Serious WiFi issue - Extremely Low Transmit Rate – Late 2011 13" MBP Mountain Lion

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ballpointmusic, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. ballpointmusic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #1
    Hi all,

    First of all, I tried and tried, but, for the life of me, I couldn't find any topic dealing specifically with my problem.

    I am struggling to find a solution to an extremely annoying issue. A couple of weeks ago connecting to the Internet with my Macbook Pro from my room via WiFi has started becoming an increasingly challenging task. Nothing as changed as far as the layout of the house or the router location are concerned, nor have I positioned metal objects or anything that could potentially create an interference close to the router or elsewhere. Basically, nothing has changed but my Macbook's ability to seamlessly connect to the WiFi network. In some cases, the connection drops and I have time out errors, but mostly it appears to be a matter of the connection being extremely slow – see images below.

    What is more, my girlfriend can access the network with no effort using her 2010 (or 2011) white Macbook. My iPhone 4 is connected as well, although the signal it picks up is not as strong as with the Macbook Pro.

    I am under the impression that something might be wrong either with Mountain Lion handling of WiFi connectivity or with my Macbook's Airport card. Of course I haven't the faintest idea how to diagnose whichever issue I might have.

    The things I am sure about are the following:

    Extremely low transmit rate, even when the RSSI is not so low as to justify such a consequence. In this particular case, my girlfriend's white Macbook is getting a marginally stronger RSSI (-68), but the transmit rate ("Velocità di trasmissione in the Italian menu pictured below) ranges from 24 to 54, the latter being the maximum speed of which my router is capable of.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The very orientation of the computer seems to affect the connection, that is to say, the Macbook seems to pick up a better signal when the router is on its left rather than on its right – as silly as it may sound;
    I do have a WiFi extender, but it never caused any problem and does not appear to be the cause of the issues mentioned above;
    My Macbook's capability to connect to this particular WiFi network seems to have worsened and diminished. I have been connecting to other wireless networks during the last few days, but always in environments I was not used to and any comparison is therefore of little or no consequence.

    Now, I have been reading everywhere that Mountain Lion has several issues concerning WiFi, but in fact I have been a happy camper since I upgraded from Lion the very same day it came out.

    I wonder if something could have happened hardware-wise: Frankly, I have no idea whether it is even possible for a wireless interface to fail with so trifling and only exhibit such subtle symptoms that one has to carefully alt-click the WiFi menubar icon to realise about the failure... I do carry my Macbook Pro in a backpack everyday, but I have never smahed it onto something, nor has it ever fallen. I find it difficult to believe that something could have gone wrong inside its guts. I am given to understand that the antenna is in the hinge/display assembly, so replacing it could potentially be a problem.

    Now, can someone please help me shed some light on the issue? Thank you very much!
     
  2. foxf8 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    #2
    well if u connect to other networks fine then its nothing with your computer u know. the first thing id say is unplug your routers power cord let it reset then plug it back in. its stupid but it does work lol try that see if that works first
     
  3. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #3
    Thank you foxf8. Of course I tried disconnecting the power cord, resetting the router and everything else. Still, I get terrible performance on a WiFi network that appears to be working flawlessly with other computers – namely, a Win 7 Sony laptop and a White Macbook.

    I feel the problem truly is remarkable, and I wonder whether or not it can be hardware-related. The RSSI I get in the screenshot is not really a good one. However, my girlfriend's white macbook worked perfectly and got transmit rates of 36, 48 or even 54 with the same RSSI values or even worse ones.

    Anyone else? :)
     
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #4
    I got a similar problem with my 2010 MBP ever since I moved some stuff around in the room, which led to my usual work location to change somewhat.

    I used to never care about wifi speed because all I needed of it was to handle the 6-8 Mb/s Webspeed. Now I got my RSSI jump around between 78 in best case and 89 in worst. The transmitrate as well goes from sometimes solid 24 to as low as 1. Often for a prolonged time in 11 range with drops to 5 and 2.
    The odd thing that all happens in the same location I move the notebook 2 inches or just turn it by 2-4°, or just move the external monitor a few inches back (which in theory would be between it and the router). The router isn't great and one floor down one room away horizontally but this is so odd. I usually had solid 24 in the same room and now oftentimes my internet cannot handle 100 kB without me understanding what is it.
    Just moving it around doesn't seem to help often times.

    It is so weird because I tend to get decent reception in the garden where the signal has to pass through an outer wall and that means a 80 cm brick wall with 5-10 cm mortar on top. Inner walls are way thinner and the antenna is positioned to hit my room, while it should in theory deliver the least signal to the garden behind the house.
     
  5. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #5
    Thank you dusk007. At any rate, I have a couple of updates to share. First of all, I replaced my stone-age Netgear DG834GT with a slightly more modern Negtear N300. Nothing really fancy, mind you, but still... At least it allow me to use 802.11n in place of 802.11b/g. That little n ostensibly made some difference and now my transmission rates have slightly improved.

    [​IMG]

    I also reinstalled Mountain Lion on top of an existing Mountain Lion install (I also did so in order to rebuild the recovery partition, which I had previously and inadvertedly removed installing Ubuntu), but I haven't seen any further improvement. I

    Nevertheless, the reception on my girlfriend's White Macbook appears to be better. I cannot really make heads or tails of it, but I fancy the difference can be attributed either to it running Snow Leopard (my MBP runs Mountain Lion) or to different design of the WiFi "apparatus" in the WMB.
     
  6. Buckaye macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2013
    #6
    do you have a phone that might be interfering with the signal?
     
  7. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2013
    #7
    Indeed, I have an iPhone 4, but I have owned since December 2010. The problem is rather new. I purchased my MBP in early 2012 and haven't had no problems for a long while.
     
  8. Buckaye macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    #8
    I was thinking more of a wireless home phone on a similar band... that could mess with your signal with small adjustments to your position.

    You might try messing with the broadcast channel of your router and see if that makes a difference at all?
     
  9. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #9
    Toying with channels is something I tried too but didn't really seem to help. Maybe I try giving it a longer shot and set to channel 6. I have usually only one neighboring wifi in range and our wireless phone sits in its base station pretty much always. The wireless phone could in theory be a problem but the issue would have to be much less frequent and disappear sooner. As far as I know a wireless phone in its base station shouldn't really throw too much data on the wifi.

    A n router was also something I gave a thought but I fear for my stable internet. The current one was provided by the ISP and is when it comes to Internet quite stable. It used to be so bad before the router firmware upgrade.
    I hate switching routers.

    BTW that is a cool SSID. :D
     
  10. rabidz7 macrumors 65816

    rabidz7

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    Jun 24, 2012
    Location:
    Ohio
  11. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #11
    dusk007, yeah, I always try to make the most of my SSID! :)

    Buckaye, that is absolutely possible, but... I had a home phone before, and it never appeared to interfere with any of my WiFi enabled devices, my MBP included.

    rabidz7, thank you for your input. :) There are reasons why I am striving to have a good wireless connection, although I am aware of the benefits a wired connection entails.
     
  12. chambone macrumors 6502a

    chambone

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #12
    It can. A failing wifi card doesn't necessarily have to be a matter of 'it either works or it doesn't'. My first gen mbp had the same syptoms -low speeds and getting worse to the point of not working at all after 3-4 hours of use. I reseated the wifi card and its antenna's, which didn't help. After that I replaced the card, which has solved the problem entirely.
     
  13. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2013
    #13
    Sweet! :(

    Thank you very much chambone. I will stop by the nearest apple store and go straight to the genius bar once I have finished the job-related tasks I have to carry out before I go computerless for a while. Yet I wonder whether or not they will manage to diagnose the problem. I really do not want to pay for a new WiFi card. I am not under apple care, but I have the two-year EU warranty to rely on. Let's hope it pans out smoothly.
     
  14. chambone macrumors 6502a

    chambone

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #14
    Yes, if you still have warranty take it in, they'll probably fix it for you. And if they don't you could always do it yourself. You should be able to get one of those cards off of ebay for 15-20 euro's.

    Btw, did you check what channels your neighbours are on? If the guy next door is swamping the place on the same channel you're at, it could lead to interference. Probably not to the point of causing the problems you're experiencing, but it's something that one should check regardless.
     
  15. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2013
    #15

    Actually I have no neighbours, as I live in an isolated house :). But your input prompted me to try switching channels. No appreciable benefit in doing so, while the other devices still work like a charm.
     
  16. dusk007, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013

    dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #16
    I tried switching channels. As expected it doesn't really affect transmit rate at all. If a channel is too crowded you will have less actual bandwidth from your transmit rate but the TR is not affect by that, only by signal to noise.

    Did you check where the noise is at in your environment. ML has its wifi monitoring somewhat hidden but I found it again. In case you don't already know about it.
    alt/option and the wifi symbol. Open wireless diagnostics. Ignore the window and go in the menu top left on "Window" -> Utilities CMD+2.
    That not only shows you your wifi quality in more detail but also all the other networks and which channels and frequency bands they use.
    My neighbor has an b/g/n router but runs of the 2.4Ghz band in also channel 1. I assume my router doesn't switch to another channel because the router probably has too weak a signal to even detect the neighbors network form where it is located. Put it on channel 6 but that changes nothing.
    Even where my notebook is my neighbors signal is at -93 which is even below noise -92. I doubt that could interfere too much. It can detect it but that should be about it, it is mostly just noise.

    my snr is crap though. Goes as low as 5 while it sometimes stays quite high.
    [​IMG]
    All in the exact same location. Only turning the notebook about 5° to the right and back. At a 90° angle to the router it shows the worst reception.

    Now I am back to 18 Mb at 76 rssi at the same location and position that yielded before the snr of 5. There is just no pattern to it. At what band does 3g/4g mobile networks work? Can they interfere?
     
  17. ballpointmusic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2013
    #17
    Update:

    I performed a clean install of Mountain Lion: the problem persists.
     
  18. lagisibuk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Location:
    Always Somewhere
    #18
    I dont know what the problem really.

    1. my MBP retina have some problem
    2. my MBP 15 have some problem too

    and the last, I try with 13 MBP and have some problem :D
    but when i'm using other notebook, problem gone :D

    so, I'm try to re-install to "GOLDEN VERSION 10.8" and problem is gone.
    maybe software issues in ML 10.8.4

    anybody have try this way?
     
  19. Back2Future macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Location:
    Vigevano PV Italy
    #19
    ballpointmusic,

    same problems also for me: MBP Retina 15" Early 2013, Transmit Rate goes up&down.

    My MBP early 2009 and iMac 2007 works perfectly: the three Macs are on the same table at the same distance from the WiFi router (Draytek Vigor 2020VSn).
     

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