iBook better @ wireless than PowerBook?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by DharmaBum, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. DharmaBum macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2004
    Hey there,

    So - I have a PowerBook G4 with built in AirPort Extreme card, and a friend of mine has an iBook G3 with simply an AirPort card. He recently gave us an old Linksys Wireless AP router he had (old meaning it has no antennae) and set it up in my apartment. My room is about 35 feet away from the router itself, and yet when my friend and I are in my room, his iBook gets three to four bars of reception, and my PowerBook only gets one or two at best; half the time it doesn't even recieve a signal! He said it's probably because A) his iBook is made of plastic, and mine is aluminum and B) that it was a really old and therefore sketchy router and something could be wrong with it. But I'm thinking perhaps something is wrong with my PowerBook.
    Does anyone know why this could be happening? I have the latest AirPort updates and all that, and technically, my computer is more powerful than his - so why would this be happening? Want to know if I need to get something checked out or not.
    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. upperblue79 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2004
    Little Rock, AR
    I actually went through this with my 12" al powerbook, it would always get two less bars than my desktop, so I sent it to apple and after like 2 days had a guy call me and inform that the al does get less of a signal because of the material, and he said it upsets them that the marketing team lead customers to believe that all macs should get the same signal, so nothing wrong with your machine.
  3. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I used to get a really crummy signal with my albook, but after getting the latest airport card update, I've been doing much better. I can now use it in the kitchen without ever dropping the connection. That would have been a small miracle a month ago.

    cliffs notes: make sure you have that update.
  4. Sabbath macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    Yup the powerbooks reception is pretty poor because of the alluminium. I used to get better range than anyone with my iBook and now I seem to get the worst signal of anyone. I wonder if it is particularly the 12" (which I and one other poster has) that has poor reception.
  5. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    Just to chime in... My girlfriend has a 12" iBook, and I a 12" PowerBook. My PowerBook consistantly gets better signal strength anywhere in my apartment. Usually about a bar better, although in some places its more.

    As the previous poster said, maybe its just the iBook 12"s, or maybe just her machine, I don't know... just my experience.
  6. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    i have trouble believing that. . . of three powerbooks i know (including mine) and four iBooks i know (including my old one) and numerous threads i have read on this same topic the PB gets worse single than the iBook. a simple understanding of radio signals and interaction with al vs interaction with plastic would also clearly indicate that the iBook is more ideal for a clear radio signal.

    ever wonder why your PB has a thin strip of plastic on either side of your screen? its for the airport antenna, cause they would be esentially worthless if completely wrapped in al.
  7. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    I used to have a TiPowerBook and used it with my wireless router.
    signal was poor (1/2 bars sometimes 3), exept when I was in the same room as the router or above it in my bedroom... 3bars all the time or sometimes 4

    now I have my G5 (with the external apple antenna, so just standard, and that sits in my Photostudio, further away than where I used to use my TiBook on the net... because when I was working in my studio I never got any signal... so be sure its the material... why do you think the gave the G5 this external antenna port ;-) I get 3bars and sometimes it drops to 2 I could get a Dr Bott antenna for it to boost the reception... but now its fine, I can use my internet while working in the studio, thats new :-D

  8. jemeinc macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2004
    South Jersey
    Sure you don't have that backwards ?... If not, that's rare... It's widely accepted that the iBooks are much better in this area...
  9. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I have both the ibook and powerbook. Ibook has a slighly better signal than powerbook always. but if an airportcard can get better signal than you. you need to check. Most of the time the antenna connector on your powerbook would not have gone completely in. This happened to my ibook. I used to think that it was a problem with ibook but it so happened that after increasing the RAM the guy in the apple store did not fix the antenna althe way in. There should be two clicks before it gets completely locked. So check that first.
  10. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I use my PB12 connected thru airport every day.
    Two of my friends has ibooks (12" 1GHZ and 14" 933MHZ), and we have about the same reception when we sits around the campus and works.
  11. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    I never said you have to believe it... nothing like being called a liar, eh? The fact remains that it is true. Side by side the PowerBook gets better signal strength. Mine is a Rev B, hers is brand new- not sure which revision.

    Never did I say that its always the case. Never did I imply the notion that the aluminum hurts the PowerBook's reception is false. All I said was that in our case, in one apartment, I get better reception. I don't see how that's so hard to believe.
  12. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    certainly didn't intend to call you a liar. i just have trouble beleiving that this is true. i wonder if it has anything to do with the basestation you are using, what basestation are you using?

    i just wish my PB worked better than an iBook! i honestly dont like the reseption i get on my PB!
  13. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Didn't one version of the pbook have the antenna along the keyboard instead of along the lcd? I thought I read something about this.
  14. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    I'm using the AirportExpress as my Basestation, with WPA personal encryption. I used to use a generic D-Link basestation, which would have been interesting to try. Now you've got me wondering if it does have something to do with the basestation, perhaps even the antenna orientation. Technically, that could have a drastic effect on signal stregth. I've noticed, on campus in particular (where the signal is weaker), that the amount of tilt I give to my PB's LCD screen can affect signal strength by a bar or two. My basestation itself is simply laying horizontally on a desk, connected with an extension cord, haha.

    In response to grapes, I can't say for sure if PowerBooks ever had the antenna there, as this is my first. I can say that my PowerBook's antenna are along the sides of the LCD screen.
  15. Toe macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    Titanium PowerBooks have the antenna in the base... the little rubber bumpers are down there, not up on the screen as with Aluminums.

    Also on TiBooks, the antenna could come loose a little. You can fix that by turning it off, popping out the battery, and gently rubbing the barcode (that is hidden by the battery, against the exterior wall). The antenna is behind that barcode, and rubbing it helps fix it. A little.

    Humorously, Titanium is a great insulator, meaning radio waves can't get through it at all. The little bumpers on the sides are only somewhat effective. I can see why Apple moved the antennas up to the screen, where they are a little bigger and better angled.

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