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Mac Mini Wireless Network Problem

Last month I've upgraded my first generation Mac Mini to Intel Core Duo. I have been bother by its wireless network issues ever since. It is a late 2009 model with Snow Leopard. It is connected to a Linksys WRT110 router. The problem is its poor reliability. Packets are dropped frequently. Sometimes it disconnects from the access point altogether. This means a very frustrating experience for some applications. VNC session are dropped frequently to the point it is unusable. Directory browsing and file transfer with Samba is a hit or miss. It unreliable and often incurs lengthy delay.

It seems mine is not an isolated problem. Wireless issue is a frequent topic on Apple support forum. I find many message like this one:

Topic : New Mac Mini Wireless Internet - Slow, Disconnects frequently

I use ping to test its connectivity. Pinging the gateway from the Mac gets result like below. There are plenty of missing packets.

64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=64 time=1.219 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=64 time=3.698 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=9 ttl=64 time=3.862 ms
Request timeout for icmp_seq 10
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11
64 bytes from icmp_seq=12 ttl=64 time=3.671 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=13 ttl=64 time=3.766 ms
Request timeout for icmp_seq 14
64 bytes from icmp_seq=15 ttl=64 time=3.997 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=16 ttl=64 time=5.394 ms

Pinging the Mac from a PC, both are connected wirelessly, is even worst. Besides loss packets, the response time is pathetic. Sometimes it takes hundreds of millisecond.

Reply from bytes=32 time=609ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=632ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=655ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from bytes=32 time=97ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=93ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from bytes=32 time=640ms TTL=64
Request timed out.

Note that this is not a wireless signal problem. I have moved the access point to only 15 feet away from the Mac with a direct line of sight. The test does marginally better at best. Besides, none of other wireless devices on the network have any connectivity problem.

After several false start using different suggestions from the Internet, I have found a config that dramatically improve the Mac's connectivity. I set the router to use Wireless-G only. The default of Linksys WRT110 is in "Mixed" mode. It includes some proprietary Linksys enhancement that none of my device can take advantage anyway. And it is not even Wireless-N. Setting it to Wireless-G only improve the Mac's connectivity with no loss of performance for other devices.

2010.01.26 [] - comments



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