Macbook Wireless Problem

I love my MacBook, I really do (although I am rather tempted by one of these). However, of late I have been having a really annoying problem it and my home wireless broadband.

I generally turn off the router during the night, to let it cool down and whatnot, then switch it on again at about 8 in the morning. The mac gets turned on then to deal with with any email etc that has come in, then I get the lad ready and do the school run. When I get home, the mac is fired up again and I start work.

Then we get to around three in the afternoon, when the Mac suddenly gets disconnected from the wireless, and any attempts to reconnect are doomed to ‘time out’. There’s nothing wrong with the router, and when I start up my lumbering Acer Aspire, which runs Ubuntu, it connects fine. If I am lucky, the Mac will be talking to the router again by about eight in the evening.

This is profoudly annoying. Does anyone know what might be happening here?

12 thoughts on “Macbook Wireless Problem”

  1. Does the problem go away if you leave the router on 24/7?

    Depending on the router, there may some logs you can access through the administrative interface that cast light on the problem.

    I could imagine something to do with DHCP leasing causing a problem – perhaps your Mac is only happy with a specific IP when connected to that network, and the 3pm to 8pm gap is how long the router takes to refresh all its DHCP offerings.

    You have probably tried this, but I have all sorts of weird issues with the Wifi on my MBP which are usually solved by turning the Airport on the laptop off and on again.

    Hope some of this helps!


  2. Thanks Ed, will have a dig in the router admin. Turning Airport on and off sadly doesn’t help πŸ˜‰

    One recommendation on twitter was to buy an Apple Airport router…

  3. This is not what you want to read when you’ve just spent Β£1,150 on a spanking new aluminium MB (arriving end Oct – this is going to feel like a long few weeks).

    Apple’s site makes bold claims about how easily it finds WiFi.


  4. don’t buy the apple airport – not worth it if you already have a router and are sure thats not the problem.

    Am on to my 5th mac now and the only problem I’ve ever had with wireless has been caused by the ISP. Earlier in the year I had a really annoying problem where the signal would go up & down throughout the day – I spent literally hours on the phone, bought 2 routers, tried 3 different computers, changed wireless channels, got a BT engineer round – it wasn’t the fault of BT, and it wasn’t the fault of the ISP………. strange then that literally the minute I changed ISP I got a full & consistent signal.

    I’d definitely delete all the current settings you’ve got in your networks & see if its something in the current configurations. The fact that you can be specific about the times its on & off is weird – if it wasn’t that you say your Acer works fine during this time I’d have said it was definitely your ISP.

    (am assuming you’ve already reset the router to default settings too?)

    @Neil those claims are right – my wife uses Windows Vista & while she’s waiting for that to wake up & then connect I’ve already been online for about 2 minutes – when you get used to it it gets really frustrating waiting for PC’s to connect!

    1. Hey Mike – sorry to butt in on the conversation, I've had ongoing problems with my MB wireless since buying it new in mid 2008. Signal fluctuates wildly all day – can only ever get about 5 secs of 60kb/s connection, then drops down to 0kb/s for 30secs, then up again for a few more seconds… Tried all suggestions I can find on web, even bought apple airport. MB is triple boot with Ubuntu and WinXP on other partitions – wireless works fine under these OS, just Mac OS won't run it's own hardware! Having read your post I'm wondering now if it's an ISP problem – could you give more details?
      Thanks heaps!

  5. Ubuntu works on wifi. It’s def. a mac problem.

    @marxculture on twitter suggested:

    “You’ve tried renewing the DHCP lease? System Prefs, Network, Advanced, TCP/IP, Renew DHCP lease?”

    Which seems to have done the trick for now!

  6. Looks like the fire’s out before I got here. Two small notes:-

    Wireless hardware can be under the same brand, but use two different (and not necessarily compatible) chipsets: I’ve been burnt by this.

    Rule out neighbour interference and weak signals before powering up more wireless computers to debug.

    Now, I’ll go back to my own *wired* networking problems πŸ˜‰

  7. @Mike that’s good to hear. I am feeling really good about my re-entry into the Macosphere. It’s been about 6 years since I touched one. In the meantime, I’ve probably reinstalled XP about 50 times to clear inexplicable problems, and yes… lost a few days waiting for the bloody thing to boot and connect.

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