1

I have a Mid 2011 Mac Mini which is connected to:

  • Airport Express
  • Apple Bluetooth trackpad
  • Apple Bluetooth keyboard

Suspiciously frequently and quite consistently, maybe every other day, one of the three disconnects, and I have to reconnect them manually, which usually goes fine immediately.

For comparison, my MacBook Air never disconnects from the network. Battery health on the trackpad and keyboard does not seem related to the disconnects.

Since all three of the devices disconnect, the culprit would seem to be the Mini, particularly the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapter. But I don't want to jump to conclusions.

  1. How can I best diagnose the situation to understand what is wrong?
  2. Is it likely that replacing the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth adapter would resolve the problem?
3

Is it likely that replacing the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth adapter would resolve the problem?

Yes.

It's highly likely that the issue is the Airport card because it is a combo Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapter. Given that you are having issues with both functions, it points to the adapter being at fault.

You've already done a significant amount of diagnostics and ruled out other machines don't exhibit the symptoms connecting to the same network. You can further verify that your Bluetooth peripherals are not the issue by connecting them (keyboard and trackpad) to the MacBook Air. You could also run AHT - Apple Hardware Test. It may detect a problem with the Airport card.

7
  • I ran the test. It detected no errors. Do I have anything to gain from running the extended test, or doing SMC reset or NVRAM reset, or anything else before I gamble on buying a replacement adapter?
    – forthrin
    Mar 15 '18 at 19:35
  • You have nothing to lose from doing any/all of those actions.
    – Allan
    Mar 15 '18 at 19:47
  • Obviously. My question was if any of the three actually do anything related to the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth adapter.
    – forthrin
    Mar 15 '18 at 19:51
  • SMC controls the power distribution - if your PCIe bus power was fluctuating it would affect a ton of things in addition to your Wi-Fi/BT. Nothing in NVRAM would create a situation where it works one min and then stops the next. As for extended testing, it's entirely possible you'll find the error since it's intermittent. Then again, if the issue is the antenna circuitry, it will not detect anything because the Airport adapter is reporting it's fully functional.
    – Allan
    Mar 15 '18 at 19:54
  • Neither SMC, NVRAM or the Extended Test revealed or improved anything. So a replacement adapter... 1) Price? 2) Are they Apple-specific? 3) Are they usually carried by a (non-US) computer tech store?
    – forthrin
    Mar 29 '18 at 18:57

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