Saturday, August 19, 2006


MacBook Wireless Connection Drops While on Battery

A problem I've seen with both my first MacBook and now my new MacBook is that the wireless connection drops while on battery power.

I'm not the only one who has seen this. A thread in the Apple discussion forums indicates that many people have the same problem. It seems to be related to particular wireless routers, and Apple recommends buying one of their AirPort products to fix the problem, but the problem only occurs on battery power, so it seems to be related to how OS X deals with power management.

The drops can be prevented by ensuring that the wireless connection doesn't stay idle. One way to do that is to run "ping -i 5" in a Terminal session. Unfortunately, continuous pings increase battery drain.

Thanks for the temporary solution. I am testing to see if I can use "Mail" to ping the system. I set my Mail program to check mail every minute. If this works, then at least the system is doing something useful at the same time that it keeps the connection alive.
FWIW, I don't think once-per-minute is frequent enough. I've had to set up pings for once every two seconds to keep the connection up. YMMV
Thank you for this solution. You have no idea how grateful I am. It really works.
Is it sufficient to ping your wireless router to keep the wireless connection alive?

(This would be a lot more considerate net behavior that banging on somehost or hitting a mail server over and over again.)
I'm pinging a host on my own network, so I'm not bothering the net, but that's a good point.
this has been annoying me like hell, thanks for the reason, though the answer isn't what i wanted. I brought a Mac for a better computing experience but there are loads of little quirks about the system I just can't stand (this being one of them). And I am not going to buy an Apple Airport to solve the problem as I have a perfectly good router here.

Once this laptop (oh sorry MacBook can't call it a Laptop as Mac people get annoyed) dies it will be replaced with a "normal" PC laptop.

Sorry Apple.
great post
I had the wireless drop problem on my MacBook even on AC power. I am using a 2Wire 2701HG-B router and AT&T Yahoo DSL service at home. After being on the phone with Apple support for an hour, the only solution that worked was the one of last resort ... to re-install the OS! I re-installed from the two CDs that came with the computer, reverted back to version 10.5, and now my wireless network is back without problems for the last few hours. It must have been the updates leading up to 10.5.2 that caused the problem. Bad, bad Apple!
FWIW, one of the updates to Tiger eventually made the problem go away for me. No problems with Leopard either.
I have this problem with Macbooks and a Core Duo Macbook Pro, and for me it started with 10.4.10 and has remained with ALL revisions of 10.5. I don't have the problem at home (original Airport Extreme base station) but have it at work when connecting to our APs (Enterasys) via 802.1X.
I FOUND A SOLUTION THAT WORKS!!!! First a little back story.

Got my Mac Blackbook and the wi-fi worked great from my Linksys wrt54g2 router. Moved to Germany and into an apartment and my connection issues started happening. My MB would connect once then loose connection quickly and would only recover connection if i either closed and re-opened my screen, or re-connected to my network... then it would drop again before my next page turn.

After multiple days of research I read about SOOOO many others having this issue and the fact the Apple pretty much refused to acknowledge the issue. It seemed that sometime near the OX 10.4.2 update the airport driver got fubar'd leaving all those with Intel based macs wi-fi connects messed up.

Some of the solutions i read about and tried had to do with changing my WEP connection to WPA. This did not work, but i left it as WPA as my research finds it a more secure connection. I also read about and tried setting my Wireless RTA Threshold in my router to 256 from the *2432 default. This as well did not work, though I have left it at this setting as it seems to be the best value for MAC's connecting over wi-fi. This is not true for PC's though so be careful.

More research, more research, o' my brain hurts and my patience is wearing..... then BINGO!!! I found a thread about connection issues that pertained to MB's not connecting to local-network printers. The poster mentioned that MAC's seem to have a hard time connecting to networks that had more than one wi-fi network present. This is my issue i thought. I have 8 in my available connections now. In my old home I had just mine. So i followed the directions suggested and it has now been 2 weeks of 100% perfect wi-fi connections.

Below is the excerpt from this page, (Do a find for “Little Snitch”). The program the writer talks about is called Little Snitch found here, It's a $29 dollar program, but in my mind its well worth it to make my $1500 Blackbook work!

This may not be the Apple Fix we have been waiting for them, but its completely working for me.

I have used Little Snitch software for several years, and it occurred to me that I might be able to use it to block any connections with the other network. Using the latest version (v.2), go to Preferences, or Little Snitch Configuration, choose Rules under the Window menu, and click the New button.

In the pop-up window that shows up, click on the gear icon and choose "Choose System Process." A file open box opens, and under the folder "libexec," choose "airportd." "airportd" is the system daemon that controls the Airport card in the MacBook Pro. In the box that comes up, set the main menu to "Allow Connections" and the Server menu to "Local Network."
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