MBP Unibody 15" - external drive wifi drop out - guaranteed!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chakko, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. chakko macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I'm having problems with my wifi. I have this new unibody MBP and all of a sudden my wifi performance has dropped dramatically. In fact, it totally drops out ALL the time. I used to have a 2007 15" MBP and apart from a few brick walls, I had never had many recurrent problems with the wifi. Nothing has changed - the router & modem are the same and I used Time Machine to transfer my life onto the new machine (it worked flawlessly BTW). I've even tried moving and switching off my microwave oven.

    Anyway, after much messing around I have found that the problem occurs (most and like clockwork) when I plug in an external harddrive. I have two external drives one is a LaCie Little Disk 320Gb FW400 + inbuilt USB2 cable and the other is a Western Digital Studio 1TB FW800 + USB2 + eSATA. Both great drives and haven't given me any problems over the last year. When I say it's like clockwork, I mean - as soon as I plug one or both of the drives in using any one of the interfaces my wifi drops out. It's not apparent until I try using my browser because the wifi indicator still shows signal. When the indicator finally shows no signal, trying to reselect my router from the drop down gives me a timeout. THEN as soon as I physically disconnect the drive it reconnects and everything is fine again.

    This happens in any room in the house, even if I'm right next to the router. I can't find the info my router, but it's Apple's very first 'N' Airport Extreme from 2007 - which I believe wasn't true 802.11n?... quite upsetting... (BTW is it worth getting the latest Apple router or is there a better one?) Before I found the cause, I bought an AirTunes router thing thinking that it would boost the signal to my study (at least I can stream music now :p).

    Below are my specs.

    Can anyone offer me some advice? As you can imagine, it's really p1ssing me off because I need to write to my drives/backup every day! I appreciate you reading this far.


    Model Name: MacBook Pro
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 3 MB
    Memory: 3 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBP51.0074.B01

    AirPort Card Information
    Wireless Card Type: AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x8D)
    Wireless Card Locale: Asia Pacific
    Wireless Card Firmware Version: Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (
    Current Wireless Network:
    Wireless Channel: 1

    System Version: Mac OS X 10.5.6 (9G55)
    Kernel Version: Darwin 9.6.0
    Boot Volume:
    Boot Mode: Normal
  2. DJ567 macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2006
    London, UK
    This problem sounds very odd i have the same macbook pro and the same airport extreme router i think, but i've never had a problem like this.

    I know this isnt a real solution but have your tried plugging the drives into the router via usb and seeing if it stays online then.

    does the router have the latest firmware, and have you tried using the 5ghz a/n band to avoid any 2.4ghz interference issues

    lastly you should use iStumbler to check the airports signal... when exactly it cuts out, come back and if when it cuts out it is a signal issue
  3. chakko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
    Hi DJ567,

    Thanks for your reply - I'll give those things a go and let you know how I go.

  4. tiggle macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2006
    Hong Kong
    I was having similar issues and took it to apple tech support. I am using the time capsule as a router. They told me to change the channel that time capsule operates on (not the frequency) and make sure that there was no ethernet connection set up on the computer I did that, and don't seem to have had any problem for the last few months. Maybe try looking into that.
    edited: because my first post made even less sense than this one.
  5. ValkyrieLenneth macrumors regular


    Jun 28, 2008
  6. chakko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
    Ooh - a friend just told me that same thing the other day. THanks guys

    ... Lets give it a try.
  7. masterme macrumors newbie


    Jul 18, 2007
    Exact the same issue

    I also have a Macbook pro unibody 15" 2.4GHz, with 4GB mem, and when I plug in my external FW800 drive the Wifi connection fails. Sometimes it is connected but there is no internet, or it tries to find the connection for hours, and finds 5 different modems, but does not connect to any.
    It's certainly not something with the airport. I run OSX snow leopard now and saw that the airport's sensitivity even improved. Amazing system. Haven't been in love with a machine for quiet a while hahaha.
    I will try your option as well, and if it works I let you know.
  8. masterme macrumors newbie


    Jul 18, 2007
    And what about when I don't have a time capsule????

    Like I said I have the same problem but no time capsule
    but a normal Davo Link Ethernet to Wifi modem

Share This Page