Macbook Pro WiFi signal strength

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Casey01, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Casey01 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #1
    So whenever I'm upstairs the wi-fi signal on my MBP is most of the time really choppy. It'll be really good one second and then it becomes crappy for a little bit, I won't lose it. But websites won't load. But when I come downstairs where the router is I have no problems at all.

    I checked on Kismac and when I'm upstairs the Max Signal is 26 and my signal jumps from 0 to 26 to 0 and so forth.
    And when I'm downstairs it sticks 46 out of 46(Max Signal).

    What could be causing the signal to go whack-o on me?
     
  2. Mik3F macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    #2
    Interference can be the cause. Distance from the router etc.

    Is your router blocked by anything where it is currently located?
     
  3. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    #3
    Aluminum Macbooks have notoriously bad wifi reception. Something else in your house may be broadcasting some interference. This combined with poor reception would result in the constant signal loss that you're experiencing.
     
  4. Casey01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #4
    Besides walls, one floor, and some furniture not really. The only two other devices connected to the router are the Xbox which has been off and another laptop which sits in the same room as the router.

    The distance would be about 21.5 feet.(Thank god I learned Geometry, lol Pythagorean Theorem)
     
  5. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #5
    If the router is below you, then that's probably borderline too far away for a Macbook, especially with several walls in the way. Is it possible for you to move the router to the top floor? That would give you much better reception everywhere.
     
  6. Mik3F macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2011
    #6
    i don't agree with that, my router is downstairs and I get full signal where ever I am in the house (upstairs or downstairs)

    Have you tried changing the wireless channel?
     
  7. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #7
    You don't agree with physics, or is there something else I'm missing?
     
  8. Casey01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #8
    We are thinking of moving our desktop upstairs. But wound't moving it upstairs decrease the signal of our laptop downstairs?
     
  9. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #9
    I think it will depend more on the layout of your house than anything else. Do you have the router sitting on a big, flat surface right now, or is it tucked in a cabinet somewhere?
     
  10. Mik3F macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2011
    #10
    I don't agree with you saying that being upstairs is too far away for the signal to reach.

    As I said I get a full signal no matter where I am in the house. My router is downstairs and I can use the mac in the furthest point way from it (more than 21.5ft) without loosing any signal.
     
  11. Casey01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #11
    It's sitting on a flat desk but there is a Copier(Wired) sitting right next to it.
     
  12. mikeo007, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #12
    Well, a desk should be fine, so you're probably getting the maximum possible signal to upstairs. Basically, your best bet is to try relocating it and see how it affects everything else. It depends on a lot of different factors like what's in your walls, and how many other wireless devices are around (portable phones, etc.)

    The one thing you do know is that everything but the macbook gets a good signal with the router downstairs. So you could try moving it up a floor and seeing how it affects the performance of the other devices. The Xbox very likely has a higher wireless range than the Macbook, so it may not suffer as much from being further away from the router. As for using the laptop downstairs, if you place the router on the floor upstairs, it would probably give a better signal overall since it's close enough to the lower floor while still being on the upper level.
     
  13. DudeMartin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #13
    Well I am laying on my bed right now as I am typing, and our router is in the 'computer room' upstairs. I have 4-bar WiFi connection, and am experiencing no slowdowns. Your problem probably has to do with something other than your MBP's wireless card.
     
  14. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #14
    Houses are all built differently. Just because the signal penetrates your walls, doesn't mean it will penetrate the OPs. To add credit to the weak macbook signal, my router at my house can not reach upstairs, when my macbook is less than 15 feet away in a straight line, yet my 5-year old Dell, sitting on the same desk, has un-interrupted connectivity.
     
  15. DudeMartin macrumors regular

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    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #15
    The point of me saying that was to assure that the problem isn't in the MacBook Pro, it is some sort of other external problem, such as interference.
     
  16. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2010
    Location:
    US East Coast
    #16
    I believe that is no longer the case, although I don't know when it was changed. I looked into this last October as I was shopping for my first "metal" 'book, and I live with very weak wi-fi reception (over the hill and through the woods, so to speak).

    I read and was told that the newer metal 'books have the antenna placed in the plastic hinge area (as do the plastic 'books), so reception across all should be the same.

    Since there was still a re-stocking fee at the time, I got the Apple store manager's approval for a no-fee-restocking if I found that the MBP's wi-fi reception was any worse than my two plastic 'books.

    I brought home, set it up next to my iBook and right where my (RIP) 2008 Macbook had always sat. There is one place where I can *just* eke out three bars, but usually get two bars. Then on the couch I can usually *just* get two bars but sometimes only one bar.

    The 2010 MBP's reception was exactly the same as the iBook and plastic Macbook, from what I could tell. I kept the MBP. (Of course now I'm reading that the 2011 MBP does even better than ever thanks to a new antenna.)

    So, while I agree that older metal 'books had wi-fi reception problems (my brother had a series of them back when I was using my iBook and my reception was then better than his); I don't believe that is the case anymore.

    OP: Are you using a router with the short, black antennae that you can aim? If so, you might try making a free, "Windsurfer" to put on it. This is basically a specifically-sized-and-shaped "butterfly/taco" of paper and aluminum foil that you plunk down on the antenna(e). It gained me one to two bars in my "over the hill and through the woods" setup. I used to have to use an AC-powered Buffalo antenna booster, but no more! :) You can find exact plans free on the web. My router has three of those black antennae, and I put Windsurfers on two of them (the three antennae are close together so could not fit one on the middle one).

    Huge, huge difference. Metal buildings included!

    Miss Terri
     
  17. mikeo007, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #17
    You can make on of those out of a vegetable steamer too :)

    As for the wifi reception issue, it may be improved from previous macbooks, but in general, the newer macbooks (2010 models at least) still have poor reception compared to other brands of (clarified :)) notebooks. I have two laptops sitting right beside each other here, the mac is sitting at about 50% signal, while the little MSI Wind is at almost 90%
     
  18. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2010
    Location:
    US East Coast
    #18
    Well that may be true, but the way it came across in your previous post was that the metal Macs in particular were worse; i.e. worse than plastic Macs. Since this did used to be the case, but apparently is not anymore, I wanted to clarify it. I can't speak to non-Apple computers, so no disagreement there.

    I read about the metal mesh antennae, but decided to make a Windsurfer first as it was so easy. The reception gain was so great, in my case, that I never tried anything else.
     
  19. Casey01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #19
    My MBP is a 1,1 if that tells you anything. And yes, it does have one of those short black antennas. I shall try to do what you said.
     
  20. dyrer macrumors member

    dyrer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Greece
    #20
    Hello
    I have iMac and MacBook Pro '11 close to antenna about 1 feet and and signal strength is about 75% for both computers.
    Is this normal or because is a 802.11g modem router has this low signal strength
     
  21. NZed macrumors 65816

    NZed

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Canada, Eh?
    #21
    Same problem as me, except that i know it has to be my MBP since my friend brought his same 13" 2010 MBP to my house to day and the computer set side by side, my MBP's internet connection fails and his works!
     
  22. dyrer macrumors member

    dyrer

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    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Greece
    #22
    Also a friend of mine, has iMac and close to his modem (i dont know what type) has low signal
     
  23. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    The place where Apple designs stuff
    #23
    This is bothering me. I'm currently in classroom that has moderate-low wifi reception, and I can't connect to the wifi. However, the guy next to me on his PC is browsing the web super fast. Most likely cause his pc is plastic. Grrr...
     
  24. iLukeJoseph macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    #24
    Like other have said, change the wireless channel. On the 2.4 range there are only 3 dedicated channels (1, 6, 11) everything else over laps.

    Also the higher you place the router, the better coverage you will have.

    I didn't see you mention which router you have? If it an older wireless G, you may want to look at upgrading. Best bang for buck I think is the netgear wndr3700. Maybe a little overkill, but has amazing speed and coverage.
     
  25. iforbes macrumors 6502

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    Dec 21, 2011
    #25
    I'm not so sure about this...my aluminum macbook was getting great signal from a coffee shop while I was across the street and 11 floors up!
     

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