How to force 802.11ac?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by richard13, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #1
    I have a late 2013 MacBook Pro, late 2013 iMac and a 2013 Time Capsule. I have the latest firmware and running the latest Airport Utility. I notice that whenever these computers sleep for a long time or get restarted/shutdown they come back online using 802.11n instead of 802.11ac. The only way I've been able to get them back on AC is to Turn Wi-fi Off and back On again manually.

    I originally thought this was because of my 802.11n devices pulling the network down but they are now on my older Time Capsule which is in bridge mode via ethernet and has a different network name.

    I have also deleted any previously known networks from both computers.

    Does anyone know of a way for me to do this "reset" automatically? Or even better, know how to avoid this problem in the first place?
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    Since you should be under warranty for these new devices, contact Apple and see what they say. Someone at Genius bar can likely help.
     
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #3
    Can't you just remove your N network from your remembered wireless networks, so that the only one your macs to connect to is the AC?

    EDIT: Also, if you used the same network name for each, then you are going to have a problem.... What's happening is that when it wakes up it is going to look for your wifi network and hook to whichever one it finds first...
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #4
    the OP stated that the 2 AirPorts use different network names and that he cleared all the other networks off the Mac.

    It sounds like an issue to contact Apple about. You should mention that the only WiFi devices connecting to the AirPort are 802.11ac devices.
     
  5. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #5
    Yea, I was hoping to avoid this but I'll see about it when I get a chance. Talking to AppleCare is likely going to have me go through a bunch of hoops that won't really fix the problem and going to the Genius Bar is a pain for something like this.

    It seems to me that if my computers were at a significant distance from the TC I would expect this but not when it's just a few feet away on the same desk. All hardware has been swapped at least once (for other reasons) so I doubt it's that.

    I did a search of the forums and it looks like others are running into the same problem but unfortunately never came back with a solution.
     
  6. mikeyb99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    #6
    Question...in the new TC, are you using just one SSID for both the 2.4 and 5 ghz ranges? If that's the case, then your computers may be choosing the N network in preference to the AC one if perceived signal strengths are equal. I had a similar issue to you; sometimes my Mac would be on N, sometimes on AC , and it was only when I ran a wifi explorer app and did some forum research that I found the reason was the relative signal strengths being very close, sometimes 2.4ghz was a db better, sometimes the other way around. I configured the TC to use a different SSID name for 5 ghz, told the Mac to use it and now it sticks on that network whatever happens. I read somewhere that the behaviour was correct according to the 802.11 n/AC specs, and not a problem with the Software.
     
  7. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #7
    Good point. This morning I separated my network by ranges and had my computers join the 5GHz one. Unfortunately the 2.4GHz network was still listed ahead of the 5GHz one and when I woke my MBP from sleep it joined the former! I have now corrected this.

    I believe I've heard what you are saying about this behavior being "in spec" before. To me, this doesn't seem quite right. It shouldn't just merely be "whichever signal is strongest" that wins. It should be "whichever has the potential for best connection" that does. In my case, yes, the 2.4GHz N network has the slightly better signal. But the 5GHz AC network has a much better transmit rate. To me, it just seems logical that the 5GHz network would win.

    Ok, I'm going to see what happens over the next few days. Thanks to you and everyone else for your help!
     
  8. mikeyb99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    #8
    Agree the behaviour doesn't appear logical...

    Yes, I agree the behaviour doesn't seem right, but that's what the client chip hardware does it seems. At the moment at least, while AC is still relatively new. I base my opinion on various nuggets I've read, such as this one,by a guy who says he installs wireless networks for a living: https://discussions.apple.com/message/23364677#23364677
    So to 'nail' a Mac to to the 5ghz AC network you have to separate the SSIDs. Ever since I did this, my Mac stays on the AC network even though it's usually a couple of db weaker than the 2.4ghz network. And it's never switched back again, even across sleeps and restarts. Good luck !
     
  9. mikeyb99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    #9
    forgot to mention...

    I was trying to think earlier what else I did to FORCE the Mac to stay on the AC network, and I remembered. Go into System Preferences->Network->Advanced->Wifi. You'll see the list of preferred networks, and you can rearrange them into the order you'd like the Mac to connect assuming they're available. I'm guessing you may not have done this bit yet ?
     
  10. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #10
    Once again, thank you my friend. I read the linked article and I agree with everything they say there too.

    Today I checked my MBP and it was on the 5GHz band. Good. Checked the iMac and... uggh.. 2.4GHz band. Both networks were listed in the Preferred Networks list in System Preferences on the iMac. In spite of the 5GHz network being listed first the 2.4GHz network was still chosen. Also, the iMac sits on my desk literally inches from the TC! No distance, no obstructions, but it still chose the 2.4GHz network. Why? Maybe being too close is bad too? :confused:

    Anyway, I have removed the 2.4GHz network from the Preferred Networks list on both computers now so they have nowhere else to go but the 5GHz network. Seems silly I have to play these games but so be it.

    I'll see how things play out now. Since there's no 2.4GHz network to choose they will have to be on the 5GHz. Of course, they could still choose to go with the N protocol instead of AC but let's hope for the best here.

    If things go well I may try to bring my N devices over to the main TC and retire the older TC on the extended network. The reason I separated them was thinking that the N devices would slow my network but I recall at least one person saying that isn't the case with modern routers.
     
  11. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #11
    This may sound stupid, but for my 2013 MacBook Air and 2013 retina MacBook Pro, when connected to my 802.11ac router, how do I know if it's connecting on the n band or the ac band? Is it really just a selection of 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz?

    My previous router was not ac, but supported the 2.4/5 dual band as well. Seems to me that n is active on both 2.4 and 5...wasn't sure how to know if you are actually on the ac or n band. Thanks!
     
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #12
    Hold down the Alt-button while clicking on the airport icon in the menu bar.
     
  13. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #13
    Neat! I never knew that trick! Shows the ac connection and other stats. Thanks!
     
  14. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #14
    I tried the solution T'hain Esh Kelch proposed and it worked for me, but I like my new solution better - by naming my 2.4GHz network "Fast" and my 5GHz network "Faster", then setting my 5GHz network as the first choice in my Network Preferences. Easy peasy. :D
     
  15. Mike Boreham, Apr 27, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Sounds like you have got two networks being broadcast from the Time Capsule. have they got different names? Mine defaulted to "Name" and "Name 5Ghz" when I did it.

    Assuming yes to the above, go to Network Pref pane in each machine, select the Wifi connection on the LHS, click "Advanced". You will see a list of the known preferred networks. Drag the 5Ghz one to the top, or at least above the 2.4 Ghz one. Click "apply" and save etc (can't remember exact here).

    EDIT PS sounds like you might have already done this! All I can say is that my two late 2013 MBPs always connect to the ac network all the time after doing the above.
     
  16. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #16
    Hi Mike. Yes, I indeed went with what you are suggesting here and it's been working for several months now. I created a 2nd SSID to separate the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks and went so far as to remove the 2.4Ghz network entries from the profiles. So now my iMac and MacBook Pro both join and stay on the 5Ghz network and, as far as I can tell, stay on the AC protocol. My N clients join the 2.4Ghz network. I removed the 2nd TC from the layout as it wasn't needed anymore but I'll keep it around in case something comes up later.
     
  17. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    WiFi Explorer is a great app for showing for is going on with WiFi...signal, noise, which connected, nearby conflicting channels etc...and whether you are connected n or ac .
     
  18. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #18
    Thanks again Mike. I'll take a look at this app.
     
  19. benghaith83, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    benghaith83 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    #19
    IEEE 802.11n-2009, is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11-2007 wireless networking standard, it's maximum net data rate ranges from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s, Apple uses 200 Mbit/s at maximum and never exceeds that rate! Most of the time my ****ing iPhone 6 uses 72 Mbit/s!! 802.11n networking can be used in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands, thus, It can be enabled in the 5 GHz mode, or within the 2.4 GHz mode, further more, even that aging 802.11a support and transmits 5 GHz! Thus more, using a 5 GHz doesn't mean necessarily you're on a ****ing 802.11ac network! So be aware of that!! IEEE 802.11ac on the other hand only supports and transmits 5 GHz signal, it doesn't support legacy networks and devices and will never do! Its maximum net data rate ranges from 500 Mbit/s to 2600 Mbit/s, Apple uses 1300 Mbit/s at maximum and never exceeds that rate! Most of the time (which is always) it stops at 800 Mbits/s even on 802.11ac mode and lasts on 1300 Mbit/s only for few seconds and then switch back to that bloody buggy ****ing compatibility 2.4 GHz mode and drops to that goddamned bloody 72 Mbit/s, even with a bloody buggy ****ing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and AirPort Extremes!!! What the hell Apple!!

    Okay Ben! Cool down tiger!! My point here is, boasting that you are on a "5 GHz Network" doesn't mean that you're on 802.11ac network necessarily, most of the time (which is in fact all of the time, really) you'll be on a 802.11n standard "5 GHz Network" and not 802.11ac, even with latest Macs and iOS devices!! The reason? Compatibility purposes!! I'm sick of the word "Compatibly"! Sick of it to my very core!! IEEE is not to be blamed, in stead manufacturers should be, I own an ****ing iPhone 6 and a ****ing AirPort Extreme; which both have 802.11ac already available in them, they should connect solely on 5 GHz 802.11ac network only! Grr!! What the **** Apple is doing??!! Deep breath. Cool down!
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #20
    @benqhaith83 Apple routers can indeed do more than 200 Mbps. My mid-2012 classic MacBook Pro is connected to my 6th generation at 450 Mbps so that point is moot. Furthermore, any router will only go as fast as the connection allows. If a client and the router cannot negotiate an AC link, then it will use wireless N. AC only works on the 5 GHz network, but if AC cannot be negotiated then it will drop down to wireless N on the 5 GHz band.
     
  21. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #21
    Wow... really old thread. :)

    FYI... I was able to do what I wanted by removing any references to the 2.4GHz network from my computers/devices and only allowing 802.11ac clients to connect to my 5.0GHz network. This basically ensures they won't connect to the 2.4GHz network and keeps them from "downshifting" to 802.11n due to non-ac devices being on the network.
     
  22. benghaith83 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    #22
    The AC thing ain't working man! I'm not speaking of internet speed, I'm merely talking of N/AC technology, look unto the screenshot! It's my iPhone 6 and I'm standing before the freakin' APE and ain't working!! Grrrrr
     

    Attached Files:

  23. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #23
    Where are you getting this info off your iPhone?
     
  24. benghaith83 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    #24
    Ah? My iPhone! AirPort Utilily!! Duh...
     
  25. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #25
    Hmm... apparently the version of AirPort Utility on my iPhone doesn't show this data. However, I can get it from AirPort Utility on my Mac for my iPhone. See attached. As you can see my iPhone is connecting at the higher data rate so it does work. I'm thinking you have some configuration settings that are not quite right. Especially since the mode in your screenshot is b/g/n instead of a/n/ac.
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page