I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014) running on MacOS 10.14.3 (18D42) and since some time I have been unable to connect to any 5GHz WiFi networks while 2.4GHz networks from the same routers are ok.

I have tried several things to no avail:

  • deleting the network in my wifi settings
  • using three separate and different brand routers
  • resetting SMC and NVRAM
  • deleting settings in /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ directory
  • made the 5GHz open without passwords
  • Changed SSID names

The Macbook is able to see the network; however, when I try joining the network, and I enter the password I keep getting an error "the wi-fi network requires a WPA2 password".

Interestingly, I get the same error when the authentication method is set to "Open".

wifi error

I am 100% sure that the password is correct as I've tried several times (also setting up the 5GHz on different routers). The networks are working (e.g. from my iPhone, Android phones).

Lastly, below are some of the details of the network setup in my Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi router configuration

  • You said "since some time" so what changed back then? a new router? – Solar Mike Feb 19 '19 at 8:15
  • Where is the “sharing settings” coming from? – dan Feb 19 '19 at 8:19
  • Nothing has changed from the routers side. Just last week by pure chance I have checked the settings and realised that my macbook was connected to the 2.4GHz network (that's why I am guessing that it's been ongoing for some time). The 2.4GHz is not the problem, I have in fact disabled this entirely. – Martin Feb 19 '19 at 8:21
  • How is your wireless environment? How many neighbours wireless networks can you count within the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band (to make this key survey, open the Wi-Fi menu while holding the [alt] key). – dan Feb 19 '19 at 8:22
  • Holding the alt key only provides information about the network that a macbook is connected to. Anyway, in total I can see 6 networks including my 5GHz one. The settings screenshot is from one of the routers that I have been trying from. – Martin Feb 19 '19 at 8:25

Most likely your Airport Card has failed.

On your particular Mac, it uses the BCM94360CS custom SoC (System on Chip) that supports dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth. The critical part related to your issue is the "dual-band" WiFi; it uses two different radios, not one. So, it's completely plausible that one radio has failed (5GHz) while the other (2.4GHz) continues to function; this is what you're seeing.

enter image description here

Image from iFixit.com

To verify that it's not a software issue, you should boot into Safe Mode (hold ⇧ Shift) and/or Recovery Mode (⌘ Command R). If the problem persists, it's a hardware issue.

You'll just need a replacement AirPort adapter which is fairly inexpensive. It's also a fairly straight forward fix, basically remove the back cover, disconnect the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna, then remove the AirPort card. Replace with the new one and reverse the procedure to reassemble everything. iFixit.com has an excellent step-by-step guide you can follow.

However, if opening the back of your Mac is not your cup of tea, let a professional handle it for you.

  • 1
    Spot on! It looks like one of the cable attaching to J0 on the wireless card is damaged – Martin Feb 20 '19 at 7:50
  • Did you get it fixed @Martin? I have exactly the same issue with my Mac mini late 2012. – stevo Jul 22 '19 at 6:40
  • @stevo yes, it was a broken connector on one of the three cables that connects to the card. I got quoted 250 Euros to get it replaced, so I ended up buying a 10 Euros WiFI antenna with a standard 0.81mm MHF4 connector (it was for a Samsung device). I've connected it and tucked the cable within some of the empty space close to the battery. Works as a charm! – Martin Jul 22 '19 at 10:48
  • amazing! Thanks for your detail reply @Martin! – stevo Jul 23 '19 at 16:45

My iMac late 2012 wasn't connecting to the new 5Ghz 802.11/ac router, so I followed along Allan's answer and bought a new Airport Card. The problem remained.

The real issue was that when i setup my router as Access Point it doesn't show options for wifi mode(802.11a/b/g/n/ac). My iMac can only do 802.11a/b/g/n, and I can't connect to the 5Ghz because the router it's only doing 802.11ac instead of what I was expecting to be 802.11n/ac mixed.

So, before buying a new airport card, try changing the router mode and broadcasting channel to your Mac's supported. (About this Mac->System Report->Network->Wifi->Supported PHY Modes & Supported Channels)

My solution was buying a 802.11ac wifi usb adapter and enjoy the faster speeds.


For my case, I changed the 5Ghz Authentication method to WPA2PSK and it worked like a charm.

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