Mac won't stay connected to 5ghz network

Discussion in 'macOS' started by shftoptk, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. shftoptk macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2016
    I set up a 5ghz network on my time machine (time capsule? the router with a hard drive in it). Just noticed this problem that is happening on a late 2011 Mac mini on 10.11.4. I have one router, two ssids (one called "name" and other called "name 5ghz" both have same password. I only connect my 2 macs and xbox to the 5ghz channel so that it is faster and easier to download files from the web and my time machine. The rest of my 10-15 devices stay on 2.4.

    I will boot up, it will connect to 2.4, I will click on 5ghz, it will connect, and then 10 or 15 minutes later it will go back to 2.4. Sometimes this will happen while I am downloading files which is pretty annoying. Is there a setting somewhere that prioritizes one ssid over another? I read somewhere on apple's site that the iphone automatically chooses the strongest access point, is that true with macs? If so, that really doesn't make sense to me. The mac never moves like an iphone would, so why would it choose the stronger band(when the faster band would be ideal)? I know the 5ghz is going to be weaker (2.4 is 98% signal strength, 5 is 80%)
    And the speeds (speedtest twice, averaged):
    2.4 = 19.75 down, 4.12 up
    5 = 52.86 down, 4.35 up

    So tldr: how can I make my mac stay on "name 5ghz" without forgetting the 2.4 ghz channel "name", which I still require when running some programs.
    Like I said, I just set up the 5ghz band a couple of weeks ago and know next to nothing about how mac interacts with my setup. I searched around and found similar problems but they were older threads so not sure how valid they are.
  2. Rok73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2015
    Planet Earth
    First of all there's no need of naming the 2.4 and the 5 GHz bands differently. A 5 Ghz capable device will connect to the corresponding network. I'm not sure for which software you would need the Mac to specifically connect to the 2.4 GHz band? What is that related to?

    One question: do you have many other Wi-Fi networks surrounding you? I live in a flat in the middle of town and there are lots of (around 30) Wi-Fi networks shown in my list.

    My Apple TV 4 sometimes connects to the 2.4 GHz band by itself plus we have around 15 devices in household that need a Wi-Fi connection. My best guess is that it's because of networks interfering with each other.

    Maybe try setting your router to a different channel and see how this works out for you.
  3. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    The 5 GHz is faster but more finicky. Signal degradation over the same distance will be greater and it doesn't travel through barriers as well.

    Likely the issue is either interference or distance. If you have a Windows PC or an Android smartphone, Amped Wireless makes a nice tool seeing what's going on in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    descending into the Maelström
    OS X's builtin wifi diagnostics:

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