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  1. #1
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    Mac wireless goes dead when not in use

    This is an intermittent problem and it drives me nuts.
    Mac OS Snow Leopard on an iMac.
    Boot, login, wireless fires up and connects great.
    Walk away, screen dims, come back <some time> later, wireless appears to be connected to my local network but any attempt to hit a web site is a failure.
    I try reconnecting to the router, no joy.
    A restart fixes the problem.

    I've poked around but can't find any settings that would cause the wireless to go off line. Searching has not been helpful.

    Any ideas or suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Do you have any other computers on your wireless router, and are they having any difficulty staying connected?

    Is this a recent issue, or is it relatively new? Has anything been changed in your wireless hardware or software setup just before the problem began?

    Have you tried using Ethernet to see if the problem goes away? If the Ethernet works, you may have a router hardware problem with wireless, or a problem with your Mac wireless card.

    Are you able to connect with your other computers on your home network from your iMac even when your Mac cannot connect to the Internet? Try pinging "www.amazon.com" without the quote marks to see what results you obtain. Then try pinging Amazon.com's IP address 72.21.214.128 to see if you get replies to your ping. Use the Network Utility tool to ping.

    Do you have a dual band Wireless N router? If so, use the 5 Ghz frequency. It is subject to less outside interference than is the 2.4 Ghz band, but has a shorter range. A number of devices in a home also use the 2.4 Ghz band.

    Do you live in an apartment complex or in close proximity to other houses that may be using wifi? Intermittent wireless problems can be caused by too many signals on the same band width and/or on the same wireless channel.

    MakeUseOf.com has an article on wifi scanners for the Mac that includes links to download two free apps. One of these will help you locate all the wifi signals in your vicinity, and give you the channels on which they operate. The recommended channels are 1, 6, and 11. If your router is set to one of these channels, and many others in your area are as well, this could be the problem. Change your channel to see if the problem goes away.

    I am not that familiar with all the settings available on the Mac, but is there a setting in System Preferences that will allow your wireless card to be powered down when your Mac goes to sleep? If so, disable that setting to see if that helps. It may be in Energy Saver or Network.

    Also, if Internet connecting is a problem for any of your other computers, you might get your cable or DSL provider to check on their end for problems that may be contributing to the issue.
    Last edited by Deadeye81; 2011-11-10 at 07:06. Reason: Ping

  3. #3
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    First: thank you for the detailed troubleshooting guide; well done!
    Second: see answers below

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Do you have any other computers on your wireless router, and are they having any difficulty staying connected?
    3 other wireless devices. 2 Win, 1 Mac. The Win boxes are fine. I'm not hearing complaints about the Mac laptop.

    Is this a recent issue, or is it relatively new? Has anything been changed in your wireless hardware or software setup just before the problem began?
    Not recent. I actually don't use the Mac all that much but it seems that about once out of every 10 uses, the system has gone to sleep and the web connection is just gone.

    Have you tried using Ethernet to see if the problem goes away? If the Ethernet works, you may have a router hardware problem with wireless, or a problem with your Mac wireless card.
    I don't have a wire close to this box so I can't test it. I'm thinking about pulling wire just to get more speed on the connection but haven't done that yet.

    Are you able to connect with your other computers on your home network from your iMac even when your Mac cannot connect to the Internet? Try pinging "www.amazon.com" without the quote marks to see what results you obtain. Then try pinging Amazon.com's IP address 72.21.214.128 to see if you get replies to your ping. Use the Network Utility tool to ping.
    Don't know. Next time I'll poke around the network and see what I can see.

    Do you have a dual band Wireless N router? If so, use the 5 Ghz frequency. It is subject to less outside interference than is the 2.4 Ghz band, but has a shorter range. A number of devices in a home also use the 2.4 Ghz band.
    N but not dual band.

    Do you live in an apartment complex or in close proximity to other houses that may be using wifi? Intermittent wireless problems can be caused by too many signals on the same band width and/or on the same wireless channel.
    We live out in the middle of nowhere. I've never detected any other wifi points. The nearest house is about 200' away through the woods.

    MakeUseOf.com has an article on wifi scanners for the Mac that includes links to download two free apps. One of these will help you locate all the wifi signals in your vicinity, and give you the channels on which they operate. The recommended channels are 1, 6, and 11. If your router is set to one of these channels, and many others in your area are as well, this could be the problem. Change your channel to see if the problem goes away.

    I am not that familiar with all the settings available on the Mac, but is there a setting in System Preferences that will allow your wireless card to be powered down when your Mac goes to sleep? If so, disable that setting to see if that helps. It may be in Energy Saver or Network.
    Nothing in any of the settings that deals with the wifi card. The system is set to sleep in about 15 minutes but not to drop the network connection.

    Also, if Internet connecting is a problem for any of your other computers, you might get your cable or DSL provider to check on their end for problems that may be contributing to the issue.
    Thanks again. Next time I go off line, I'll ping around and see what happens.
    I've tried renewing the dhcp lease - no joy.

    Highly intermittent problems are just the best!

    Thanks again.

    Doug

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Doug, have you ever visited our iNet Interactive sister site, Mac Forums?

    There are a bunch of very knowledgeable Mac guys over there. Check them out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Doug, have you ever visited our iNet Interactive sister site, Mac Forums?

    There are a bunch of very knowledgeable Mac guys over there. Check them out!
    I have not but it's now bookmarked. Thank you so very much.

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    It happened again.
    I could still hit resources on my internal network.
    The Mac had two user session's going; one for the primary user and one for me.
    My session had Firefox up, the primary did not.
    The system was active in the primary account.
    Web connectivity was killed in both sessions.
    Forcing a reconnect to the router didn't help.

    I've been playing a bit. If I run two sessions and don't leave FF up, then I'm not seeing (at least yet) any drop of web connectivity.

    That's it. The most recent lockup happened a couple of days ago so I don't have enough run time to be assured that leaving FF down makes the problem go away.

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    Mac wireless goes dead when not in use

    I had the same thing happen to me for a long, long time on my MacBook. It didn't even have to go to sleep for it to happen. It all disappeared when I upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard. I don't know if it was the fresh OS that fixed it or just a bug with between the MacBook and Leopard. Either way, the problem is gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baksdad View Post
    I had the same thing happen to me for a long, long time on my MacBook. It didn't even have to go to sleep for it to happen. It all disappeared when I upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard. I don't know if it was the fresh OS that fixed it or just a bug with between the MacBook and Leopard. Either way, the problem is gone.
    Interesting. We're at Snow Leopard...maybe Lion will fix the problem. Ya just gotta love the interactions between software and hardware...

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    Arrow Maybe it's the router?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougfinner View Post
    This is an intermittent problem and it drives me nuts.
    Mac OS Snow Leopard on an iMac.
    Boot, login, wireless fires up and connects great.
    Walk away, screen dims, come back <some time> later, wireless appears to be connected to my local network but any attempt to hit a web site is a failure.
    I try reconnecting to the router, no joy.
    A restart fixes the problem.
    Sounds exactly like the problem I had with my wife's MacBook last year when I "upgraded" to a D-Link router (which are, as I now know, infamous for not playing nice with Macs). You didn't mention what router you used, but if it's a D-Link, start saving up for a replacement router.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bethel95 View Post
    Sounds exactly like the problem I had with my wife's MacBook last year when I "upgraded" to a D-Link router (which are, as I now know, infamous for not playing nice with Macs). You didn't mention what router you used, but if it's a D-Link, start saving up for a replacement router.
    Netgear router (which I had to buy when one of our systems was Vista) and a DLink NAS (NSLUG).

    I'll never figure out why a router would be sensitive to the OS.

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    Parameters to change???

    I have a similar problem with my wireless network. It works perfectly when the computers are exclusevily PC's but each time someone connects his MacBook, the wireless network crashes (only local access and no Internet)!
    Ok, it's a D-Link router but the tactic to attribute the fault to the other part of the relation seems a bit easy. I read many mac vs. different routers problems in forums.
    The only router that works with macs without problems are Apple routers (they seem to use Appletalk instead of TCP/IP).
    The final question is: are there parameters to change, either on the mac or on the router to have a wireless mixed PC-Mac network working without problems?

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