I just recently bought my MacBook Air 11" this summer and it is currently running on OS X Mountain Lion. I purchased it in the United States and had very minimal problems with it. I bought it for the purpose of using it for my work in France for the next 8 months. I just arrived this week and have been unable to connect to any WiFi networks whatsoever. I have not set up a personal connection at my apartment but it continues not to work when I bring my laptop to the school I work which has a very strong unsecured WiFi connection.

Is there something I'm missing here? I have never had WiFi problems before but upon moving to France, my US-bought MacBook Air just doesn't want to connect. I keep receiving "A connection timeout occured". I want to believe it's just the signal but I see no reason why it shouldn't connect to a strong signal-- and I would hate to assume that's the case only to set up my own WiFi at home and find it still doesn't work weeks later. The location is set to Automatic at the moment.

Any step-by-step qdvice would help. I am extremely new to Apple products and not great with the lingo or navigation quite yet so thorough directions of how to approach the diqgnostic would be very helpful. Thank you!

  • Did you disable the search for available networks, when you set up your system at home? I used to get a pop up at the train station showing me all kinds of networks, and since I only use the university network I disabled this search (there was a box to tick off) and now I don't see any networks, as if there weren't any (but there are, it is a service of the train company). I don't know what all these options are called in English, but I'm sure you can find out, if you know what to look for.
    – user28268
    Sep 26, 2012 at 12:19
  • I used to have timeout errors for the first day with my new MacBook, too. I was able to connect after disabling auto and choosing one network as preferred network, I believe. Experiment with those options.
    – user28268
    Sep 26, 2012 at 12:22
  • 1
    The Wifi standard is international, so moving to another country should not affect it. Try different networks. Also consider that campus wide wifi networks might be visible to your Air because of being send with high power, but the (comparable weak) signal from the Air might not arrive at the base station.
    – Olaf
    Sep 27, 2012 at 7:23
  • I don't think this is a country problem. My new macbook air doesn't connect to the wifi on the train either - same message, connection timed out. It has connected once, but now won't, no matter what I do. Strong signal. Bloody annoying and most unlike a mac. Can anyone suggest things to check? I've done all the obvious. My Air connects to all the other wifi on my preferred networks.
    – user45527
    Mar 19, 2013 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


Given you are using 2.4 GHz Wifi, there are 2 channels (namely 12 and 13) available in Europe, that are not allowed in the US and are therefore not supported by US-bought WIFI adapters. See Wi-Fi Channel availability

As far as I know Apple uses different Wifi-modules for european and US-models, so there's little hope to fix that in software.

Ask a fellow student to look up on which channel he is connected. If it's 12 or 13 you won't be able to connect.


Think about this : US is using an old Internet system dated 1990 with a speed of 16 MBPS this speed is only for corporation not individual... while France is using an up to date internet system 2013 with a speed of at least 1Gigabyte per second. I have the same problem I purchased a brand new HP laptop and I took it to Paris, my second residence, i could not get a connection that is when I learned what is going on...

  • At risk of starting a flame war, this post is non-sensical to the point of hilarity. WiFi had not yet been invented in 1990. Even if it had, there is no such thing as an "internet system" that was manufactured in a particular year, like your post suggests. WiFi is an international standard and the speed is set by the WiFi standard, not by what country you are in.
    – tubedogg
    Oct 29, 2014 at 0:12

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