My experience of the 2013 MacBook Air Wifi problem

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hupster, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. hupster macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2013
    New member here - I registered to share my experience of the MBA 'wifi problem'.

    I've been a Mac user since I bought an iMac in 2010 (which is still going strong). I've been mulling buying a new laptop for a while, and the decision was hastened when my old laptop died last month.

    I decided to go for the new 13'' MBA. When I opened it at home, I immediately noticed that there was a problem with the wifi.

    If I was right next to the router, the MBA would connect and I could browse the internet. As soon as I moved to another room or floor, the connection would drop. The router name would still show up but the MBA would fail to connect, saying that there was a connection timeout.

    At other times it would connect after turning wifi off and on again, or after closing the laptop and opening it again. Usually it would then still disconnect after a few minutes.

    What was particularly galling was that I could not connect in my own living room, where I have not had any problems with 2 six-year-old laptops, 2 smartphones, an iPad 2 and a media player.

    I verified that the problem occurred on another router that I have at home, as well as at work: a good connection when the MBA was close to the router, but a poor connection as soon as I moved some distance away.

    After struggling with this for a few days, I took the laptop back to the shop. The technician there could not get it to connect. After trying various things, including booting it from another Mac's hard drive (and booting the other Mac from my MBA), he declared that there seemed to be a hardware problem, possibly with the Wifi card.

    They wouldn't replace it until the problem was checked out, so I left it to be examined.

    A few days later, I was called to pick it up. I didn't get to speak to the technician again, but his description of repairs was 'Reset PRAM and reseated Airport Card'.

    I don't know which of these two fixed the problem, but now the MBA works fine, and connects flawlessly even in the spots where it was struggling before.

    So my advice to anyone considering buying a 2013 MBA is: check out the wifi connection straight away at all the places where you are likely to use your notebook. If you have problems connecting, take it back!

    I am happy with my MBA now, but I must admit that my faith in the flawlessness of Apple hardware has been shaken.
  2. bellang macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2005
  3. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
  4. hupster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2013
    These are my ping statistics (b/g router on another floor):

    28 packets transmitted, 28 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
    round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 2.041/5.866/19.057/3.899 ms
  5. boa macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2010
    How does one reset the AirPort Card, exactly?
  6. hexblot macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2011
    reseat, as in remove the hardware card and put it back in its slot, making sure it's connected properly, not reset.
  7. boa macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2010
    Oops, sorry, my bad. Interesting, tho.
  8. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2013
    WiFi has been one of the biggest positive surprises for my 13" 2013 Air. I have an old house with thick, plastered walls so WiFi can be a challenge when I'm rooms/floors away from the router. At the very least, my up and down speeds suffer quite a bit.

    I don't have any other ac equipment so this is just N using a stock Verizon FiOS router. My plan is 50mb down, and on two separate days, a speed test was reporting about 55mb down from my outdoor deck. That's traversing down a floor, across several rooms, and through a brick exterior! It's not unusual for FiOS speeds to slightly outperform the plan, but only with wired ethernet. I've never gotten close to that with any other laptop or phone from my deck. I haven't experienced any drops or inconsistent connections either.
  9. boa macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2010
    Just curious, is your WI-FI 2.4Ghz and have you tried using/enabling bluetooth? Because my 2013 Air's WIFI gets completely ruined as soon as I try to use my Magic Mouse with it just 2 rooms away from the router's, where WI-FI signal is not optimal, but it is not bad either (Wireless Diagnostics says Excellent...).
  10. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2013
    Yes, it is 2.4Ghz, and I do have a lot of other devices and competing WiFi networks from neighbors (which is another reason that these results surprised me). I generally have Bluetooth off. When I get a chance, I'll try to enable bluetooth and pair something to see if it changes my results.
  11. grh2013 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2013
    You are not alone

    I am on my 3rd replacement mid 2013 Haswell 13" MacBrick Air, and it drops wi-fi everywhere. Been all through all levels of Apple support to no avail.-online/phone/high level who blew me off,contact from an engineer who tried to blame my router even though it happens everywhere. All known patches/fixes were done ad a diagnostic run at the genius bar confirms it. There is no fix. The best they could offer me was an upgrade to a macbrick pro at my expense.No longer acceptable, Apple. There are over 140,000 views on the occicial Apple forum about this issue. They have known about it for a while and are doing nothing.I am pissed.
  12. boa macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2010
    Thanks, Mockenrue, would really appreciate your input :)
  13. grh2013 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2013

    was switched off on mine right away and made no difference. I hope for you that it works.
  14. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2013
    I tested from the most problematic corner of my house and ran it several times with Bluetooth Off, Bluetooth On/no devices, and Bluetooth on/paired. I saw no difference at all when changing the Bluetooth status.

    For what it's worth, the Air consistently beat my other two laptops (Samsung Series 9 and Chromebook) by a decent margin when testing from the same spot. I've had no WiFi issues at all with this machine.

    The number of people that ARE having trouble makes me wonder if there is an incompatibility with some fairly common router configurations that some have and some do not. It's certainly not consistent for all users.
  15. bellang macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Common routers include apples own ones including the latest so I'm doubtful. It currently sounds like the latest software patch fixes one issue but breaks the latency of the cards.
  16. bwat47 macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2013
    I can confirm this. I had zero latency or connection issues before the driver update on my new air (got it this week). I don't use bluetooth though so I'm not sure if I have any bluetooth related wifi issues.

    After installing the air 1.0 update, I immediately got extremely high latency/jitter. I have a nice dual band router and live in a rural area with almost no wireless interference. I experienced the high latency on the the 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands. I manually downgraded the driver using instructions on the apple forums thread to replace the .kext file, this totally fixed the latency issue for me. I'm hoping that they release another update that fixes all these issues properly and I hope its not a hardware issue, it'd be a pia to have to send in my new computer (I live nowhere near an apple store). I'm pretty sure at least the latency issue definitely appears to be a software issue (a regression with the new driver), but the other issues people are experiencing is much more up in the air when it comes to if its a software or hardware issues.

    I really wish apple would give us some sort of response, the issue clearly seems to affect a ton of people judging by the 110 page thread in the apple forums.
  17. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Had the WiFi issue too, constant drops when streaming media with an older WD3300 router. Returned the 2013 13 MBA, maybe try again next year.
  18. bellang macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Same. Returned, got a replacement and returned again.

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