Powerbook Airport Range vs iBook

sonicj

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 11, 2004
33
0
Gainesville, FL
i just got my new 15" powerbook to replace my 6 month old ibook. both are new machines with factory installed airport extreme cards. my ibook got probably twice the range that my new powerbook got on my 802.11b linksys router... anyone else notice this when switching from an ibook to a powerbook? think its the metal chassis that makes the difference in the range? think the antenna cable might be seated loose cause the signal strength is waaay intermittent. anywho, thought i'd ask here before calling! cheers!
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Other people have reported this same basic effect (better range on the iBook). You might try switching channels...its possible some channels will have slightly less structural interference from the PB. A factor of 2x in range sounds pretty surprising. So you really mean you can be something like 50 ft from the router, and be at the edge of range on the PB, and go another 50' away and still get iBook reception? :eek:

I've noticed there are definitely rooms in my office building in which windows users with PC-slot wi-fi can get access and I cannot (iBook). :(
 
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sonicj

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 11, 2004
33
0
Gainesville, FL
2x sounds about right... like i mentioned before though, its intermittent! i live in a pretty small 3br wood framed townhouse and could go anywhere in the house and get great reception with the ibook. now if i go to another room or upstairs its one bar, lost signal, then full signal for a few secs. some shady shananigans goin on!

i'll try the different channel on the router and report back soon!
 
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sonicj

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 11, 2004
33
0
Gainesville, FL
changed channels on the router... same thing. this reply page took about 2 min to load and its still not done loading. im about 20ft from the router on a 4mb cable connection... gateway notebook is cookin, this thing draggin major ass. starting to get the feeling something is wacked propa! :( booo!
 
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Applespider

macrumors G4
iBooks do tend to get better reception but it's usually when you get further away; so your iBook would pick up a signal from 20ft or so beyond your Powerbook. Within the first 40 or 50 ft there shouldn't be much distance (maybe a bar at most); that's certainly the case when my Powerbook and Mum's iBook are on the same network.

If it's falling to virtually no signal within 20ft in the style of house you're describing and there's no interference (microwaves/cordless phones) then it sounds like the antennae might be unseated. When I first installed Mum's airport card, I had this problem. It worked upstairs within 10ft of router but beyond that, pretty much zilch. Open it up and have a look (despite it being factory installed) since it shouldn't affect your warranty. It does require quite a hard push against a hard surface to make sure it clicks into place properly.
 
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840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
3,435
Twin Cities Minnesota
It must be something to do with the Plastic case on the iBook vs the Titanium or aluminum on the powerbook.

I am curious if switchers from Powermac G4s to G5s have seen the same results?

I don't currently have airport in any of my powermacs, but I plan on doing an upgrade on both soon.

840
 
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sonicj

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 11, 2004
33
0
Gainesville, FL
ok, there is definately something wrong with this machine... im dropping signal at 5ft from the router. i tried the pbfixit tutorial on locating my airport card to reseat the antenna... no luck! apparently the 1.6ghz machines hide the airport card inside the case requiring removal of the entire upper lid to access the card. the applecare tech recommended not attempting the dismantling of my new book by myself so its off to the local apple repair center on monday so they can booger up my new notebook. *ugh!
 
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dav

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2004
491
9
My range was terrible with ANY computer on our Linksys WRT54G...

I downloaded Sveasoft firmware put it on our router and changed the output setting. Now, I have full reception anywhere in the house!

Awesome :)

(BTW Sveasoft firmware is free under the GPL)
 
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sonicj

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 11, 2004
33
0
Gainesville, FL
iGary said:
Before you do that, could it be the router?
anything is possible... but, my ibook worked fine, my previous powerbook worked fine, and my current gateway notebook works fine, my usb wireless dongle works fine. the new powerbook is the only machine that has had any problem on my network.
 
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Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Tiger improves Airport range. With Panther, I would get 2-3 bars, in Tiger, I get a full 4 bars.
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Lacero said:
Tiger improves Airport range. With Panther, I would get 2-3 bars, in Tiger, I get a full 4 bars.
Really? Wow, now that wasn't something I'd expect. Think it'd do anything about my marathon finish time? I'm hoping for a nice 15 minutes with Tiger, so that if I put a little of my own effort in, I can break four hours! :D
 
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Rocksaurus

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2003
652
0
California
I thought the new PBs had the airport antenna's in the top corners of the screen? Shouldn't this make the reception better?
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Rocksaurus said:
I thought the new PBs had the airport antenna's in the top corners of the screen? Shouldn't this make the reception better?
New as in Aluminum, or new as in the batch of minor changes that involved the scrolling trackpad? AFAIK, the iBook has its antenna up in there too.
 
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Rocksaurus

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2003
652
0
California
mkrishnan said:
New as in Aluminum, or new as in the batch of minor changes that involved the scrolling trackpad? AFAIK, the iBook has its antenna up in there too.
Haha, just the minor changes. Perhaps I said new because Apple has lowered my expectations so...
 
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840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
3,435
Twin Cities Minnesota
Applespider said:
I did read somewhere that this was more to do with Tiger recalibrating the meter than actually improving the range. :rolleyes:
That is what I gather from it also, I can't find the post here on Macrumors though.
 
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MacHarne

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2005
321
0
Virginia, U.S.A.
I used to have a Alu. 15" PB 1GHz along with my 800MHz iBook G3. I have a Netgear WRG614 Wi-Fi router at home. With the PB I could get three bars of signal just about anywhere in the house and could move around somewhat outside and still have decent signal.

However, my iBook not only have full signal anywhere in the house, but I was able to go outside almost 120 feet away from the router and still retain my internet connection.

Other PBs I have worked with had the same issue; I would just take a shot saying that their diminished Wi-Fi range has to do with the aluminum shell.
 
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