wireless powerbook question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Raidersmojo, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Raidersmojo macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2005
    Burton michigan
    I hear rumors from two sides

    1. powerbooks wireless isn't as good as the ibooks and it gets weak signal or no signal at all even close to the base station

    2. its fine

    I'm about to buy my first powerbook next week for college (1.67 ghz 15 incher) my family has two ibooks and I wanted something different, but not if it doesn't work on wireless networks as well as it should

    can I ge some insight?
  2. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    The signal on Powerbooks works just fine. Granted, the iBooks get slightly better reception (probably due to the fact that they are plastic rather than metal), but I have had many different Powerbooks in all sizes and have never had any trouble at all with wireless.
  3. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA

    people sais the aluminum encasing blocks the wifi signal. the antenna is behind the screen. therefore there are some gray plastic parts on the powerbook lids. the ibooks plastic case doesn't have that problem.

    i never had any problems picking up a wifi signal when my pc friends could pick up a signal.

    so it can't be that bad.

    logging on to our companies screwed up network is the problem. but that is a different story.......
  4. simon-says macrumors regular

    May 24, 2005
    I find my PowerBook doesn't get great wireless recieption, it could be vastly improved. At first I thought it was my router (Linksys WRT54G), but after I returned one I figured out it was the PowerBook. In MacStumbler my signal strength is about 50 like 6 feet away from my router. Right now I'm close to 50 feet away and I get low 30s from MacStumbler and loses connection from time to time. Though it works for what I need it to, it does need to be improved. I've thought about those QuickerTek antenna's, but that's too much money for me now and I don't wanna open my PowerBook. I really wanna know if a network card would improve. As of right now I have my wireless router set to B-Only as G is so horrible and doesn't work, it really sucks. I really couldn't go for the iBook as I need the extra computing power and this is my first computer purchase in three and a half years. I do need a better solution to this. I'd really like to hear someone that has a solution for around $50 or less that doesn't involve me opening my PowerBook.
  5. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    The general consnsus seems to be that the iBook gets better reception. Mostly this is anecdotal though.... The old Tibooks were quite ordniary with reception but the newer ones have the antennas (both AE and BT) at the top of the screen and no longer enclosed by casing.

    I'm generally happy with my powerbook and it's range - unfortunately I don't have an iBook to compare though. I can get reasonable reception around my whole house (brick 2 stories with cement slab floor on level 1).
  6. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    My brother's alum. 12 in powerbook gets much better airport reception than my tibook does. Probably not as good as the ibook's reception though.
  7. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    1. The wireless reception on a PowerBook is just fine. It might not be quite as powerful as on an iBook (so people say) but I have not had a problem with wifi on mine and to say it gets weak or no signal close to the base station is nonsense!

    2. The 15 inch PowerBook comes with a pcmcia slot so you could always buy a wireless card if you do find a problem with the built-in airport card, but i don't think you'll need to do so.

    Don't worry it'll work just fine and your family will be envious of your new purchase :)
  8. witness macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2005
    I use my PowerBook a floor below my router and have excellent signal strength, better than my old Sony Vaio. I don't have an iBook to compare with but the signal strength and network performance couldn’t be any better.

    Routers have a big part to play, you need a minimum of 2 aerials which must be positioned correctly (some routers have up to 7 aerials) and you need to tweak the channels so that you don't get interference with other nearby networks or wireless devices.

    Getting a wireless network running is a bit of a art, if you're getting bad performance/interference then the chances are that you can fix it.
  9. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I've never really noticed a big problem with my Powerbook.

    I can give you an iBook/Powerbook comparison though. My mother's Express is in the upstairs front bedroom of her house. She has a 30ft garden at the back with tables and chairs at the end of it. Her iBook gets a signal when placed on the table. My Powerbook couldn't but could get a signal if I moved about 4 foot closer to the house.
  10. GilGrissom macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2005
    I have had a few problems with wireless signal and my PowerBook. I use a Netgear 54Mbps wireless router on my 2.2Mb broadband and discovered at one end of my 1.5metre desk I had an "ok" signal, but at the other where it is more convenient I had next to no signal! This was highly annoying. I am running Tiger and was looking forward to the 10.4.2 update which promised better wireless networking, as mine had been suffering from the drop outs and other problems described. To my horror 10.4.2 made it worse. Now I can be right next to my router and my PowerBook wil drop the signal without warning and insist there is no signal in range.

    Highly annoyed I changed the channel of my wireless network (on router) to a lower one (as I was on a high channel) and the signal seems to have improved 100%. I no longer get any of the strange drop outs and my PowerBooks so far always tells me the wireless network is there, at least, even if it cannot connect to it!
  11. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    My wife has a 15" PowerBook that she uses wireless. Which each update to Mac OS X the strength of the signal has improved. Most of the time the signal is at four bars.
  12. GilGrissom macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2005
    10.4.1 improved my wireless signal. 10.4.2 did if I was near enough to it, but it dropped out more frequently and refused to pick it up again!.

    I think some of the problem is the position of my router in the house aswell! I imagine moving it to the side slightly out of its little area will boost signal 10 fold!
  13. witness macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2005
    In the vast majority of cases it is the configuration and positioning of the router that affects the reliability of a wireless network.

    1) Ensure that your router's firmware is up to date.
    2) Position your router correctly (not on top of tall cupboards or next to windows or mirrors).
    3) Adjust the routers aerials bearing in mind that the best reception will be within a large ring doughnut shape area around the aerials. The size of the doughnut will be relative to the gain of your routers aerials. In many cases it is possible to obtain aerials that provide a higher gain.

    If you continue to have problems try moving your router, adjusting the aerials, changing the channel, etc... Also make sure that you don't have your router or PowerBook next to a mobile phone, cordless phone or other radio/microwave device. If you are unsure about what might be causing interference, try switching off all major electrical equipment in the house and then turning them back on one by one until you find the culprit.

    Unless you are very unlucky and live in an area with very high interference levels you should be able to get a good wireless network working in any reasonably sized house.
  14. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    This is one of the reasons I like my PowerBook Pismo and am hesitant to upgrade to a newer PowerBook. The older machines like the Pismo had plastic cases which don't interfere with Wi-Fi. As for ruggedness, I'm dropped my Pismo repeatedly (accidentally!) and carried it with me where ever I go and it still looks fine. I hear the metal cases are not as forgiving of abuse.
  15. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    Just checked in to hotel in Denver area. Airport signal is strong.
  16. GilGrissom macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2005
    Many thanks. While moving around the house I get a superb signal, it is just my room, (furthest location from router though!), but my old Wintel laptop was fine. True it was powered by a dam good Netgear card!

    I think I have solved the wireless strength problem now, Im sitting here in my room with top signal for a change! So its looking good! 10.4.2 was just beginning to worry me with these strange drop outs. Its seemed to have stopped now, maybe it was just a run-in period, I don't know. But immediate effects of the update were bad!

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