Lion and wireless connection drops

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    Posted: 07 January 2012 07:53 PM

    I did a search and did not find a topic on this, but if I missed it maybe someone can direct me. I recently got a new iMac and a macbook pro both with Lion. Now my airport wireless connection drops all the time. I have an older iMac sitting here along with iPad and other devices and they work fine when the macs with Lion drop the connection.

    The connection might be fine for a hour or two, then it may drop 3-5 times per minute for a long period of time. I work from home alone so no other activity on the network to cause the problem, and again it seems Lion specific.

    Web searches come up with many hacks but none so far have worked. Anyone have any insight or can point me to a possible solution? This issues has been prevalent since Lion release and nothing from Apple to address those affected.

    Thanks.

    One thing that I would like to try but don’t know how is to eliminate all the other network connection options (from the neighborhood) that maybe are interfering somehow. Is there a way to stop my mac from recognizing every wireless connection it sees?

         
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    Posted: 07 January 2012 07:59 PM #1

    I don’t have any Lion-specific experience but I do know my AirPort Express units fairly well, having used those for years.

    Can we get a baseline? 

    Which AirPort unit, how old, just one unit, network range, transmission mode (are all your wireless clients 802.11n?), any change in AirPort settings, are both Macs Lion-native, etc.?

    If your AirPort is turning up huge numbers of networks, that could be one thing.  Enabling interference robustness, maybe making your network closed, “changing the channel”, multicast rate, etc. may help.

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    Posted: 07 January 2012 08:25 PM #2

    Mav - 07 January 2012 11:59 PM

    I don’t have any Lion-specific experience but I do know my AirPort Express units fairly well, having used those for years.

    Can we get a baseline? 

    Which AirPort unit, how old, just one unit, network range, transmission mode (are all your wireless clients 802.11n?), any change in AirPort settings, are both Macs Lion-native, etc.?

    If your AirPort is turning up huge numbers of networks, that could be one thing.  Enabling interference robustness, maybe making your network closed, “changing the channel”, multicast rate, etc. may help.

    Wow. Thanks for the response.

    Lets see what I can answer.

    My airport base station has this info from system report:
    Apple Network (removed for security):
      PHY Mode:  802.11b
      BSSID:  (also removed for security):
      Channel:  10
      Country Code:  US
      Network Type:  Infrastructure
      Security:  WPA2 Personal
      Signal / Noise:  -50 dBm / -100 dBm
      Transmit Rate:  11

    What is interference robustness? My wireless network is closed (password protected). Not sure what a multicast rate is.

    Network range is good. 4 bars at the main workstation and good signal three times the distance away with a laptop. (iMac is 6 feet above the airport base station directly below me)

    I think it is the graphic base station, must be 4-6 years old?

    Also have an airport express in the house, not near by and hardly ever used.

    When I lose my connection, most times, the airport wireless indicator does not change, always 4 bars of strength. If I check the connection menu it always says WiFi On. Occasionally, maybe one time out of 20, it will gray out and get the exclamation point indicating no signal, but not usually. To get it working again I have to turn of wifi and turn back on. That may last an hour or 30 seconds.

    There are times that I know it goes out, but I am not using it at that moment, and a minute later it will be on. Other times it won’t come back by itself.

    When it comes back on after having to turn it off, Safari automatically reloads any pages that lost connections (may not be related).

    At this moment it detects 11 wireless networks in the vicinity, which seems extreme. But a few neighbors have 2 networks set up (same name, one closed, one open and ‘guest’)

         
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    Posted: 07 January 2012 08:31 PM #3

    Mav - 07 January 2012 11:59 PM

    are both Macs Lion-native, etc.?

    Forgot to answer a couple questions. Yes these are two brand new, Lion native machines. Other machines in the house are older so likely not 802.11n

    by the way, cut out again between these two last posts. And while I know its an older unit, this issue seems to affect people with brand new units as some went out and bought new airport base stations thinning that was the issues only to have no effect. Seems Lion related.

         
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    Posted: 07 January 2012 09:24 PM #4

    Having a base station that old, you wouldn’t have 802.11n support anyway.

    Well, if you have an AirPort Express as a network extender and you don’t need it, you can always try unplugging it so your Macs don’t get “confused” by which to connect to.

    Alternatively, if your AirPort Express is newer than your base station and you can the network work with just that, you can also try replacing your base station and seeing how that goes.  AirPort units do die after a while, and connection drops are one possible sign of trouble, though I know you’re mentioning other Lion users saying that new AirPort units don’t fix anything.

    Somewhere in Wireless Options there’s an “enable interference robustness” command.  Might help with all those wireless networks.  Also, make sure your Lion Macs are set up to only recognize your own network as the preferred one.  You can also try playing around with the channel settings as a last resort.  Otherwise, hopefully Apple will release a patch.

    Incidentally, I have a new Lion Mac and it’s never given me network issues (though there’s more like 4-5 networks around me).

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    Posted: 07 January 2012 09:31 PM #5

    Mav - 08 January 2012 01:24 AM

    Somewhere in Wireless Options there’s an “enable interference robustness” command.  Might help with all those wireless networks.

    Thanks Mav.

    Would that be somewhere in Lion or in the airport express utility?

         
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    Posted: 07 January 2012 09:37 PM #6

    Airport Utility (if you have an iPod touch/iPhone/iPad with iOS 5 or maybe 4+, you can configure from there too).  Just Spotlight for it.

    If you’re configuring from an older Mac, make sure you’re using the Lion version of AirPort Utility.

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    Posted: 17 January 2012 08:50 PM #7

    I seem to have found a solution, at least for me.

    The solution came from here:
    http://osxdaily.com/2011/11/06/lion-wi-fi-problems-solution-mac/

    and the critical part was in the comments below. So not only setting up a new connection and reseting the settings, but importantly also resetting the SMC (System Management Controller). Its been three days now without a drop.

    Here is the link for the SMC reset.
    http://osxdaily.com/2010/03/24/when-and-how-to-reset-your-mac?s-system-management-controller-smc/