WiFi starts Strong, Fades, then the Connection Dies Within 30 Minutes

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JoeImportant, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. JoeImportant macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    So, I'm having trouble with my Mac Mini 2,1. It is an older Mac, but it serves me quite well. My problem is this:

    After starting it up, the internet connects to my Airport Extreme Base Station and when I launch Safari everything works fine. Over time (about 30 minutes) the connection starts to degrade and ultimately, drops.

    So far, I've done the following:

    1. I swithched the DNS to a public DNS.
    2. I changed the channel on the router.
    3. I've restarted the Mac, the router, and the modem numerous times (including complete power off and power on resets).
    4. I've installed and run Sophos Anti-Virus software (nothing detected)

    Other things you should know:

    • I have several other devices on the Base Station (iPad, iPhone, couple of laptops, a Wii, a TiVo), but they were running on the station long before these problems began.
    • About a year ago, I cracked open the Mini for the first time and upgraded the HD and memory. WiFi worked fine afterwards.
    • If I click on the Airport signal icon in, it will flash between "Airport: On" and "Airport: Looking for Networks" its only for a split second, but it looks like it is struggling to stay connected.
    • I tend to leave my computer on all the time.
    • The computer otherwise works fine.

    Based on these facts, does anyone have any ideas on what might be wrong?

    Thanks!

    PS: My apologies if this is discussed elsewhere, I just couldn't find a post with my computer's symptoms.
     
  2. Chozo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    #2
    Try using an external wifi adapter and see if the same thing happens.
    If it doesn't, then your airport card in the mini might be starting to go.
     
  3. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #3
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #4
    If you're a Netflix subscriber, (or something similar), start a movie and leave it running for an hour. Does it still cut out with a constant stream?
     
  5. JoeImportant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    Trying everything

    Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'll try them and let you all my results.
     
  6. JoeImportant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    No success with Hulu

    I tried your suggestion and the connection died after a half hour. Could the hardware be overheating?
     
  7. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #7
    Mayyyybe. Try installing iStat Pro (link) and post what the temp results are.
     
  8. JoeImportant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #8
    USB WiFi

    I tried using a USB WiFi dongle and the computer exhibited the same symptoms. Worked for awhile, then it cut out. Worked for awhile, then cut out again. Blevins, I'll take your advice and test the temperatures and report back my findings. I'm staring to think something is overheating, scrambling, cooling off, restarting, then overheating again.
     
  9. JoeImportant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    #9
    Temp Results

    Temps in Fahrenheit

    HD: 119
    CPU: 173
    CPU Heatsink: 146
    Ambient: 122
    Northbridge 1: 131
    Northbridge 2: 133
     
  10. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #10
    Hmm. Temps seem alright. The fact that it also failed using a USB dongle indicates a possible software problem to me. Have you run all the recent software updates?
     
  11. cocacolakid, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011

    cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #11
  12. cocacolakid, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011

    cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    Some people on that Apple thread claim deleting 3 plist files solved the problem (other says it didn't work for them)...

    Here is one post...
    ---
    "I have spent hours working on this, and finally contacted Apple Customer Service. The service is FREE since I just bought the SL upgrade. The first level tech was great, but unsuccessful. The second level "wireless specialist" had me delete the 3 suspect plists, and my system immediately returned to normal.

    Here is the easy and quick procedure:

    1. Open the Macintosh HD
    2. Open Preferences
    3. Open SystemConfiguration
    4. Drag the following 3 files to the desktop: (so that they will be temporarily copied there)
    a. preferences.plist
    b. Networkinterfaces.plist
    c. com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    5. Drag the same three files from the SystemConfiguration folder to the trash. You will be prompted for the Administrator password.
    6. Restart the computer
    7. Test your browser (repeatedly!). If it works, drag the three files from the desktop to the trash."

    That's on page 72 of the thread, by a user named Phil Stasik...

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2142725&start=1065&tstart=0
     
  13. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502

    SideStepSociety

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #13
    I have this same issue. Not sure of the exact time before the card fails, but unless the mini is within 2-3 feet of the router, it will not stay connected.

    If you're outside of the 2-3 feet, it'll have strong signal, then slowly lower, lower some more, then finally won't pick up any connection at all.

    I'm fairly certain this is a hardware issue, as the problem also shows up in Windows 7. On the Apple Discussions forum, there are SEVERAL 06 MacBook users (which likely used the same AirPort card as the mini) reporting the same problem.

    I've done several clean installs as well, tried going back to Tiger (mostly for fun, I miss that OS), and the problem persists. Although I do find it really odd that the USB Wi-Fi had the same problem for you.

    As of now, the only fix I have is ethernet/keeping the router nearby. It makes me kinda sad as the mini was my first Mac and now she's struggling. :(
     

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