Macbook 12 Wifi weak?

abhi182

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 24, 2016
23
28
I use a Netgear R7000 router that used to provide almost full coverage over two floors in my house on almost all my devices.
I recently got a Macbook 12 which seems to be having major issues when it is some distance away from the router
e.g. In a room where I used to get seamless connectivity on my Macbook Air 13 (early 2014) with a RSSI of 78-80db, the macbook 12 struggles real bad almost to the point of being non usable
Interestingly the signal value it shoes is around the same (RSSI ~80db, noise of around 95dbm)
yet at the same signal level, it is unable to access the net or even ping the router.

I would like to believe it is a software issue rather than a hardware limitation (like a weak antenna) esp given the fact that the signal levels reported by OS X are roughly the same

As a workaround, I have temporarily installed another router on the 2nd floor but of course, the experience is nowhere as seamless as what it used to be with the macbook air with which there was no need to switch
networks

FWIW, an older macbook 11 (2011 model) also works in the weak coverage areas albeit with some dropped packets - The macbook 12 on the other hand drops all packets in the same areas
All systems were running 10.11.3- I update the macbook 12 to 10.11.4 but that hasn't helped either.
Any thoughts?
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,214
2,106
US
Unless I missed it, you didn't address the third possibility -- your individual retina Macbook has a hardware fault of some sort.

My rMB has been fine and displays solid wifi performance. I'd suggest you have yours looked at by Apple.
 

abhi182

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 24, 2016
23
28
Unless I missed it, you didn't address the third possibility -- your individual retina Macbook has a hardware fault of some sort.

My rMB has been fine and displays solid wifi performance. I'd suggest you have yours looked at by Apple.
The reason why I haven't marked it down to hardware is because it works perfectly well within reasonable range from the router.
It's only where the signal starts fading that I notice a major drop on the 12 vs usable signal on the others.
If possible can you run a check against any other system you may have at a low signal location
 

tom123

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2006
122
22
Ohio
I use a Netgear R7000 router that used to provide almost full coverage over two floors in my house on almost all my devices.
I recently got a Macbook 12 which seems to be having major issues when it is some distance away from the router
e.g. In a room where I used to get seamless connectivity on my Macbook Air 13 (early 2014) with a RSSI of 78-80db, the macbook 12 struggles real bad almost to the point of being non usable
Interestingly the signal value it shoes is around the same (RSSI ~80db, noise of around 95dbm)
yet at the same signal level, it is unable to access the net or even ping the router.

I would like to believe it is a software issue rather than a hardware limitation (like a weak antenna) esp given the fact that the signal levels reported by OS X are roughly the same

As a workaround, I have temporarily installed another router on the 2nd floor but of course, the experience is nowhere as seamless as what it used to be with the macbook air with which there was no need to switch
networks

FWIW, an older macbook 11 (2011 model) also works in the weak coverage areas albeit with some dropped packets - The macbook 12 on the other hand drops all packets in the same areas
All systems were running 10.11.3- I update the macbook 12 to 10.11.4 but that hasn't helped either.
Any thoughts?
I use a Netgear R7000 router that used to provide almost full coverage over two floors in my house on almost all my devices.
I recently got a Macbook 12 which seems to be having major issues when it is some distance away from the router
e.g. In a room where I used to get seamless connectivity on my Macbook Air 13 (early 2014) with a RSSI of 78-80db, the macbook 12 struggles real bad almost to the point of being non usable
Interestingly the signal value it shoes is around the same (RSSI ~80db, noise of around 95dbm)
yet at the same signal level, it is unable to access the net or even ping the router.

I would like to believe it is a software issue rather than a hardware limitation (like a weak antenna) esp given the fact that the signal levels reported by OS X are roughly the same

As a workaround, I have temporarily installed another router on the 2nd floor but of course, the experience is nowhere as seamless as what it used to be with the macbook air with which there was no need to switch
networks

FWIW, an older macbook 11 (2011 model) also works in the weak coverage areas albeit with some dropped packets - The macbook 12 on the other hand drops all packets in the same areas
All systems were running 10.11.3- I update the macbook 12 to 10.11.4 but that hasn't helped either.
Any thoughts?
from another thread

I had a lot of wifi drops and went to system preference----network---advanced----TCP/IP----configure ipv6 and changed it to link-local only.

Did that about 2 weeks ago, and it has been flawless since.
 

kis

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2007
1,637
719
Switzerland
The constant wifi issues I had with both the first and the second one were the reason for my switching to a Surface Pro (after 20 years of Mac use). Unfortunately, the SP4 has other issues (e.g. abysmal battery life)
 

happyslayer

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2008
910
411
Glendale, AZ
I've had great WIFI on my 2015 rMB for the year. I get pretty exceptional speeds especially if the router supports AC. No real issues with both a recently purchased Apple Airport Extreme and before that a Netgear 6400 (AC1750). Also, I use it at numerous customer offices and Starbucks with many different router types and brands--no connection or signal strength issues. Also with my iPhone 6 as a hotspot. I'd maybe get your rMB looked at by one of the Geniuses if you are near an Apple store. If possible, document as many problems and what/when/where you were when it's having issues. The Geniuses aren't bad if you can give them a lot of information and detailed symptoms of your problems I have found.
 

abhi182

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 24, 2016
23
28
I've had great WIFI on my 2015 rMB for the year. I get pretty exceptional speeds especially if the router supports AC. No real issues with both a recently purchased Apple Airport Extreme and before that a Netgear 6400 (AC1750). Also, I use it at numerous customer offices and Starbucks with many different router types and brands--no connection or signal strength issues. Also with my iPhone 6 as a hotspot. I'd maybe get your rMB looked at by one of the Geniuses if you are near an Apple store. If possible, document as many problems and what/when/where you were when it's having issues. The Geniuses aren't bad if you can give them a lot of information and detailed symptoms of your problems I have found.
There are absolutely no issues with the speed - In proximity of the router on an AC connection, I have got transfer speeds as high as 30MB/s (240mbps)

Anyway , I did some more testing last night - I guess the issue is not so much with the rMB but for the fact that the MBA has a above par antenna
I tried accessing the same network with two phones and two windows laptops from the specific low coverage area (My WC :p) and they faced the same issue
OTOH, the MBA maintained the connection from that spot like a champ

As for the geniuses, I live in Pune, India. While there quite a few apple stores around here, most of the tech support folks there are not quite experienced on Mac as the love for all things apple is a relatively recent phenomena here . most of these guys have done tech support on windows systems all their life and recently poached.
So the good part about that is they will gladly process a replacement if I raise even a slight fuss.. But I guess it really won't help my cause

The only request I have for anyone who may have an older macbook (with the plastic logo - and thus a more open antenna) and a rMB.
If possible, a quick test along these lines would help me be at peace
- Monitor the signal strength (wireless diagnostics>windows>scanner)
- Find a point where the signal strength drops to -80dbm or so
- check 1) -Do both laptop report roughly the same strength?
- check 2) - ping your router from this location and see if there are any dropped packets on either
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Have you checked the WiFi channel your router is using? It can be done using the same scanner as you mentioned in your post above. If many WiFis are using the same channel, then there's more interference that might be causing a weak or no signal at all on your MB. The scanner tool also recommends the best channels for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, and you can configure the channel in the router's settings.
 

abhi182

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 24, 2016
23
28
The router is configured to use the least noisy channel possible.
Anyway, I did some more testing and finally solved my problem by adjusting the antennas on the router and now I do get a usable signal in the washroom

Having said that, I can say with a fair bit of certainty that the antenna on the rMB is not as good as the older Airs/MBs
Most people will not notice the difference , esp in an apartment/condo
However people living in a house with 2 (or more floors) will almost certainly notice a signal drop in the fringe areas compared to the older Macs

For what it's worth, the older macs had better reception than a typical dell while this one is at par (so a bit of a step-back)

I upgraded to a top of the line router 2 years ago (netgear nighthawk r7000) just to avoid the hassle of my older 1 router for each floor setup and was hating going back to that
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,644
1,810
Is it the least noisy channel at the router or at the problematic location though? You can use Apple's Airport app on your iDevice to measure signal strength / clarity at the location you want to use your MacBook.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,570
587
I've just noticed similar behaviour on a Macbook. Its wi-fi works flawlessly when connected to an Airport network, but struggles to keep connection with either SSID being broadcast by a Netgear router, regardless of how close it is to the device. It connects instantly to the SSID, but after 5-10 minutes it just stops working...
 

pilotkid

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2006
915
50
Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
I've just noticed similar behaviour on a Macbook. Its wi-fi works flawlessly when connected to an Airport network, but struggles to keep connection with either SSID being broadcast by a Netgear router, regardless of how close it is to the device. It connects instantly to the SSID, but after 5-10 minutes it just stops working...
I am having similar problems lately. I have called my internet provider about five or six times and have now had three or four techs out to my house. My MacBook is getting HORRIBLE speeds around my small house (1200sq) and I have a Netgear Nighthawk X4S. I'm starting to think its a hardware issue because when I did a speed test on a 802.11n iMac(2012 model) I got the max speeds available. I started a thread under the networking tab and have had someone really troubleshooting the problem with me but we haven't found a fix yet. Unfortunately I forgot to buy AppleCare with my MacBook (2015 model) and I just ran out of the one year warranty in February. I feel like I'm stuck with this issue now...
 

fokmik

macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2016
3,805
3,096
USA
I have similars issues,with my imac or macbook pro no problems but with the macbook have a low connectivity. Its a thing that the 12" macbook has a weaker wifi antenna. At least the 2015 model.
Yes i have tried in the same room 3 models of 2015 macbook. So not a hardware problem,only a weaker antenna
 

pilotkid

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2006
915
50
Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
I have similars issues,with my imac or macbook pro no problems but with the macbook have a low connectivity. Its a thing that the 12" macbook has a weaker wifi antenna. At least the 2015 model.
Yes i have tried in the same room 3 models of 2015 macbook. So not a hardware problem,only a weaker antenna
Thats crazy! I have fiber (1gbs up and down) and I'm getting 100mbs up and down on a GOOD day.
[doublepost=1492636418][/doublepost]
Thats crazy! I have fiber (1gbs up and down) and I'm getting 100mbs up and down on a GOOD day.
Now that I think about it though, I didn't have this problem about three or four months ago...its a relatively new development...Soooo hmmmm. Turns out this was the perfect computer to forget to buy AppleCare for.:mad::mad::mad:
 

stgall

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2013
11
1
I moved from a MacBook Air to the Macbook (2015) when it first came out and immediately noticed that the wifi reception didn't seem to be as good. It's speedy at home (I have an Eero network, which is mind-blowing) but it will regularly struggle to join networks in cafes, often in spots where colleagues who have the Pro or Air can connect without an issue. I'm learning to live with it...
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,570
587
The weaker antenna makes sense, but doesn't explain the behaviour I'm seeing. If I'm sitting next to the NetGear router, the wi-fi drops, but it will remain connected to the Time Capsule which is situated upstairs.

Everything is running the latest firmware so I'm tempted to drop the Macbook in to Apple anyway and get them to look at it.
 
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pilotkid

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2006
915
50
Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
I just had a Cox Communications tech leave my house about 30 minutes ago. We confirmed through multiple different tests and scenarios that it is, in fact my MacBook that is messed up. My upload speeds are great, 600mbs+. Download speeds are maybe 100-150mbs. Both of these results are over WiFi AND a direct ethernet connection via a USB-C adapter. Very annoying!
 

stgall

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2013
11
1
Both of these results are over WiFi AND a direct ethernet connection via a USB-C adapter
Am sure nobody else could be this dumb, but I once tested my MacBook on ethernet using one of these adaptors I'd picked up somewhere and was stunned by the slow speeds. Turned out the adaptor itself was limited to 100Mbps.. Facepalm.
 

pilotkid

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2006
915
50
Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
Am sure nobody else could be this dumb, but I once tested my MacBook on ethernet using one of these adaptors I'd picked up somewhere and was stunned by the slow speeds. Turned out the adaptor itself was limited to 100Mbps.. Facepalm.
I just went to Anker's website and verified. It supports speeds up to 1gbs, so I'm good. Thats funny though, it sounds like something that would happen to me.