Wireless Networking Woes - What should I do next?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jbischke, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. jbischke macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2009
    Hi all. I moved into a new place about two months ago and have had continuous struggle getting my wireless network working since then. I have a cable modem and an Airport Extreme which I bought about 2 years ago. I can pick up wireless pretty well within about 20 feet of the router but past that the signal tends to fall off pretty dramatically. At 40 feet I can't pick up a signal at all.

    I thought at first that the problem was the wi-fi card in my new MacBook Pro (as I was dropping connex other places as well). I got it replaced but that didn't help at all. I also tested an older MacBook Pro and couldn't get a signal outside of 20 feet either.

    I purchased an Airport Express last week to see if that would help. Unfortunately it didn't as it could barely connect to the Airport Extreme outside of about 10-15 feet and therefore didn't extend the range enough to reach where I need to go (40 feet from the router/AeBS). I also tried to purchase a new Airport Extreme to see if that would improve things. It didn't.

    I'm now trying to figure out how to move forward. I need to get a strong internet connection 40 feet from the base station which doesn't seem like it should be all that difficult. I guess I'm down to a few options:

    #1 - Replace the original Airport Extreme router with a different router. Probably would be the NETGEAR WPN824 RangeMax Wireless Router based on some research I've done.

    #2 - Run a powerline adapter so that I can access the network over the electrical lines. It sounds like something like the Netgear XAVB101 Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit will work pretty well for this.

    #3 - Move. I really hope it doesn't come to that. :)

    I guess I could also run an Ethernet cable across the entire place...that would be preferable to moving eh?

    Anyway, any thoughts on these options or anything else I can try. I've spent countless hours on this and it's really, really frustrating to not be able to do something that seems like it should be fairly easy. It's possible that the construction in the new place is causing these issues. However, I still need to try to figure out a work-around.

    Any suggestions?
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    What other devices might be interfering? Phone system, other?
  3. jbischke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2009
    We don't have a phone system and I've been using AirRadar to make sure that there aren't any other routers closeby running on the same channels. We do live in a fairly densely populated area (we're in a triplex with a few other buildings closeby) though. I suspect there's something strange in terms of the construction of the walls which might be causing this. I've never had issues like this before even while connecting to wi-fi from much further away.
  4. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    1) How new is the buliding you live in? Modern buildings such as my house can use some kind of aluminium insulation in the walls, and it completely kills wireless signals its really annoying

    2) Radiators and Radiator pipes in walls are a nono

    3) Wireless Keyboard and Mice can completely kill wireless signals, my old cheap $10 wireless RF mouse killed my wireless signal and made my downloads run at about 1/3 speed when using it

    4) Cheap microwaves can completely kill wireless signals

    5) Bluetooth devices (wireless mighty mouse, wireless keyboard, mobile phones with bluetooth left on close to the router) again say goodbye to your wireless strength
  5. jbischke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2009
    I don't know too much about the age or the construction of the building. It's very possible there is some form of insulation that is causing the problem. I've never encountered anything like it before.

    As for other things, we do have a microwave but almost never use it so I don't think that's the problem. And we don't have any bluetooth devices.

    I'm thinking about going with the Netgear router first and see if that solves the problem. That would be cheapest and best. If that doesn't do the trick then the only thing that will work it seems to get a signal in all parts of our home is to do the powerline thing.
  6. BobZune macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Is the transmit power on the Airport Extreme turned up to 100%? (If not, do so and see if that improves the situation). You can also try extending the ethernet cable length to get the AEBS closer to where you want the wireless connectivity, within your constraints.
  7. jbischke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2009
    Yup, transmit power is turned up to 100%.

    I'll pull the base station out as far as I can (and also move it away from electrical stuff and stick it on a non-metal box...I've heard both can help). Would love any other suggestions of similar type!
  8. BobZune macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Do you get a better signal if you unplug AExtremeBS and use the Airport Express as the only base station? (To see if the AEBS has a weak signal problem in the power stage.)

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