November 26, 2008

Pings To Do On A Rainy Day...

I've recently been having some real kooky problems with my MacBook's wireless connection, and though I have nothing really very constructive or interesting to say on the matter, I have just spent close to three hours dicking around trying to fix it and feel like a rant. And if blogs aren't good for esoteric, ill-conceived rants, well then what the hell do I have a blog for in the first place?

It all started maybe a week or so ago — my MacBook suddenly just stopped connecting to my Airport router while in the living room. This was mighty perplexing, as my Airport router is in the living room, and my iMac next door connects just fine.

Then, on Monday, I came down with what I think was food poisoning, and spent the entire day prostrate on the couch. During this time I realised that my MacBook will connect while in the living room, but only if it's at a ninety-degree angle to the router. My technical side found this extremely frustrating because, well, it's COMPLETELY FUCKING IRRATIONAL, and I resolved that, as soon as I had my strength back, I'd get to the bottom of the issue.

Well, the bottom of the issue seems to be that some combination of MacBook/Leopard just has inherent Airport problems that Apple is unwilling to address officially (Google it if you don't believe me — the New York school board recently put a moratorium on all new MacBook purchases until unidentified wireless issues are sorted out). Allow me to illustrate with a ping summary that probably only Vinny and Dustin will appreciate:

Average ping time, iMac to Airport (via wireless): 0.900 ms
Average ping time, MacBook to Airport (via ethernet): 0.600 ms
Average ping time, MacBook to Airport (via wireless): anywhere from 1.400 ms to 1300.000 ms

The weirdest thing is that it's not a problem with the MacBook's wireless per se, as it connects just fine to the network at Emerson. That means it's a proprietary problem affecting communication between flagship Apple product #1 (MacBook) and flagship Apple product #2 (Airport) — not really what you expect from the Justin Long guys. But then, they're beginning to get a bit feckless with their newfound popularity, so I suppose we should all get used to it. Sigh...


Anonymous said...

The angle of MacBook vs router isn't entirely irrational. The orientation of the laptop will alter the relative angle of the antenna towards the router's transmitting antenna. The fact that it works one way and not another indicates that the signal is too low or not being read correctly in one orientation and that turning it to increase the signal strength is bumping it up past some operating threshold.

That said, the fact they're in the same room should never allow this to be a factor and there is clearly something messed up going on.

Gil said...

Hey, I get it, too! Include me in the nerddom!

And, Andrew, let's be honest: Apple flagship #1 = iPod and Apple flagship #2 = cool. Neither of those seem to be affected. Stop being a baby.

Andrew said...

Yeah, okay, it's not *entirely* irrational. But when the router is six feet away and in plain sight, ninety degrees rotation is enough to get anyone into all caps.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Apple was into Feng Shui. How cool is that?!

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