New Time Capsule Clients Won't Stay on AC

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by richard13, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. richard13 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #1
    Hey guys.

    So, I have a new iMac and a new MacBook Pro both of which support 802.11ac. Naturally, I'd like to take advantage of this so I bought a new AirPort Time Capsule to go along with them.

    I've noticed a couple times now that the iMac and the MBP seem to be secretly defaulting back to wireless-N on the 2.4 GHz band. Is there any way to force them to stay on wireless-AC on 5 Ghz?

    One thought is that my XBOX 360 uses wireless-N only and so maybe all the other clients are defaulting to N? Is there any way to make my new Time Capsule for AC clients only and use my old Time Capsule for all other clients only?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    If you separate the networks out by bands, then it will solely work on 5 GHz. But that still doesn't guarantee that they will connect at AC speed. They can drop back to N on 5 GHz.

    The way you have it now is that the AirPort and the Mac complete a handshake for the band that is going to be the fastest and most reliable. Please remember that 5 GHz signals degrade much easier than 2.4 GHz. So the walls sitting between you and the AirPort may cause the connection to renegotiate a speed. It is one of the downfalls of 5 GHz, it can be Gigabit (Ethernet) speeds but the minute you add an obstruction you will watch the transmit rate drop like a fly.

    If you are wanting to experiment, then create the 5 GHz network to be separate. It probably won't do anything as you would still be in the same scenario just not sharing the name with 2.4 GHz radios.
     
  3. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks.

    You used to be able to specify which bands/wireless standards you wanted for it to answer to. I have done this in the past with my old TC to set the 5 Ghz band to be wireless-N and 2.4 Ghz band to be "everything else". I don't know why they would remove this functionality. But then again, you used to be able to see all your clients, their signal strength etc. as well.

    I'm disappointed that Apple keeps removing things from the Airport Utility. :(
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

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    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #4
    That is what is happening and yes it's easy to use both Time Capsules together like you want.
    • Plug the old one (ethernet) in to the new one.
    • Configure the old one to use a different Wireless Network Name
    • Set the Router Mode of the old one to "Off (Bridge)".
    • Use the appropriate network name for each device.
     
  5. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Ah... I didn't do this step when I tried the other day. Thanks Bear!
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #6
    This is absurd that you have to use two different base stations. If that was a possible scenario where the Xbox causes them to default to N, you would never see AC. I am sure if you stayed in the same room as the new Time Capsule that AC would always be present.
     
  7. Bear macrumors G3

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    #7
    It's the way WiFi works. What room you're in doesn't matter. If the N device goes offline and only AC devices are left, it will switch back to AC until an N device connects to the WiFi again.
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #8
    AC signal degrades a lot more due to being on the 5 GHz channel. It is more susceptible to degradation, but is better than the commonly used 2.4 GHz channel. The reason why I said to test in the same room as the transmit rate will drop the minute you add an obstruction. It is just the way WiFi works.
     
  9. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #9
    I'm assuming you're talking about Airport Utility 6.3.1 or similar, here. I recently learned you can do these things with it, at least on my setup:

    To see all possible band choices:
    Select the router, then Edit-->Wireless-->Wireless Options. Now, hold alt/option while you click on the Radio Mode drop-down. At least for me, a bunch of new choices showed up.

    To see wireless client data rate, RSSI, PHY mode, etc.:
    Select the router, look for the wireless clients list, then hover the mouse pointer over the client's IP addr, MAC addr, or name, to see another popup window with stats.

    It's crazy how this stuff is hidden, but at least it's there.
     
  10. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mill Creek, WA
    #10
    Thanks for the suggestions. I have one of the new "tower" Airport Time Capsules. Also, the version of Airport Utility I am using is 6.3.2. I'm not sure which of these are the reason why there's no Radio Mode drop-down at all. So I guess I'm out of luck there.

    I see that if I hold down alt/option when I click on the Edit button I get a slightly modified dialog box for the options you can change but again, no Radio Mode option.

    A couple other things I've noticed over the past couple days:

    When I launch Airport Utility, the Internet "light" is orange for the first 10 seconds or so and then it turns green. I'm not sure why that is.

    Both my iMac and MacBook Pro have stayed on AC. I guess this is good news. However, the issues I was having previously with slow connections and document editing over my LAN seem to be just as bad as they were before. I'm going to blame Mavericks on this for now. I wonder if I tried to put Mountain Lion on these computers that this issue would go away. But then again, that's a lot of work to go through on just a hunch.

    My pings have been much worse with this new Time Capsule. Usually around 24ms (whereas before I was getting 8 or 9ms). In fact, tonight it was up around 100ms. This could however, be the fault of my ISP or the server that speedtest.net uses for testing.
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #11
    Out of curiosity are you running this Time Capsule in bridge or DHCP and NAT mode?
     
  12. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    The new Time Capsule is running DHCP/NAT mode. The old one is turned off and removed from the network currently.

    I just really wish Apple would stop removing features and let us use their products how we wish. All I want is for my AC capable clients to always connect using AC and my non-AC clients to connect at whatever makes them work. But this seems to be impossible right now.
     
  13. Bear macrumors G3

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    #13
    This isn't an Apple restriction, it's a WiFi restriction. This is the same for any WiFi router.
     
  14. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Hmm... how's that? AirPort Utility used to allow you to specify what connections could be made. For instance, I used to be able to specify 802.11n only, 802.11b/g, 802.11b/g/n. If I set it to 802.11n only my 802.11g clients would fail to connect and thus keeping my network from falling back to G.
     
  15. Bear macrumors G3

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    #15
    What you say is true, but the original poster was asking about a base station that had both N and AC clients. With mixed clients it does go to the highest common speed or N with mixed N and AC clients.
     
  16. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #16
    Yes, I see what you are saying here Bear. I am the OP. And yes, I do have N and AC clients.

    Ultimately, what I'd like to do is have my new Time Capsule answer only to AC clients. And use my old Time Capsule to answer to everything else. I guess I can set up this configuration but it isn't guaranteed that I will get AC only on one and N only on the other.

    I guess what's really going on here is I am getting frustrated with noticing that my AC clients falling back to N occasionally. For surfing the web this really isn't a big deal but for any application that requires decent throughput such as backups/restores it really is.
     

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