Wireless Internet Intermittently VERY Slow on unibody Macbook Pro, Linksys WRT-160N

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by NewRevolution88, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. NewRevolution88 macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    Hello! This seems to be a fairly complex connectivity issue but hopefully one of you smarties will end my suffering with a miracle cure! I know my description is a little lengthy, but I thank you sincerely in advance for reading it and for any help you can give me.

    So here goes, I recently bought a new macbook pro 15" with Snow Leopard. It works magnificently nearly all the time, except on one of my home networks. The network is comcast cable through a linksys wrt-160N router, with a year-old iMac running Leopard connected via ethernet.
    My problem is that on the Macbook, the wireless internet will be working perfectly sometimes and then will suddenly crap out and slow to a crawl. I notice this most often using Netflix, as a show will load very quickly (5-10 seconds each for both "determining video quality" and buffering stages) and then start playing just fine. Then, at some point in the show Netflix comes up with the message that is something like "your internet connection has slowed, we are adjusting playback to avoid further interruption"...and this process is always painfully slow on this network. I usually don't even wait for this to happen, and click reload instead. This sometimes works, and the "determining vid. qual." and buffering will be complete in a few seconds and the show will resume, but more often these will both become very slow as well, taking up to a couple minutes each, which becomes absolutely maddening when it happens repeatedly.

    Now I am assuming that because Netflix is streaming, these slow-downs mean that my connection has slowed. I suppose it COULD be a Netflix issue, but I am led to believe otherwise because when the slow-downs occur, my browser and other download speeds seem to slow dramatically as well.

    Additionally, I occasionally find my internet totally non-functional even though my wireless network appears in Airport, apparently with full strength. When this happens, I try to reconnect to the network with the WPA2 password, but it says "connection timeout" and will not connect- so frustrating!! To fix this I have to either reset the router (which seems to work sometimes) or reconfigure it with the disc, which does fix the problem for a while.

    So there you have it, my connectivity issue in as much detail as I can think to include. I have read some forums which seem to say changing my DNS servers might fix the problem, and I am also wondering whether there is any way the iMac might be disrupting the wireless...somehow? Any brilliant solutions out there? or is there any more insightful information I can gather (speed tests etc.) which might help get to the bottom of this? Any helpful insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks mates! :apple:
  2. JustanotherJack macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2009
    Just to say: I regularly also run into exactly the problem you've outlined. I'll be happily surfing using my 15" unibody Macbook 10.6.2 pro when all of a sudden things will slow to a crawl and/or cut out. I then find that i get the same 'network timeout' message when i try to reconnect.

    It's strange because my iphone continues to function perfectly on the same wifi connection at the same time, as do other computers. I also find that this happens regardless of the wireless network i'm using. I"ve spoken to Apple about it and they've said that unless i'm able to replicate the problem in front of one of their 'geniuses' there's nothing they can do.

    Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
  3. jackandkerry macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2010
    feeling your pain

    We are having the exact same issues, except with hulu not netflix. We have Comcast's so-call "powerboost" but I think the issue lies with the macbook. At some points web-browsing is amazingly fast, then it just kind of hits a wall and the page will take forever to load and I have to refresh/click the link I want again to get the page to load. Very frustrating. I have tried the firefox tip where you go and and make that one "false" value "true" and the tip where you change the dns settings to the and I am still having that same problem. What next??? Any help would be fantastic!
  4. Ardoptres macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2009
    I have the same problem with my iMac, never had the problem with my MBP.

    When it happens i just turn off Airport, wait a few seconds, then turn it on again. This always work. I don't know what's wrong, but i suspect the computer, not the connection.
  5. Devtron macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2009
    I have the same issue


    if i am downloading something , or playing a game, online game that is, it will continue without any problems, evean streaming music to the airport express, keeps going,
    but every new thing i want to do, open a webpage or something will not work, either be slow like nuts, or time out.
  6. NewRevolution88 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
  7. NewRevolution88 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    Well the problem seems to have stopped, for now at least. I really have no idea what exactly fixed it. I unplugged all of the ethernet cables in my network, reset the modem and then reconfigured the router with the disk. I used the exact same security settings (WPA2) and password as before, but the problem has yet to recur since. Very odd as I had tried reconfiguring several times, but maybe the modem reset was the ticket? Anyway, something to try if you haven't yet.
  8. simonhead666 macrumors newbie


    Sep 28, 2008
    Uxbridge Ontario
    Same problem here on my 17" MBP 2.8Ghz.. In fact, it's so slow, that I'm now using a G5 iMac to post...and The MBP is still trying to load my home page..
    Maybe a wireless firmware issue?:confused:
  9. simonhead666 macrumors newbie


    Sep 28, 2008
    Uxbridge Ontario
    Pretty sure it's snow leopard

    I have a brand new MacBook pro running snow leopard and a G5 iMac running Leopard.. The MBP is not loading any pages and the G5 iMac is running fine..
    It has to be a Snow Leopard Issue.. I regret upgrading
    there are some posts on other forums saying to erase prefs in the Library.. works for 5 mins and then locks up again..

  10. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    My unibody MBP running os x 10.5.8 has this problem, and so does my wife's macbook running os x 10.6.2. Really irritating. All our other wireless devices (roku, linksys skype phone, 5 year old averatec pc laptop, etc) maintain a steady signal.

    It's definitely the hardware that's at fault. I have a security camera software which I am running to maintain constant pinging - this resolves the problem. Apple's definitely getting on my nerve lately with all their quality issues :mad:
  11. calwest macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2010
    slow internet


    My speed issue is very similar with those posting on this thread but with one difference. I notice that when my computer is idle, the speed slows dramatically. If I keep the cursor moving, I can greatly influence the speed. Seems very odd and almost unbelievable.

    I have tested this phenomenon using internet speed tests, such as http://www.internetfrog.com/mypc/speedtest/. While test is working, keep the cursor moving and check out the speed. Then reload the page but don't move the mouse. Is the speed the same? Mine is reduced by at least a factor of 10.

    This phenomenon occurred with 10.5.x and with my current OS 10.6.2. Anyone else see the same affect? Anyone know the cause and more importantly, the solution?

  12. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Ok, i had the exact same router as you, i now have an Airport Extreme.

    First thing , how long ago did you buy your router? I say this because Cisco put out a firmware update in July or 09'. If you haven't updated the firmware, DO NOT do it in safari. For some reason, it WILL FAIL to load the firmware. I had to download FireFox for this.

    Also, DD-WRT is not out for the WRT-160N. Supposedly it is under development, but that has been the case for all or 2009.

    I decided to sell my Linksys and upgrade to the Airport Extreme. Never had to reset it, or have any problems with it!

    Also, upload speeds will affect your internet speeds, but you are probably aware of this. I have used Cisco products before in the past, and the best one i had was the WRT-54G.
  13. chalkiecloonan macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    the solution?

    hi did a search on exactly this i was about to replace the airport card
    and these guys seemed to have done it ill let you know if it works

    Apple solved this for me!! At least I've been running with a great, stable, high-speed connection for the last 16 hrs, including closing the lid (computer sleep) and a shutdown (power off). I happen to have a repair contract (AppleCare Protection Plan), active since I had my last problem (screen flashing). So I finally called for free advice. First they told me to repair permissions (I hadn't done that for two years). This worked - but only for about three hours. Then the problem returned. So I called again. Then they got me to zap the PRAM, then trash the System Configuration folder, shut down the computer again and and restart the computer with the power off the wireless router, powering the router up exactly when the computer chimed. Lo and behold the MacBook is now happily on line at speed, with its Intel chip, Leopard (10.5.8) and o2 wireless box, and has been for 16 hrs as I say. Here are the details:

    1. Repair disk permissions (Apple told me I should be doing this monthly.) Then zap the PRAM:
    2. Shut down the computer.
    3. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 5.
    4. Turn on the computer.
    5. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
    6. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
    7. Release the keys.
    8. Then trash the System Configuration folder (in Macintosh HD/System/Library) and empty the trash.
    9. Shut down the computer.
    10. Unplug the power cable from the router.
    11. Get ready to plug the power cable back in, and turn the computer on…
    12. …and when you hear the chime, simultaneously plug in the router power cable.

    In step 8, I should have said trash 'contents of the SystemConfiguration folder', not the folder itself. Also, at the same step I should have added trash [user]/library/preferences/com.apple.systempreferences

    After I'd been playing around with network printer problems & preferences, the slow internet connection arose again. I followed all my steps and trashed the SystemConfiguration folder, but not my system preferences - and on restart the MacBook failed to recreate a new SystemConfiguration folder. So it was wrecked.

    I solved that one by copying over the folder from another machine running Leopard (Tiger's folder is different) and it worked fine and was back up to speed again - and continues to be so two weeks later.

    And in answer to Wally, yes there are filters on all phone lines - that didn't appear to be the problem.
  14. gprestage macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pretend we're idiots

    I have this problem as well and would love to see if your solution works - but your step 1 (Repair disk permissions Then zap the PRAM) is really unclear to those of us who aren't experts. Any chance you could explain what it means?
  15. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    See the Apple document on on how to do "Reset PRAM" at Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM. Believe it or not but this sometimes helps network issues & sound issues.

    To get all the steps to to repair OS X at the Apple document Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck.

    To give you a web blog that chalkiecloonan was trying to tell you the steps to fix your problem in his/her post is How I fixed my dropping wireless Airport connection problem in Snow Leopard. This blog should help you try to fix the wireless issues.
  16. Micke macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2011
    Maybe fixed?

    My shiny new Macbook Pro wireless performance was pedestrian compared to my Sony Vaio PC which is falling apart and held together with gaffer tape. I've trawled the forums and tried various reconfigs, including resetting the PRAM, to no effect. Yesterday I tried to upgrade the firmware on my old 3Com router and it screwed up. I decided to buy an new router rather than going through the pain of trying to give the old one the kiss of life. I got myself a Linksys WAG160Nv2 which upped me from 802.11g to 802.11n. My router ping response times have gone down from 200ms+ to 3-4ms and my internet link if flying. I thought my old router was ok and the problem was in the mac. Maybe that wasn't the case and upgrading to 802.11n was the main fix? Expensive solution for some if it is. Fingers crossed it stays ok!


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