No signal in my iBook w/ Airport Extreme -- HELP!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Ice, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Ice macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    I have a cable 'net connection and just purchased a wired/wireless router so that I could lounge around the house and go online with my new iBook. The router is made by SMC and it is a "Barricade G" router... The model number is SMC2804WBR. I set up the router and have my 2 PC's wired to it and there is an internet connection on both PC's and I can share files between them just fine.

    So I installed my Airport Extreme Card into my iBook G4. It seems to be installed properly. The icon shows up in the top bar, and under my system info it shows that there's an airport card. I called up the router's tech support, they told me to call Apple. I called Apple, they told me to call the manufacturer's of the router. (the Apple tech support I called said that the Airport Extreme card seemed to be installed properly)

    Anyway, nothing I've tried has worked as far as getting any signal on the iBook, even when I have it right next to the router. Note that this is without ANY encryption. I tried for hours to get it to work with and without WEP or WPA encryption. Nothing has worked. I have tried manually entering in the SSID under network name and everything. It will either go through and do nothing (That's what happens when I have no encryption set, and use no password on the mac), or it will say "Error connecting to network "network name here." I updated the router's firmware and everything, but still have the same results.

    Anyway, I have tried pretty much everything I can think of but I can't seem to get it to work. I'm a newbie to networking in general (and admittedly it took me awhile to get the WIRED part of my network working properly -- I needed to unplug the router/modem and plug them back in.)

    I'm sure I'm missing something simple and I just hope that someone here will be able to show me what I'm overlooking... There's gotta be some setting in my router or my Mac that will make this work!
    If anyone needs any info or screenshots from my router config page, let me know!

    Thanks alot!
  2. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    my first instance would be reset the router you can learn how to do that on the manual that came with the router

    my second solution would be to re install you airport card, sometimes a loose connection can cause loss of signal even if the card is detected, just make sure the connection is nice and snug
  3. bertagert macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2003
    Have you actually selected the wireless service on your mac? Click on the airport icon in the top menu bar. See if your network is the list. If the icon isn't displayed in on the top bar, go into your system settings and under network, click the show airport icon on main menu (I'm not at my system so the wording might be wrong).

    Your ibook should have no problem locating a network. I'm guessing you just haven't selected it yet. See if that works and get back to us.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Can the iBook see the network when its *wired* to the router? Also have you ever got anything to see the network wireless besides the iBook?

    As far as loose connections go, I believe there is a cable that attaches to the AE card that runs up to the antennae behind the screen. That seems to be a culprit a lot of the time.
  5. Ice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks for all your replies guys! I am trying your suggestions as I type...
    First thing I did was check the connection of the airport card itself, and I took it out and put it back in entirely. I'm now certain that the antenna and the card itself are securely in place (if I pushed any harder I'd fear I'd break the hardware)
    Then I reset the router.

    Seems like significant progress is being made. I'm not quite there YET but here's what happened:

    The router is down my basement, (I was pretty much directly above where it was on the next floor up)... I brought my iBook down the basement and was just about to try hooking it up to the router with an ethernet cable (per mkrishnan's suggestion), and I noticed that I now have 2 bars on my airport logo. So I *Can* get on the net, but take note that the iBook is just a few feet away from the router, and I only have 2 bars... I am going to try to see if switching the router to "B" only helps any...

    Please help me increase my range, because I am barely getting a connection while sitting like 5 feet from the router!

    Thanks alot -- you guys are lifesavers!
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Yay! Sounds like we're getting closer! :)

    A couple thoughts: your SMC setup should have some kind of power output setting that can be cranked up or down. Usually this is there so that you can turn down the power to limit the range artificially. You want to check to make sure its maxed, at least while you're testing. Next thing is, try some different channels -- the channel number should be something between 1-11 (like on a cordless phone). It could be that you're getting interference from other devices.

    Hopefully you won't have to go to -b, although it shouldn't make too much of a negative impact....
  7. dvdh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2004
    I going to hazard a guess here, but is your ibook an older model or been in use for sometime? Since the antenna cable goes through the hinge to get to the screen, I have read about some people have problems with this cable getting damaged through repeated opening and closing of the computer. That could result in the low reception. If you laptop is still under warranty I would have an apple reseller look at it, otherwise there are replacement antennas available, but I have no idea how difficult it is to install them. . . .
  8. Ice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    I have tried changing the channels, nothing I've tried seems to be doing much of anything to improve this.

    If there is, I can't find it in the router's config page, at least not in any of the tabs under wireless -- here is a screenshot of what I am looking at in the wireless config page on my PC:

    Link to screenshot

    Note: I've tried using "just b" and "just g", and I've tried using "mixed long range", disabling the speed boosting "g nitro" thing... Nothing seems to have worked.

    I believe the iBook is last year's model. It is a 14" iBook G4 (1ghz)... It has NOT been in use for a long time. I just got it a couple of days ago, and it was purchased brand new in box.


    Thanks again for all your help!!
  9. dvdh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2004
    In order to determine whether it is a laptop problem or something with the router, have you tried the laptop on a different WiFi network? (like at a local coffee shop or library?) From what has been posted so far, it is hard to determine where the problem is occurring, and testing on another network might narrow things down a little.
  10. Ice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    I went to my local Borders (according to wifi-hotspotlist they have a wifi connection) and could not get ANY signal sitting near the cafe area... There were other people using laptops... I am not 100% sure that the connection was turned on, but I don't know why it wouldn't be...

    EDIT: The iBook would have automatically detected the connection at Borders, right? I sat there for a good 10 minutes and wasn't prompted to join any network, and had no signal.

    Regardless, I've done a little more experimentation:

    Back near the router in my house, I can get the 2 blips in the top bar (sometimes it goes down to 1), when I'm sitting like 4 - 5 feet away from the router... I walked about 15 feet with the laptop (still on the same floor as the router), and it prompted me if I wanted to join the open network (with my SSID), I said yes, but it gave me no signal and upon opening Safari it just said "page not found" or something in the dialog box.

    I did this once more, walking about 15 feet away, and it didn't even prompt me to join the network... Then I tried to open Safari and the iBook froze for a minute or so, finally letting me close out Safari.

    So here I am. I have no idea what is going on. I'd love to think it's the router and I can just return this one and buy a new one.. But I'm really not so sure... I'm getting a signal (albeit a low one) when I'm really close to the router, but when I walk a little farther away, that signal goes dead...
    I'm sure I installed the Airport Extreme card correctly (I installed it once, then when I was having trouble I double checked everything and installed it AGAIN...)

    I am starting to wonder if perhaps the internal antenna is defective in the iBook.
    If I was 100% sure that the iBook came defective, I'd try to exchange it from the reseller I got it from without delay. However, who knows if the next iBook would have the same problem (if this is a common problem), or if I could get a few dead pixels or worse? Any ideas? Do you guys think I should call Apple again? I do have AppleCare, but it would really stink if I had to ship out my new iBook when I just bought it a couple days ago, especially when I'm not even 100% sure if the iBook is defective... Thanks again!
  11. Ice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thank you EVERYBODY for all your help and tips. I think the problem has been solved -- it seems like everything should've been working, but the iBook was defective out of the box.

    Here's what happened:

    I took the iBook back to where I bought it. I went into walk-in tech support and had the guy there help me out... I found out that they are set up with a few wireless networks in the store. I wasn't getting any signal or anything. He confirmed that the Airport Extreme Card was installed correctly, he even reinstalled it himself to be sure... Still no signal. He went to check out the settings in the iBook and everything and saw no reason why it shouldn't be working. So he suggested I swap it out for a new iBook. I did that without any hassle, and went back to the walk-in tech support. Took the new iBook out of the box, installed the Airport Extreme Card, and started to walk through the setup process of the iBook (IE enter your name, Apple ID, etc...) Once it got to the "how do you want to connect to the internet?" part, it saw all 3 of the store's wireless networks!

    So it seems like the original iBook was defective, and that this one will work fine.

    All I have to do now is charge up this iBook then I will know for sure if everything is compatible with my network. But I see no reason that it shouldn't be, now that I know that the problem was the iBook itself!

    Again, thanks to everyone for your help... This whole experience had me frustrated to no end and it seems like it's now over.

    Thanks alot.

    EDIT: Just wrote this addendum while typing on my brand new iBook! That was definitely the problem.. Now I'm good to go...
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Sounds like a nice solution! ;) Too bad it took so long to find, but still. Enjoy!

Share This Page