: 2009 MBP Wifi Connected to Router OK, 2013 MBA Won't


kloan
Aug 22nd, 2016, 11:25 PM
I recently picked up a 2013 13" Macbook Air. I've been having issues with wifi ever since (slow or unresponsive, constant signal drop outs). I've been struggling with it for hours trying different things, deleting various preferences, changing settings... FINALLY, I thought to try tethering from my iPhone, low and behold it works FINE (except the stupid iPhone won't tether with wifi, only LTE so it's eating up my data quick).

Anyway, the problem is obviously with the router and how this Macbook Air is communicating with it. My 2009 Macbook Pro connected to it just fine, as does the Surface Pro I have. So SOMETHING is up with this freakin Macbook Air, and I have no idea what it is.

Does anyone know what I need to do to get this damn thing to work properly? The router is my neighbours (we're splitting internet), so I can't log in and change settings, but honestly I really shouldn't have to if 3 of my other devices all connect JUST FINE without having to do anything extra.

Any help getting this fixed will be greatly appreciated! I'm selling my two other machines, so I need to get this wifi working asap.

kloan
Aug 23rd, 2016, 12:10 AM
Read somewhere bluetooth interferes with the wifi signal. Turned off bluetooth, connection is stable. WAY TO F'IN GO APPLE. Solid engineering there guys.

So I can either not use my bluetooth mouse, or get an external wifi adapter. Great.

To add to this, I read a post about USB 3.0 hard drives causing interference with wifi signal as well. Well sure enough, my speeds saw a bump once I disconnected my external hdd. Just to make sure it wasn't a co-incidence, I plugged my hdd back in and almost instantly the speeds started dropping again. F'n LAME.

This makes me want to keep using my Surface Pro instead. At least that actually works properly.

SINC
Aug 23rd, 2016, 11:14 AM
Have you tried a total erase of the HD and reinstalling the OS? I had a slow wifi on a MBP several years ago and a wipe clean and reinstall solved the issue. I used a Time Machine backup to save my data and reinstall it.

monokitty
Aug 23rd, 2016, 12:17 PM
What kind of router do you have? If it's an ISP supplied one, dump it immediately. Those things are utter **** and often only allow X device to connect while Y can't for no good reason (intermittently). Never heard of Bluetooth interfering with the WiFi functionality, unless the wireless card or another piece is defective.

rgray
Aug 23rd, 2016, 07:59 PM
Sounds like your 2013 MBP could benefit from a thorough "nuke 'n' pave" treatment. Just as Sinc suggests. Until you do it you won't really be able to diagnose the machine.

kloan
Aug 24th, 2016, 03:07 AM
It's a fresh install on the Macbook Air. It's 100% conclusive, the bluetooth (and to a lesser extent the external USB3.0 HDD) was interfering with the wifi reception. I could reproduce the effect over and over again. Each time I turned on bluetooth, the wifi would drop out completely and couldn't stay connected. With bluetooth off, the wifi would work. If I had the external HDD plugged in and mounted, the wifi download speed was reduced by about 30-40%.

The router is indeed an ISP supplied one. It's broadcasting at 2.4 and I doubt it even has 5 capabilities. But like I said, it's my neighbours so I didn't want to bother him with the technical stuff.

I found a solution to this problem though. I went out and purchased a wifi extender. This amplifies the signal so I can now use bluetooth and the external hdd without any ill effects. I should have just gotten one anyway when I first decided to share the internet with my neighbour, since he's a couple doors down. I didn't though because my old Macbook Pro could connect no problem, and the Surface Pro could too. My iPhone could connect sitting closer to the door, but the signal would get a bit weaker as I moved further away in my apartment. My printer however could not connect at all, so that was a little annoying. So I have the extender plugged in right at my door, so it's getting the strongest possible signal and boosting it.

Anyway, with the extender everything is working as it should now. It seems to me the wifi in these newer machines isn't as robust as the earlier machines, which is why it suffer from interference from these other devices. I suppose most people won't notice if they're using 5ghz or their routers are closer to them.

This was rather frustrating, but I'm glad it's sorted out. Hopefully if someone has similar issues, reading my solution will help them avoid the same frustrations of troubleshooting.

SINC
Aug 24th, 2016, 04:41 AM
Interesting issue indeed, but thanks for posting your solution and the end of your problem.