WiFi is very slow, unusable

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
I was thrilled with my new lightweight laptop, a mid 2012 macbook air, running 10.9.2 maverick, but I tried to take it outdoors for WiFi, it shows all connected, but pages load very slowly, I cannot use it like this,

I looked up this model, and it seems it originally came with Lion, or Mountain Lion, if I reinstalled one of these, would that help, downgrading? as it seems maverick has some problems/bugs.

This seems to be a widespread issue, especially with maverick, if so I could downgrade, or is it a hardware issue, if so, I may have to sell the laptop, as I cannot use it without good WiFi.
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
so nobody has any problems with this? or never heard of them?
 

MacGeekAZ

macrumors member
Mar 5, 2011
68
1
I don't know how common your issue is. Can you take it to an Apple store? I have a MacBook Air running Mavericks, and wifi works just fine on mine, although mine's a 2013 model.
 

marioman38

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2006
886
69
Elk Grove, CA
Hardware issue. If you are on 5ghz don't expect to go far at all. If you need to work outdoors a distance from your router, use 2.4ghz (travels farther) and make sure you have a nice external antenna from your router mounted up high somewhere.

OS X in general likes to exaggerate connection strength.

OPTION-CLICK on your WIFI bars when you're outside, I bet where it says TRANSMIT RATE it is something abysmal like under 10.

Wireless N best conditions it will be 300, and wireless ac I think is 1200mbps.

The reason it is under 10 is SIGNAL STRENGTH. You need a better router or another router to extend the signal.
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
Humm, interesting, my macbook pro can connect, and works with my router ok, it sometimes drops, but it is not so slow as I cannot use it, although I do notice a drop in speed from other devices, but not so much that I can use the internet at all, as I run into with my new macbook air.

how do I change from 5ghz to 2.4 ghz, the router is not mine, so I cannot mess with it, what ever I do is best on my end on my laptop.

my router is an at&t 2WIRE 2701HB-G gateway. I have had my fair share of problems with it, but I am sort of stuck with it as at&t will not support other routers.

Edit; I option clicked, on the wifi bars, inside and transmit rate was 36, and it looks like I am already on 2.4 ghz. My router is a g router, it does not have N.
 
Last edited:

robvas

macrumors 68030
Mar 29, 2009
2,801
372
USA
What brand do you have? The 2WIRE router from AT&T at my parents house SUCKS. It's the only place I have wifi issues with my MBA. My iPhone and iPad don't have problems there.
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,987
192
So what am hearing is, you are getting bad signal OUTSIDE.

Let me ask the stupid question: How is it INSIDE?

WIFI is radio wave and has distinct range limitations. You should also note the 5 ghz vs 2.4 ghz mentioned and whether your neighbors are interfering. YUP, you may have to call geeky cousin Vito to come over.

Tip: Look at the WIFI "fan" icon, it shows you the signal strength you are getting.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,288
14
The problem seems to be your router. If it's G only, and came from the ISP, it's old and low powered.

You can connect your own router to it, if you really care about getting a strong connection.

I plug in my own AirPort Extreme to the ISP wireless router. AE provides much stronger signal.

I use this to determine if there's interference:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wifi-explorer/id494803304?mt=12
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
So what am hearing is, you are getting bad signal OUTSIDE.

Let me ask the stupid question: How is it INSIDE?

WIFI is radio wave and has distinct range limitations. You should also note the 5 ghz vs 2.4 ghz mentioned and whether your neighbors are interfering. YUP, you may have to call geeky cousin Vito to come over.

Tip: Look at the WIFI "fan" icon, it shows you the signal strength you are getting.
It is fine indoors, and I have an older 2010 macbook pro that can connect to it outdoors. The fan shows signal show full strength.
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
The problem seems to be your router. If it's G only, and came from the ISP, it's old and low powered.

You can connect your own router to it, if you really care about getting a strong connection.

I plug in my own AirPort Extreme to the ISP wireless router. AE provides much stronger signal.

I use this to determine if there's interference:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wifi-explorer/id494803304?mt=12
I tried this a while back, piggybacking an airport extreme to the router, and it did not work at all, it was 2 routers fighting each other, and I lost my internet connection, it seems these att and t routers a hard wired and coded with the internet service provider, and do not work with anything else, I ended up just having to use the 2wire.

Unless I can add an antenna or something to it without having to modify the internet and router settings.

----------

The problem seems to be your router. If it's G only, and came from the ISP, it's old and low powered.

You can connect your own router to it, if you really care about getting a strong connection.

I plug in my own AirPort Extreme to the ISP wireless router. AE provides much stronger signal.

I use this to determine if there's interference:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wifi-explorer/id494803304?mt=12
Oh I know there are other networks in our area, I have seen them on my devices. But I do not see how or what I can do about all the info that app will pickup, I can't really control my surroundings.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,288
14
First, choose the proper channels.
Second, put them slightly away.
AirPort Extreme has N, and is much stronger than most routers provided by the ISP.

Look at channel 1, 7, 11 near you. Choose one with least overlap with neighbors. Here's mine:
Channel 1: My closest neighbor
Channel 6: ISP router (only G)
Channel 11: AirPort Extreme (G + N)
Of course, it depends on what channels neighbors are using. And typically I turn off the wifi on the ISP router.

I tried this a while back, piggybacking an airport extreme to the router, and it did not work at all, it was 2 routers fighting each other, and I lost my internet connection, it seems these att and t routers a hard wired and coded with the internet service provider, and do not work with anything else, I ended up just having to use the 2wire.

Unless I can add an antenna or something to it without having to modify the internet and router settings.

----------



Oh I know there are other networks in our area, I have seen them on my devices. But I do not see how or what I can do about all the info that app will pickup, I can't really control my surroundings.
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
Will the software app that was suggested to me here help me see the channels? and would the app allow me to choose the best one?

there are multiple devices in my home, kindled and an iPad, could they interfere as well? do they drag on the signal if they are turned off?
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,987
192
I can't really control my surroundings.
Yes you can.

WIFI is broadcast in a number of defined channels. Your task is to select a channel for your router that is *most* away from your neighbors. If you are unable to change your router's settings, we are dead in the water.

The broadband service provider typically gives you a "gateway" which is an Internet modem + WIFI router in one box. The service provider expects you to configure the WIFI side to suite your needs. Since this is a G gateway, it's an older installation, you ISP may be willing to swap out a newer N model for you at no cost. Failing that, as long as you can change setting, you can always TURN OFF the 2WIRE WIFI portion and attach your own WIFI router. This is a lot if you are not technically inclined.
 

Sossity

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 12, 2010
1,037
7
In matters of internet, no I am not technically inclined, I tried sometime ago, & was a mess, I am sort of married to this router with at&t.

The gateway, is connected and was 1st set up through ethernet to a windows XP machine, in our home, with my mac mini connected through ethernet, and all other devices connect wirelessly.