MBA keeps disconnecting from net only when downloading

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
For the last two days my MBA has been disconnecting from the Internet; it's only been happening when downloading. Sometimes it goes 5 minutes before disconnecting/losing the connection to the router, sometimes it happens within 30 seconds. Is it my router, my crappy Centurylink DSL, or something else? The router is a brand new Netgear Nighthawk router from Costco. It didn't happen nearly as much with my old, outdated Netgear router so I would guess that the router is to blame since it's the newest link in the chain.
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
Did some testing and only the MBA is disconnecting so it can't be the router I wouldn't think. Downloads work fine on my iPad via iCab Mobile. What's wrong with my computer? Argh, so frustrating.
 
Last edited:

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2009
1,776
1,522
Sweden
Are you downloading a small JPG image from Safari, or are you downloading 10 torrents simultaneously with each torrent connected to 60 peers? Trying to get a feel of how hard you're pushing the MBA/router.
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
Are you downloading a small JPG image from Safari, or are you downloading 10 torrents simultaneously with each torrent connected to 60 peers? Trying to get a feel of how hard you're pushing the MBA/router.
Single files of about 600-900 MB per file. I checked and had no DNS servers listed in the Network section of my MBA. Could that explain the disconnecting since I usually have either OpenDNS or Google DNS listed there but I had to remove them a day prior because they conflicted with the Public Library's WiFi and the Internet wouldn't work there until I removed them.

Edit: Still does it after DNS servers added. Didn't do it when connecting directly to DSL modem and not using Nighthawk router/wi-fi. Is it the router then? I have no idea at this point.
 
Last edited:

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2009
1,776
1,522
Sweden
I'd get access to another router and try it for a day or two. If you get less disconnects, then it's obviously the Netgear router. As you say, it's the newest link to the chain.

The reason I asked if it was torrents or not is because bittorrent is famous for bringing routers down, at least with default settings which usually is a ********* of peers that it connects to repeatedly. I've had many cheap routers back in the days with this problem (but maybe everyone is much better nowadays).
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
I'd get access to another router and try it for a day or two. If you get less disconnects, then it's obviously the Netgear router. As you say, it's the newest link to the chain.

The reason I asked if it was torrents or not is because bittorrent is famous for bringing routers down, at least with default settings which usually is a ********* of peers that it connects to repeatedly. I've had many cheap routers back in the days with this problem (but maybe everyone is much better nowadays).
I tried a download via iCabMobile on my iPad today and it worked fine, same router (the Nighthawk) so I don't know what the deal is. I still have my old router and if I encounter disconnects the next time I download via my MBA I will try and plug that one back in. I shouldn't have to redo the setup or anything I assume since I just disconnected it which is no different than if the power goes out or turning it off overnight like I've read some people do.
 

joemod

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2010
196
23
Athens, Greece
I tried a download via iCabMobile on my iPad today and it worked fine, same router (the Nighthawk) so I don't know what the deal is. I still have my old router and if I encounter disconnects the next time I download via my MBA I will try and plug that one back in. I shouldn't have to redo the setup or anything I assume since I just disconnected it which is no different than if the power goes out or turning it off overnight like I've read some people do.
Hi,
Some notes/questions:
1) I do not understand what's happening. Does your MBA disconnect from your router or does your router disconnect from your provider? Because MBA disconnecting from internet can be either of two
2) Have you tried using another browser?
3) Have you tried changing the WiFi channel in your router? In my Nexus 7 tablet (please don't crucify me for this), I have a very useful application which gives details about the wifi signal called WiFi analyzer, including its strength and proposing alternate channels. Check if there is something similar on iPad. I suspect there is an issue with the channel.
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
Hi,
Some notes/questions:
1) I do not understand what's happening. Does your MBA disconnect from your router or does your router disconnect from your provider? Because MBA disconnecting from internet can be either of two
2) Have you tried using another browser?
3) Have you tried changing the WiFi channel in your router? In my Nexus 7 tablet (please don't crucify me for this), I have a very useful application which gives details about the wifi signal called WiFi analyzer, including its strength and proposing alternate channels. Check if there is something similar on iPad. I suspect there is an issue with the channel.
I get a "Internet connection lost" message when downloading from Safari. I'll try another browser but don't see how that would change things. IOS doesn't have any such program as it violates the terms of use for developers as it apparently requires lower level access that Apple doesn't want to allow. Maybe iOS 8 will be different.

I have tried changing the channel. Didn't have any effect.
 

joemod

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2010
196
23
Athens, Greece
I get a "Internet connection lost" message when downloading from Safari. I'll try another browser but don't see how that would change things. IOS doesn't have any such program as it violates the terms of use for developers as it apparently requires lower level access that Apple doesn't want to allow. Maybe iOS 8 will be different.

I have tried changing the channel. Didn't have any effect.
I proposed changing browser because in both my old windows pc and macbook pro, safari can not have more than few connections open at the same time. You are right about iOS restriction as the program exists only in Cydia.

So lets start from the beginning. First of all I want you to do the following test. While downloading a file that causes problem, I want you to have a terminal open and keep pinging the router. To find router's ip do the following. Click on the wifi icon -> Open network Preferences... -> (with wi-fi connection selected on left pane) click advanced -> select tcp/ip tab. Let's say that the router's ip is 192.168.1.1. After that go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal. In command prompt type (without quotes) "ping 192.168.1.1" If pinging fails while safari presents the error message, then the connection with the rooter gets interrupted. Having done that let's state possible problems:
1) Rooter problem. If you can, use another rooter.
2) Safari problem. Use another browser
3) Hardware malfunction. Try booting a linux distro and download the same file. For example, http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-mac-osx. Note that if this present the same problem that does not necessarily mean that your MBA is not working properly. It may be a rooter problem. If you have access to another laptop then that's better.

I would like to note that because your iOS device works properly that doesn't mean that MBA should also work. For example at home my MBP has trouble connecting with my WiFi, while both my android devices connect easily. Where I live there are plenty of Wireless connections so that creates problems.
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
I think I've figured it out but need advice on how to fix it:

For some reason, when I activate/use the wi-fi on my iPad while downloading on my MBA, it disconnects. Turn off my iPad's wi-fi, poof! No disconnecting. How do I fix that? It seems like the two are interfering with one another.
 

lun

macrumors newbie
Sep 6, 2014
21
0
Why don't you setup one network for your mobile devices (2.4 Ghz) and another for your mac (5Ghz)? If you assign them different names you now which device to connect.

I do it this way, only Yosemite doesn't like 5Ghz right now and prefers 2.4Ghz as well. Mavericks and ML work.
I have no disconnects and all of my devices connected to my router at the same time. MBA, ipad and iphone, android and Netgear.
 

HarryWarden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 27, 2012
594
96
So the issue kept happening. I tried an app called SpeedLimit on my MacBook Air to artificially limit download speed and the error has stopped occurring. Problem is, I also have a Chromebook and cannot find an app for that OS to do the same. Is there a way to limit speed on my network as a whole with an app for Mac or something? I tried to do it via my Netgear router's settings and even the slowest (54 Mbps) still caused the error. If I called CenturyLink, how would I even explain the problem? "My internet is too fast" seems like an odd complaint.
 

gramw

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2011
38
2
Not much help but I think I have the same while uploading. I use backblaze to backup files and now I get a message saying my MBA is offline when I leave it on overnight.

It used to work fine on mavericks but since I've upgraded to Yosemite its every night. Strange!
 
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