will try to do the following:
    1. Reset the channel to say 6 or 4.... , if no success
    2. Call Apple support, if no success,
    3. Maybe get a script or something which would restart Airport upon each login (i.e. Mac startup).

    Any other ideas most welcome.
  12. pismobrat macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007


    Thanks for the information.

    There won't been any use to trying channels like 4,5 etc.

    Bleed through occurs on those channels.

    Channel 1 6 11 are the best options as they have the least overlap and the least interferance.

    use istumbler to scan your airspace, make a note of the channels being use in your area, but also note the signal strength.

    eg: of there are many channel 11's with low signal, but 1 or 6 are heavily used in your area and the strength of signal is high, use channel 1

    Now.. lets put a different take on this.

    Your iMac supports N so does your time machine.

    It maybe time for you to set your network to 5GHz N only, with no backwards compatibility for G/B/A wireless. 5GHz will put you in a spectrum that virtually has no noise.

    Anyways, wireless is fun to learn
  13. aquasky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008

    So I got the istumbler. I am attaching the picture of my airspace scan.
    You can see there are quite a few channel 6s being used - any suggestions as to what channel to set based on this shot? - Currently I am on channel 7.

    I wonder if there is a way to check noise on all channels (not just the ones that are being in use).

    Thank you for your help!

    Attached Files:

  14. pismobrat macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    Do you need anything to be wireless G compatible, I would seriously look at going straight N and apple tech support can walk you through this.

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