At the recent WWDC, Apple announced the new MacBook Air – a device which was immediately released for sale on the Apple online Store and Apple retail outlets. Rumors are emerging about a Wi-Fi connectivity issue, whereby the Wi-Fi keeps dropping. At the moment, we don’t know if this is a one off ‘bad batch’ of MacBook’s, or if it’s a wider spread problem. Alternatively, it could be a software issue with the new Mac OS X. We’ll report on the above causes once we hear more, but in the mean time we’re only interested in solutions.
Fear not, there are some solutions that get around this apparent problem. The problem seems to focus on two areas:
1) Dropped internet connectivity
2) Disconnects from an internal network, e.g. your home Wi-Fi.
The majority of problems seem to lie in the former point, with internet dropouts being the main source of concern amongst forum users.
We’re still awaiting an Apple statement on this, which indicates that the route cause of the problem has not been identified yet. This is naturally pretty frustrating when you have just dropped a chunk of cash on your new notebook, but for now its hard to play the blame game.
We tested the new 13 inch Macbook with the 802.11AC AirPort. We didn’t experience the problem, so can guide on a set-up which appears to bypass the problem. At the moment, the best we can do is to offer some suggestions for your setup, which will hopefully allow you to get the same pain free experience as we did.
How to fix MacBook Air WiFi: My best suggestions
Step 1: Update Router Firmware:
Whenever you have an internet connection problem, always check that the firmware on your router is the latest edition. This is easily checked and even easier rectified. Simply go to the website of the company that manufactured your router, and follow the instructions on there to check your firmware. If it needs updating, follow the manufactures instructions
Step 2: Turn Off Some Router Features:
From reading through some of the more technical reviews of the Macbook, it seems that a process called TCP windows scaling could be the point of blame. The aim of this is to improve the performance of your network, and it should be automatic, ghoing on in the background without you knowing. We’re not certain that the TCP Windows feature is to blame, however working out a problem is usually best done by simplifying processes and then adding them back in. Therefore I suggest you try turning off the below processes:
Double-NAT (network address translation): Turn this off to ensure you don’t have NAT going into your network. Complications arise when you have a mix of Wi-Fi and cable based internet connections. Many cables automatically handle the NAT, and this can get confused with the Wi-Fi connection.
Quality-of-Service and Other Features: If you have enabled any of these, try disabling them for now. DMZ and port forwarding are also worth switching off. Note though, that these are security features, so be mindful. We are trying to switch off anything that we can get away with whilst bearing network security in mind here.
NB: don’t just steam in and hit the off button here. Try these processes one at a time. Having disabled one, give your MacBook a solid run to see if the issue has been fixed. Once it has, you can undergo a process of elimination to limit the amount of processes that you need to disable.
Step 3: Reset the Router to Factory Defaults:
Annoying tip, I know. Essentially this means you’ll have to dedicate time to reinstalling your router, which is a headache that I know you could live without. Sometimes though, hitting the proverbial off switch and returning back to default settings can be the simplest and best way to fix a tech headache.
Final points: I recommend that you try the fixes in the order that I have presented them. That way, you save the hail mary router reset to act as the final solution.
If that fails, we have some slightly more advanced fixes. We’ll try and get those up in a post, but feel free to contact us for more help. I’m confident that the above three steps will fix a solid 85-90% of cases. So if demand is there, we’ll dive deeper at a later date.