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The wireless transmit rate of my MacBook Core 2 Duo is extremely unstable. That is, when I connect to my AirPort Express the transfer rate is good for about one minute and after that it suddenly drops (option click on the AirPort icon shows a transmit rate of 1...).

The strange thing is that when I then click on the AirPort icon next to the clock and new networks are being searched, the rate gets normal again for about 10 seconds. Then again all running downloads and page load stop until I click again.

I use the same network with a MacBook Pro without any problems. I've googled this issue, tried to switch wireless channels, switched back to 802.11g mode (it runs on n and g compatible mode normally) but nothing helped so far.

Any ideas what could cause these transfer rate drops?

Update

Not sure if that's of any use but in the AirPort Utility it says Signal -24, Noise -95 and Rate 1 (it raises when I click the AirPort icon).

Update II

One solution seems to be to switch to 802.11n only 5 GHz (2.4 GHz does not help). The downside: iPhone and many older notebooks don't support it...

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Are you able to get your hands on another wireless router, even to borrow? For troubleshooting, you want to replace pieces of the puzzle to figure out the source. Try a different router first to make sure it's something on your computer. –  Michael Pryor Dec 3 '10 at 2:37
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I did that, tried it with an Asus router. Didn't work either. At the University connecting through Cisco VPN it works like a charm. –  z00bs Dec 3 '10 at 9:10
    
What is physically between you and the wireless base station? Lead paint, microwave, TV, etc? –  Jack M. Dec 3 '10 at 19:30
    
There's a TV near the base station and a wireless phone. But the problems stays even when both are unplugged. –  z00bs Dec 4 '10 at 13:12
    
Have you tried changing channel from automatic to a specific one? I had the same problem with my MacBook (late 2008) while my iPhone 4 had no problems. I changed to channel 4 and my problems with an unstable AE resolved. –  user11186 Sep 20 '11 at 10:12
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3 Answers

Something to try is to turn off IPv6 support in your networking preference control panel for wireless, and even for ethernet if you are hardwired.

Mine would drop connections randomly and I'd have to mess around and eventually would pull its power and let it restart to restore sanity. Then, I read somewhere it was a problem with IPv6 support, and turn it off on our Macs. Now it's very stable.

I stopped using it for my wireless router, and now use it for AirTunes. Very seldom will it lag, and when it does it'll sync up again by itself. I really can't remember the last time it "weirded out" on me, even though some days I'll be playing music through it for most of the day.

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Thanks! I'll give it a try as soon as I'm at home. –  z00bs Dec 4 '10 at 13:13
    
I turned 'Configure IPv6' off without success. Transmit rate still drops to 1... –  z00bs Dec 5 '10 at 12:58
    
Hmmm. Have you confirmed that it's running the current version of the software? Also, you mention having a wireless phone near it. Certain ranges of wireless will interfere but I don't remember which ones; Shutting off the phone's power should clear it up if that's the problem. –  Greg Dec 6 '10 at 0:23
    
Yeah it's running the current version. I tried that with the phone, no luck there. As written in my question update, the only solution I currently see is using 802.11n 5GHz. –  z00bs Dec 6 '10 at 9:53
    
I'll recommend the Airport Extreme as a great router. It's been rock solid where our Linksys wasn't able to get a signal through. –  Greg Dec 6 '10 at 14:21
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Just in case you're still experiencing the issue. I've been having that happen with my early 2008 MBP for two years now. I seem to have found two half-solutions, see below. Please see if they work for you.

To recap:

  • Rate is usually good (54)
  • drops after minutes, sometimes hours
  • rate is good in most all other networks I happen to be in

So, the first thing I noticed is that when I alt-click the airport icon the rate rises from 1 to a rate somewhat higher, maybe 2 or 4 or 8. It then usually drops again. When I alt-click several times in quick succession, I can get the rate to rise up to 48. But again, only to see it drop again.

My first half-solution is this: I found out that whenever I experience the rate dropping I can change the channel in my router from, say 1 to 6 or 11, which will usually resolve the issue. After I reconnect to the network things will be fine for a while (minutes, hours, sometimes a day or two).

My second half-solution is turning off all other wireless clients in the network. Whenever I'm alone at home and my laptop is the only computer running, everything's fine. I seem to be having the dropping-rate-problem only when other clients are in the same network, especially when one of them is using the network intensely. I'm almost certain about that now. Please try and see if removing all other clients "solves" your issue.

Whenever it is not avoidable to have other clients in the network, I try the first half-solution (sometimes 2 or 3 times) and it usually does the trick.

Incredibly annoying though!

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I changed my wireless to 5 GHz to 'solve' my issue. The half solutions you mentioned did work for me too, but were too annoying... thanks anyway! –  z00bs Feb 1 '13 at 11:50
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Your wireless card in the computer need replacing. I have 2 Mac Books. an old 2008 Core Duo that does exactly what you describe. And a new Mac Air. The Mac Air works all over the house and has a transmission rate upwards of 300 depending on were it is located. Bottom line wireless cards get weak and die a slow death. The are not hard to replace if you are at all good with a screwdriver.The can be found all over the net and on ebay as well as Ifixit.

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