Are you a MAC owner? Are you facing Wi-Fi issues? I know how that feels, especially if you are not a tech geek. It has happened to me lot of times. There are times when I can’t even stream a song properly at home, and I can only just glare at my Wi-Fi Router and home network.
So let me try to give you some help to solve some of the Wi-Fi problems. Let me assure you, it’s not rocket science. Just by moving your router and Base Stations (BS), you can feel the difference in network functionality. So, let’s start with how to do that.
Identify the issue first
What you should focus on is signal strength and noise. Apple has provided multiple features that check both of these things associated with the WiFi network. What you need to do is pressed down the “Option” button on the keyboard and then click “Airport Wi-Fi icon” from the menu, which will give you the info regarding signal strength. This process will provide you the info of Received Signal Strength Indicator, or RSSI. The closer the number is to the zero mark, the better the signal strength.
Use the Airport utility provided by Apple to get all the info about network devices on your network. Enter the password for the Airport’s router’s BS (remember, I am not talking about wireless router’s password here). Now you will be in a position to view all of your wireless clients. You can check the signals of all devices by hovering the mouse over the devices. You are now in the perfect stage where you can analyze if your router is placed in the proper place or not.
Now, you need to check the noise level in signal. What you can do is take your MAC machine further away to have weakest WiFi signal. The idea is to start on the outer edge of your network and work your way in. This utility (found in /System/Library/CoreServices/ folder of Mac OS X Lion) will guide you that how much noise is present in each signal for a given location. The signal strength should be higher than the noise level. Now, subtract the Noise value from the Signal value to get Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) value. If the S/N is higher, means good network connection.
Data is there. Now look for further solutions of the network issues.
There is a possibility that you may experience a good noise level but signal levels go down after it passes though all devices and reaches to your MAC machine. It means there is a longer distance and might be walls and obstructions between devices/signals. Move Airport Base Station to a better and centrally located position.
If you are getting strong signals and noise between all the devices irrespective of location, check to see if there are any other wireless networks close to your area. For this you will have to repeat process of pressing the Option key and selecting Airport Wi-Fi icon. Only this time, pay attention to the RSSI values and the assigned channels of all the other WiFi networks on the list. You are looking for any networks with strong RSSI values on the same assigned channel as your network.
Another possibility could be that a specific device is causing issue and interfering causing bad signals. What you have to do is start switching off all the electronic devices one by one, and keep observing the network. If on any device the signal goes down, then it means that device is the cause of problem. It is better is to replace that device then.
Basically you can find 2 ways to improve the range of your network.
- Connect the additional WiFi access point with hard-wired ethernet connection.
- Add another wireless BS. This one will also be a client of the primary base station.
The configuration for both BSs are not different. One BS will act as the primary and will be used to create a wireless network, and on the secondary BS will be used to extend your wireless network.
Now by using Airport Utility, change the configuration of primary BS for the option “Wireless setting for Network Mode” to “Create a wireless network.” Do the same for the secondary BS and change the setting to “Extend a wireless network.” On both, you will want to set the Wireless Network Name, Wireless Security and Wireless Password to the same settings.
Let me tell you here, these steps are not going to fix all of the issues. For example, the issue can be related to “co-channel interference”. It means that the signals of WiFi BSs are interfering with each other. What you can do is make sure to place the secondary BS some distance away from the primary BS.
Hopefully, this has helped resolve your issues with Wifi. Other suggestions I can add here is try to place a single BS in the best location, and if required, connect the secondary WiFi access point with ethernet cable and with good distance from the primary base station to avoid each network from interfering with one another.