Please confirm: WiFi roaming broken in 10.6.5

Discussion in 'macOS' started by hachre, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. hachre, Nov 12, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010

    hachre macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    I haven't been able to talk about this before because of all the NDA crap that is imposed on testers but I have noticed for quite a while now that WiFi roaming seems to be broken, since the early betas of 10.6.5.

    It also affects the 10.6.4+ build that the MacBook Airs are shipped with.

    I will post a bug report to Apple if anyone here can confirm this.

    What you need
    • at least 2 WiFi Access points, preferably from Apple, both hooked up into a network with each other via Ethernet
    • both of them having a WiFi open with the same SSID, same WPA-mode, same Password but different channels (please try this on the 2.4 GHz band only)
    • any MacBook with OSX 10.6.5 configured with either an IP reservation in DHCP or static IP settings

    Steps to reproduce
    • Now open a terminal and ping some internet destination. (e.g. ping
    • While pinging walk to the other Airport (or similar) base station. If the distance is far enough that Mac OS thinks it's viable to switch it will. You can option click on the WiFi signal in the menubar to check the stations Mac address or the channel to confirm the switch.

    • Once the switch occurs the network breaks down and the pings stop working. It either has timeouts or even routing problems.
    • It will not recover from this in most cases even when you walk back to the original station until you manually disable and reenable the Airport on your MacBook.

    I have personally confirmed this with several MacBooks and on 2 Airport Expresses + a 3rd Party WiFi Access point. It used to work between all of them in 10.6.4.

    Please confirm this for me, so I can send a bug report.
  2. blackburn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    It's a quite rare setup that you have. But looks like that 10.6.5 was half baked and took so long to be released.
    That happened with me with eduroam on uni. But even with windows boxes happened so it ain't that of test (it has mschapv2 and peap).

    Just wait for someone that was that particular setup.
  3. benpop macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2010
    I have a similar problem with roaming on Apple Airports and a macbook pro.

    The roaming wifi has been set up properly with one airport extreme and an airport express (same ssid, same WPA2 password, different channels / 5 apart, one airport set up in bridging mode, the other as DHCP).

    However the automatic switch between both routers just doesn't occur anymore, unless you manually switch.

    Any suggestions or ideas why this is happening?
  4. hachre thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    I have been talking to Apple about this and after a long time of debugging we have been able to figure out that the bug only occurs if the advertised authentication methods of the access points differ.

    You can check with by opening Terminal and doing this:
    cd /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Resources
    ./airport -s
    The authentication methods (in the security column) need to be exactly the same on all access points. This bug seems to have been introduced with 10.6.5.

    Good Luck!
  5. benpop macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2010
    thank you so much! That helped me solve the problem :)
  6. hachre thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    Cool! Happy I could help ;)

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