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I've been having some trouble with network handling using MacBooks and MacBooks only.

At home I'm using really old NetGear WGR614V9 router, everything works fine but every single one of my Apple laptops (full list at the end of the post) was dropping wi-fi signal every 5-60 minutes for a few seconds, especially under heavy network usage (imagine you're trying to get Linux using Torrent, it takes a good while to find peers then the transfer gets better and better and bam, it drops completely, repeat).

At my friend's place once any of my MacBooks joined his network - the whole network became unstable, to the point it was required to reset the router, because it won't accept any new devices.

At my parent's flat if I use my MacBook next to any other laptop using wi-fi - Mac is stealing signal REALLY bad, the internet on the laptop next to it is usually unusable.

Countless times I had problems with wi-fi at hotels and airbnbs (weak signal mostly), while my girlfriend had no issues at all (using cheapest Acer laptop you could imagine). Also often my Android based phones had better wifi strength than MacBooks.

I've NEVER ever encountered anything close to these issues on any of my Windows/Linux based laptops.

So I'm wondering is Apple doing something differently? Are there any Apple-certified routers I could buy so I will be 100% sure they will work like expected (and won't act strange against other non-apple devices)?

If it makes any difference I live in Europe and I've been using local MacBooks but my last one is from US distribution and I'm wondering if it might be causing some additional trouble.

The Macs I had all of the above problems were these:

  1. Apple MacBook Air 13" 2010
  2. Apple MacBook Air 13" 2011
  3. Apple MacBook Pro 13" 2013
  4. Apple MacBook Pro 13" 2014

I think it might be software-related because often after updates the described problems were getting better and then worse and then better again. Also I'm pretty much sure MacBooks perform much worse than anything with networks that use crowded channels, a few times I could easily connect any device to given wi-fi network excepting MacBooks.

What's going on here? Any hints?

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    I haven't experienced anything like this on any Mac I've owned/used. Just some comments though, which may or may not be helpful: (1) I've come across many networks that become unstable the moment a router hits its device limit, even if many of those devices are not currently connected. E.g. Over time, family and friends visit and connect to a Wi-Fi network and at some point a new device will connect and hit the router's limit and the whole network suffers. So this could explain what happened at your friend's. After the router was reset, was the network okay and could you connect fine? – Monomeeth Sep 1 '17 at 22:50
  • (2) When it comes to Wi-Fi networks there's a multitude of devices (and other items) that can cause interference, blockages, etc. Often having two devices next to (or near) each other can cause signal problems too. This could easily explain your Mac is stealing signal REALLY bad phenomenon at your parents home. (3) Back at your home, can you access/borrow another router? As you've already said, that router is really old! I'm actually very impressed it still works (I had one about 8yrs ago!). Another thing you could double-check is whether you have the latest firmware installed on the router? – Monomeeth Sep 1 '17 at 22:51
  • (4) Finally, some here may interpret your question as being too broad and this may get closed. If that happens, you may want to ask it using a specific model and providing its details (both hardware/software) to see if we can help you. – Monomeeth Sep 1 '17 at 22:51
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In general, no. Apple wifi works very well in my experience and we use it for analysis and measurement and production use.

Have you done a wire shark dump when a specific computer has specific issues?

This developer makes awesome tools to support and manage wifi. You can start for free and then get the paid apps if you need to work out why you are seeing poor performance. Other than running software updates, you don’t need to worry about Apple hardware or drivers in general. Of course hardware can fail and os can need to be wiped and reinstalled, but categorical bad performance isn’t something I’ve seen reportedly professionally or documented anecdotally across the board.

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