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I just got a used Macbook Air for a pretty good price, but it has problems with wifi. The previous owner said it would connect to some networks, but not others.

It connected to my phone hotspot just fine, so I figured the wifi-card isn't actually broken.

Here at home, I was unable to connect to my router. I tried using wireless diagnostics and one of the things it told me is that there was a conflicting country code. I gather that, for wifi, the Macbook gets its own country code from the first wireless network it sees. The first time I tried, the laptop had the country code 'JP', and was unable to connect. Then, I tried again, and it had the code 'GB', and was also unable to connect. The third time, I sat down next to my own router, and got the code 'NL' and I was able to connect just fine.

With my own Macbook Pro this has never been an issue and I have always been able to connect to every wifi network.

It seems like the country codes are the issue. Why is the Macbook Air unable to connect to wifi networks of a different country code? Is there something I can do about this, or will this be an issue forever?

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It is simply not true that the MacBook Air is unable to connect to WiFi networks of a different country code. So - no reason can be given.

Your observations have lead you to believe that the above mentioned is true, but something else is really at play. One of the things that "sounds odd" in your description is that you say that "GB" doesn't work, but "NL" works perfectly fine. The definition of what GB and NL allows in terms of WiFi is exactly the same - so there's no difference of having a GB or NL country code when connecting to a WiFi network.

I think you instead have some sort of configuration issue with your Mac. You can try fixing this by opening System Preferences, then click Network and click the "Location" drop-down and choose "Edit Locations". Now add a new location, and setup your WiFi from scratch with that location.

Try using that Location and see if that solves your WiFi issues.

  • sometimes Wireless diagnostics have suggested me to set the correct country code on the access point. Despite them being correct though. – ankii Sep 15 at 21:36
  • I should perhaps note that the laptop was factory reset when I got it. I just tried with a new location and I was unable to join the network. – Flobin Sep 15 at 21:42
  • @Flobin If that is correct, it sounds like you might have hardware error. I suggest you look for other things that working networks have in common, and what non-working network have in common - other than the country code. Sounds likely that you have a damaged antenna so that some frequencies works and others don't. – jksoegaard Sep 15 at 21:51

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