awful MBP wifi performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sbb155, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. sbb155 macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    I have a N wireless router
    My core duo MB, with "g" picks up four bars
    My new MBP with N picks up 0 bars unless I move closer to the router.
    There is a huge difference here.
  2. Viper2005 macrumors 6502


    Dec 2, 2007
    Your MB is made of plastic, while your MBP is metal, so therefore the metal around the MBP acts as a shield and dampens the wifi signal.
  3. higgz macrumors member


    Feb 26, 2008
    Boston, MA
    mine kept cutting in and out of my school server today in one of our buildings ;\
  4. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Well first it can be a router's fault...second try running MBpro with G, same distance see how it picks up that signal, if it does well with g but not with n might be a router,
  5. Mott macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008
    What reading does the MBP show when it's set for G?
  6. mbrydone macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2008
    is everyone with a MBP having this problem? I want to get one for college next year but I really want to use the internet on it!
  7. Achiever macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2008
    Is this a widespread problem??

    I, too, would LOVE to know if Penryn MBPs are having Wi-Fi connectivity issues this bad on a large scale basis? I plan on getting a MBP for use both at home and on the road and am hopeful to use it wirelessly both places (MBA doesn't fit my needs). Can folks using MBPs wirelessly (especially the Penryn users) please comment? Thanks!
  8. brandonshough macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Get a router that doesn't suck.

    Or set your router for G only.

    Sounds like a Linksys.
  9. jofus macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    My new MBP works on an old 2Wire DSL b router just fine from a fair distance away.
  10. sbb155 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    I have tried it on G instead of N. Yep, no good reception. The MB is far superior. I tested it on a friends router and one at work too. The bottom line is that wifi on MB is better than MBP. at least in my experience of 3 routers and 3 systems. This is the old MB too, without N. Disappointing. The aluminum explanation is probably correct. At the apple store today, the genius said the same thing, and said that it is just the way they are built.
  11. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    My MBP (2 x2.33) works just fine. But I did notice that it performed somewhat worse than my old PowerPC system when I first got it. I then moved to the new Apple Airport Base station that supports N and it has been great ever since.

    If able, I suggest you take it to an Apple store for evaluation. Seems like it's possibly a hardware problem.
  12. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    My MacBook Pro has good wireless reception. Even when I'm in another room from the router, still picks up fine.

    Airport Extreme Base Station.
  13. Mac-Addict macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2006
    My iPod touch picks up more networks than my MBP.
  14. thegrandmaster macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2007
    In the house I was staying with previously my MBP picked up the wireless network with 4 bars further away than any other machine, I got a full signal where the other Toshiba in the house got nout.

    In my experience my MBP has had excellent wireless reception, definitely as good as, if not better than my Mum's iBook, and my iMac at home.

    Sorry to semi-hijack the thread, is the plastic running around the 'rim' of the Macbook Pro the WiFi aerial? If not what is it?

  15. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    It's what holds the MacBook Pro together! The aerial is all built into the wireless card (and probably isn't that big).

    Look at mobile phones - they used to have massive antenna's, now they are all tiny built in ones. The power of range has increased and the aerial has shrunk.
  16. Mott macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008
    So how is everyones wireless on the new MBPs? I'm getting mine today so I'll give an update tonight or tomorrow.
  17. skiesforme macrumors 6502


    Feb 4, 2008
    Solution : It's a faulty airport card. Get it replaced - I did so !!

    It might be the case that you have cordless phones/fluoresecent tubes/microwaves/power lines/other electromagnetic pollutants hampering your wireless reception. An ill-placed router/loose antenna might also be the case. Radio propagation models are very complex to say the least. N routers are "supposed" to have Twice the range. So don't you think it's unacceptable. Just curious, if you got the 802.11N enabler from Apple ?
    For me, the issue was very poor wireless speeds on my new Penryn MBP. My MB(SR 2.2 GHz) and 2 other windows laptops work great with my beggarly Trendnet 432BRP 802.11 b/g router. I have a thread on what not I tried to resolve this issue - everything from power cycling modem/router to setting/removing DNS/IPV6 config and to the extent of changind RTS CTS thresholds for fragmentation on my poor router. But Speakeasy Speedtests tests kept on proving there was something wrong with MBP and NOT the router.
    Thread link :

    I can't count how many times I have seen this statement. I can't fully agree with it practically although I know its a valid theory! I would say the reception ratio would be MB(100%):MBP(90%) although I never saw anything less than full reception on my MBP with my router in my bedroom and the MBP in the living room about 40 feet away from it. Yes aluminum might make a difference but not more than 10-15% of reception deterioration. And this cannot be an excuse for a $2k laptop.

    Might be...
    I slammed the Apple Care guy when he said it's an issue with the ISP/Modem/Router and MBP is picky about router. WTF ? Everything else runs great with my router. Why should the MBP not comply ?? I repeat again if your other devices work great with your router, there is no reason why the MBP should not !:mad:

    I think quality control is the devil here. For me it was a faulty airport card resulting in the laptop being replaced at the Genius bar after one speakeasy test in parallel with one of the MBP in the Apple Store to prove my point.

    Again, the same comment about the router. I disagree. The only setting I would suggest for the router is to run it on Channel 11.

    Yes, that would be wise to do. Go to the Store and ask the Genius to test the wireless. He might argue, "Oh we have limited base stations and so many devices. Wireless speed would be inherently bad you know". Well, why don't we compare the faulty MBP with one in the store. Fair comparison eh ? :D !!

    If you see any issues with the wireless, don't waste time and get it replaced. The guy at the store took 2 minutes to give me a replacement without any arguments.

    Hope this helps. My advice to any new buyer's is not to waste time like I did blaming it on the Aluminium, the router, the modem, DNS, Ipv6 and eventually curse yourself. Instead, get it replaced !! :)
  18. Fry-man22 macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2007
    This is incorrect; there is an antenna coming off the card. I believe the little rubber section at the base of the LCD (where the hinge is mostly coated in rubber) is the antenna's way out of the aluminum case; on the Powerbooks they had small plastic/rubber areas about 3/4 of the way up the screen that I think were the antenna outs from the case. Even the iPhone/Touch have small black plactis area where the antenna gets to peek out from the metal casing. Antennas haven't disappeared, they just change the look.
  19. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Channel 11 is the most common 'default' channel on wireless routers, using this and you might find yourself with some interference problems if there are a lot of other wireless networks in your area
  20. skiesforme macrumors 6502


    Feb 4, 2008
    Channel 11 vs Channel 6 - iStumbler/Speakeasy experiment.

    I totally agree with you on this and wanted to check this out myself. Let me share my practical observation with you. I had setup 2 scenarios.
    Tools: iStumbler to check the interference/signal strength and Speakeasy to test the wireless speed.
    1> Channel set to 6. iStumbler showed 57%-43% signal-interference ratio. I had 2 more networks in my vicinity running channel 6. Speakeasy test speeds not upto the Max (~ 6500 kbps / 765 kbps)

    2> Channel set to 11. iStumbler showed 60%-40% signal-interference ratio with 4-5 more Channel 11 based networks around. Speakeasy test speeds were impressive (~ 9800 kbps / 980 kbps) - same as the speed I get on Ethernet based tests.

    Tested this on my SR 2.2 GHz MB as well. Similar results.
    Conclusion: Channel 11 works better for similar signal-interference ratios than Channel 6 (I did not try this with Channel 1 though)
    Furthermore, I recall from a conversation at the Genius Bar and also forums that Airport's preference of channels is Channel 11 > Channel 6 > Channel 1. I don't have technical evidence to prove this but I saw this happening on my wi-fi network.
  21. trickhips macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2008
    Problems with my Airport too... possibly my Airport card?

    I bought a MBP Core Duo refurb machine back in October of 2006. I set up a home network with an Airport base station. Right from the get go, I noticed problems picking up Wi-fi signals with my laptop, whereas my PSP detected several in my immediate vicinity from neighbors, etc. I moved the base station in my house and mounted it high on a wall which seemed to help the reception somewhat. I had a feeling that the metal filing cabinet upon which it sat was causing some signal interference.

    Just this week, I've been losing connections or having them drop almost immediately after picking them up. I'm usually able to load my homepage on Firefox and then the signal drops. I've fiddled with the usual things, like unplugging the base station and the cable modem and then starting them back up. I've also used a wired connection just to make sure it wasn't a firmware issue and to make sure I've got all the appropriate updates.

    The thing that worries me is that I had to replace the motherboard on this machine only three months after I got it. Luckily I had warranty and AppleCare to back it up. Could my Airport card hardware be the culprit?

    Sorry for the novel.:confused:
  22. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    Airport Radar Widget

    It will tell you what everyone is using for the wireless channel, the SSID, the quality of the signal, and whether it is secured.
  23. skiesforme macrumors 6502


    Feb 4, 2008
    Could you try changing the channel on your router, 11 -> 6 -> 1 and see if it gets better. I would advise you to turn off airport and then on again each time you do so. Let's see if this works for you.
  24. durant0s macrumors regular


    Jan 9, 2008
    Houston, TX
    awesome , thanks

    fyi, my MBP picks up 8 different signals in my building, one of them as far as 13 floors down.
  25. trickhips macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2008
    Re: Problems with my Airport too... possibly my Airport card?

    thanks skiesforme. i changed the Airport settings from "Automatic" channel selection to "channel 11" and this seems to have solved the problem for now. i still get pretty weak reception for an open network next to my office at work, but that may have more to do with their router than my Airport card.

Share This Page