Is my AirPort Extreme (4th Gen) going bad?!?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by trilla shocka, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. trilla shocka, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012

    trilla shocka macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2011
    Hi all. Sorry for the long post but here goes.

    I am a 23 year old male college student living with three other roommates (same age).

    We moved into our house two summers ago. I purchased my AirPort Extreme 2nd or 3rd day. The set up was cake and the unit functioned flawlessly. I'm talking 3-4 Xbox's (some wired/some wireless) 3-4 computers (gaming rigs, laptops, etc. again some wired, most running via wireless) and multipe iPads and iPhones all hooked up to it and it was LIGHTNING fast. I was extremely impressed with the units performance.

    I was coming from an old Linksys G 54Mbps/sec wireless router from highschool so the AirPort Extreme was quite an upgrade!

    A couple weeks ago I get a knock on our front door. I open it and there is a Time Warner Cable (local Cable/High Speed Internet provider in my area) technician in my doorstep. I think to myself huh, this is kinda strange? I didn't make a call or anything. I mention that to the Technician and he explains he needs to 'check' our hookup.

    I explain to the Technician that the cable hookup is located in the crawlspace underneath our house and that the door leading to that has a massive master lock on it placed by our landlord. Lastly, I explain to the technician that I nor none of my room mates have they key to that lock and that he would have to get up with my landlord (who lives down the street from me but was out of town this current weekend) about that it. He seemed a bit annoyed by my response. I was already almost out of the door heading to work, so I went into work that night thinking nothing of the exchange earlier that day.

    Next day odd enough myself and the roomies began to notice a SEVERE drop off/lag/lagspike/bottlenecking behavior in our connection. I think nothing of it as this happens every now and then and reset our connection. Everything seemed fine for about 5 minutes but then again it began to act up.

    I call Time Warner to have a Technician come out. Different guy this time. I explain in full what happened with my first unexpected visit. He replied 'hmm, that's odd..' He then asks where the cable hookup for our house is. I had called my Landlord in advance and gotten the key this time. I take him out back to the entrance to the crawlspace. We enter and he fumbles around for a bit. The Technician then states 'Well this is where your TV hookup is, not the internet. Lets have a look on the other side of the house'. Sure enough there was another hookup on the opposite side of the house.

    Unfortunately I had to leave for work again that day. Was called in last minute. I explain to the technician that I have to leave. He tells me he can't really stay due to liability issues without anyone 18 or older present at the house. I understood completely and told him that was fine. He then offered to at least check the hookup and connections on the other side of the house. I told him thanks and headed back inside to throw my work clothes on. 5 minutes later I head back outside and the Technician's exact words were 'the last guy really messed these wires up, you guys had some seriously loose connections, this should fix the problem'.

    Well it sort of half fixed it. More like 1/4 fixed it. We still lag, it spikes, crashes, etc.

    So AGAIN I call TWCABLE. 3rd Technician. I explain to this kind fellow in full again and in every detail of what has led up to the problem. I ask him was it possible that the company (TWC) noticed how much bandwidth we were sucking up and sent out a technician to 'cap' our connection? He explains that they can only cap speeds/give out upgrades by calling or going into the sales office. I found that to probably be a load of bs since on move in day August 2010 when the internet/cable was installed in our house a TWC Technician voluntarily installed a booster to 'boost' our connection/picture quality for free.

    He runs a various amount of tests and then runs a speed test to test the connection. Everything was 100% A-OK according to this guy. At first I didn't buy it. That was until he showed me his readings on his computer and mine.

    He determined it could be two things.

    1. You could have an older device that only connects to B/G and not N. This could be bogging down your connection. The only thing that comes to mind would be iPads/iPhones and ONE older generation Xbox 360 my room mate has (the rest of us have the newer gen consoles). He connects to Xbox Live via Wireless on one of those old $99 upgrade cards that plugs into the back of your console. Keep in mind the network functioned FINE for MONTHS with this setup. So I am beginning to throw that possibility out the window.

    2. Your AirPort Extreme could be going bad/dead. I am beginning to think it is this. But the unit is only two years old? Is it normal for these things to wear out that quick? Maybe too much stress? Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

    Also, I have tried messing around in the AirPort utility between 2.4GHz and the 5GHz. I am running the newest AirPort utility update. And no we do not have cordless phones or anything of that nature interfering to my knowledge.

    In short my AirPort extreme used to work flawlessly and I am beginning to think it is the cancer of the network.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Switch it with another router and see if the behavior persists.
  3. Rocky244 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2012
    The 4th generation AE is capable of handing b/g devices and n devices simultaneously, which is why you haven't seen any connection issues in the past, and why you shouldn't be seeing them today.

    If it were me I'd do a few things:

    First I'd try resetting the modem. I'd do this by pulling the power cable out of the unit, then I'd let it sit for around 5 minutes before plugging it back in.

    Next I'd reset the router, and if the issue continued to persist at this point, I would go into the advanced options and check out the list of wireless clients. I don't think this is possible with the newest Airport Utility software, so you will have to look online for Airport Utility 5.6. The Wireless Clients list is somewhere in there, I think it's Advanced > Logs & Statistics > Wireless Clients. This list will show you ALL of the devices connected to your router, including the b/g/n status. I would figure out exactly which devices I expected to be hooked up, and I would look up their b/g/n capabilities. I would then check and make sure that the only devices connected. If any others are connected, someone could be accessing your router and taking away bandwith. Also I'd ensure each device that is known to be connect is not sucking up massive amounts from downloading.

    If neither of those things helped, I'd buy a new router with the intention of returning it after checking it's abilities. If it still didn't fix the issue, I'd assume TW had screwed me, capping my data limits because I was costing them too much money. I'd maybe try upgrading to Extreme Wireless with them, or just consider another company altogether.

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