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#24593 - 12/28/12 09:43 AM Can't find wi-fi
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
Hi I have two Macs in the same room, a MacBook Pro running 10.7.5 and a MacBook running 10.6.8.
I have an Airport Express base station connected to a printer in the same room. The MacBook Pro, just can't seem to find the network, whereas the MacBook picks it up straightaway.
I have tried Airport utility 5.6 and that can't find the new work either.
Any suggstions welcomed
Thanks


Edited by cyn (12/28/12 03:58 PM)
Edit Reason: Topic moved from the "Mac OS X 10.6.x & 10.7.x & 10.8.x" forum to the "Networking" forum.

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#24594 - 12/28/12 10:12 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Can the MacBook see any other wifi? Does it work, say, at a coffee shop? One possibility is that the MacBook has a hardware problem, like a bad wifi card or a bad antenna.
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#24595 - 12/28/12 10:20 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
When you say Airport Utility 5.6 cannot find the new work(???? I presume you meant network),
  1. How did you program the Airport Express Base Station in the first place? Was it from the MacBook? If so when you launch Airport Utility on the MacBook does the AE base station show up?
  2. On your MacBook Pro, when you click on the network icon on the menu bar, what network(s) do you see? Don't rush this, sometimes it can take even a full minute or more for all the networks to show up.
  3. On your MacBook Pro, System Preferences > Network.
    1. In the list of networks Airport, Bluetooth, Ethernet, etc. do any of them show "Connected"?
    2. Does Airport appear and is it ON?
    3. Does the network you wish to join show up on the list of Networks? If it does show up is it at the top of the list? If not, click and drag the desired network name to the top of the list.
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#24604 - 12/29/12 01:20 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: joemikeb]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
Hi, yes the MacBook Pro can pick up other wi-fi no problem, in the room it detects about 15 other networks and can log on ok, I am connected to another network currently.
I programed the Express with the MacBook Pro last month so it did pick it up then (not sure if I have had a system update since then).
Strangely enough since I wrote 15 hours ago it has now detected the network I need and has logged on. However the Utility still doesn't detect it until the machine is logged on, it says: 'Unable to find any Airport devices', then when I log on it pops up in the utility ok.
So it seems to be an intermittent problem.............. the worst kind!

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#24607 - 12/29/12 08:53 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Rain
Strangely enough since I wrote 15 hours ago it has now detected the network I need and has logged on. However the Utility still doesn't detect it until the machine is logged on, it says: 'Unable to find any Airport devices', then when I log on it pops up in the utility ok.

If you are detecting 15 other networks and you regularly log onto one other than your own, your problem is not too surprising. With that much competition your computer is going to seize on the network that is at the top of the network lists in System Preferences > Network and/or that has the strongest signal and is in your list of known networks.

The question now is how to make the MacBook Pro quickly and reliably join your AE's network. The answer to that begins on the MacBook Pro in System Preferences > Networks.
  1. Drag your AE network to the top of the list of known networks
  2. Delete all the stray networks from the list of networks. You can leave networks that you join when out of the house/apartment such as the one at your neighborhood coffee shop
  3. Get an app that detects networks and reports their signal strength and channel. (I use AirRadar which is available through the App Store but there are a number of others in the App Store, some of them are even free.)
    1. Using this app examine all the networks that you are seeing at your place paying close attention to the specific channels they are on, whether they are on the 2.4 or 5 GHz band and their relative signal strength. The point of this exercise is to identify the clearest channel for your network to operate on and thus reduce competition and interference.
    2. If your AE and your MacBook are capable of 802.11n using the 5 GHz band would probably work better for you. (There is some frequency overlap in the 2.4 GHz channels while there is none in the 5 GHz band.)
    3. If for any reason, you must use 802.11b/g then choose a channel that there are no other networks on or if that is not possible the one with the weakest signal from competing networks. (NOTE: you choose the band and the channel in your AE base station with Airport Utility and the MacBook and MacBook Pro will follow automatically.)
  4. Your Airport Utility is performing as it is supposed to so there is nothing wrong there and therefore nothing to fix. Airport Utility only sees base stations that are on the network your computer has currently joined UNLESS there is an Airport Express, Airport Base Station, or Time Capsule that has not been configured or has been reset and is not currently configured.
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#24609 - 12/30/12 05:48 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: joemikeb]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
Thanks for this, I have been trying to do the checks you suggest but have 'lost' the network on my MacBook Pro. It just appeared yesterday for a couple of minutes but hasn't been detected since!
I have downloaded one of the wi-fi apps and used it on the other Mac, The network in question seems fine it is a 'g' on channel 13 with a signal strength of -52 (dB). None of the other networks are using this channel.
As I say the other Mac detects it just fine and logs on ok. My Pro refuses to see it though, I am assuming that this may be a system glitch? The only real difference between the machines is that one has 10.7 and the other 10.6.
Thanks again

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#24610 - 12/30/12 06:50 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Try moving the MacBook Pro to the same spot where your MacBook is sitting and vice-versa. You may find a there is a significant difference in the WiFi signal strength or network noise even a few feet away.
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#24611 - 12/30/12 08:00 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: joemikeb]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
Hi, I have tried all of that, moved the macs, moved the AE, walked around the house with the Pro in my arms! strangely when it did detect the signal it was in a different room. I have back to the same spot but nothing.
Hey it's only or a printer, I could just plug it in.
Thanks

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#24614 - 12/30/12 02:42 PM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Rain
Hey it's only or a printer, I could just plug it in.
Is the AE only used for the printer or are you trying to get both the MacBook and MacBook Pro to connect to the internet and the printer via the AE?
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#24616 - 12/30/12 11:54 PM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: joemikeb]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
It is a dedicated AE just for the printer. It works ok with the MacBook.

I have another AE in the house that is just for streaming music, it's the same type of AE as the one used for the printer, a 'g' but it uses a different channel, this works fine with both machines.
I also have my wi-fi internet connection which is a separate device supplied by the cable company, this also works well with both machines.
I can also log on to my neighbours network and any other network that becomes available as I take my Pro out and about with me...........strange eh!

I have just reconfigured the AE using the MacBook and utility 5.6 no luck, (the Pro still can't find it even when the AE is unconfigured)


Edited by Rain (12/31/12 06:20 AM)

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#24618 - 12/31/12 10:11 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Too bad there isn't a "dope-slap" icon when I need it. I think I am finally completely on board with your situation. You probably already know most or all of what I am about to say, but just in case there is something you have missed, and for the sake of others who may read this thread in the future, please bear with me.

Are your AE's joining or extending the network provided by the wireless modem furnished by the cable company?

Both of your AEs should, of course be on the network that is created by your cable modem/wifi router. It can make a difference if your AEs are configured to "JOIN" the network to provide connectivity for devices such as your printer or it is configured to "EXTEND" the network to parts of the area that are out of range of the base station that is "CREATING" the network. In normal use, only one device should be "creating" a network and that is the one that is either in or connected by hard wire to the cable modem.

I have a somewhat similar configuration at my location using one AE to provide network connectivity for a non-network enabled Canon printer and another AE to extend my network, created by a Time Capsule, to the bedrooms and Apple TV in the far end of the house. Unless I am using Airport Utility I never actually "see" either of the other Airport Expresses. The printer that is attached to my network using an AE shows up as as a bonjour printer in System Preferences > Print & Scan the same as my printer/scanner that does have built in WiFi.

An improper setting of the Create/Join/Extend option can and will cause some rather interesting network problems and often different problems on different machines. In my case the AE attached to the non-network enabled Canon printer is configured to "JOIN" my network while the AE that supports the more distant parts of the house is configured to "EXTEND" the network. Check the programming of both of your AEs to be sure they are configured to do the "right" thing. In the case of the AE you are using to stream music it could either JOIN or EXTEND, but unless you need the additional range I would probably choose JOIN.

Why the connectivity difference between the MacBook and MacBook Pro? I don't know, but it could be related to system software, there have been versions of both 10.6 and 10.7 that had connectivity problems, it could be the firmware in the Airport card in the specific machine, It could be a crimped wire going to the Airport antenna in the MacBook Pro, it could be bad karma confused

FWIW, I was reconfiguring three AEs yesterday using Airport Utility 6.1. The latest model dual band AE was recognized pretty quickly, it took over 5 minutes for it to "see" a single band 802.11b/g/n AE, and it refused to recognize an older 802.11b/g Airport Express at all. Apple's solution was to download AE 5.6 to use for the 802.11b/g AE. I found that version in Time Machine and reloaded it so now I have both versions of Airport Utility in case I need it. After using 6.1, 5.6 seemed almost primitive.
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#24621 - 12/31/12 11:42 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: joemikeb]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
This sounds fascinating.............. but as I am just off to a party I will check it out next year!
Thanks, and happy new year to all at Fine Tuned Mac

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#24623 - 12/31/12 02:40 PM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: Rain]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Reading this thread carefully, I think that your MBP's connectivity problem likely has nothing to do with your Airport devices. It's either the MBP, its wireless network configuration, and/or the cable WiFi router. Here's why:

Unless you have connected your cable company's modem/WiFi-router and the AEs with wired ethernet, I suspect that you get your internet connection ONLY via the access point provided by the cable WiFi-router, and NOT via the AEs. That is because AEs cannot extend wireless networks created by most non-Apple WiFi hardware. Consequently, you can only configure AEs to join that 3rd party WiFi router's wireless network, even if you select 'Extend'*. And when AEs are configured to join an existing wireless network, they are put in client mode, which disables them to function as WiFi access point.

How can you test this? With Airport units only**, you can (relatively) easily find out to which physical access point your wireless Mac is currently connected, by Option-clicking the Airport icon in your menu bar. This menu will then provide the relevant info (like Airport ID) in dimmed text under the name of the network you're currently using (the ID looks like this: ab:cd:ef:gh:ij:kl, but includes both letters and numbers).
What makes this only 'relatively' easy is the fact that you then have to compare this Airport ID code with those of your AEs to find out which one you're actually using. The quickest way to do that is by using Airport Utility, which lists the ID codes of all Airport units it sees. Often the first few characters of an Airport ID code are enough to distinguish the units you've got. If I'm correct, your access point ID won't match your AEs IDs.

*) When you select 'extend a network' with a 3rd party (non-Apple) network, Airport Utility may appear to go through the motions, but it will in reality only join that 3rd party network, and not extend it.

**) The hardware IDs of 3rd party WiFi equipment not listed by Airport Utility may be found with Apple System Profiler, or in their access/configuration pages.
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#24639 - 01/01/13 08:28 AM Re: Can't find wi-fi [Re: alternaut]
Rain Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Loc: London UK
Thanks for your latest ideas, I am interested i the idea of 'joining' the same network as I use for the internet. At the moment I have 3 separate networks for the net, the printer and for music. I switch between them as necessary.

I have been away for a day and have just arrived back at my house, as I sit here in a downstairs room the printer network has just appeared in the wi-fi menu of the BMP, and I have logged on and successfully printed something through it. It's working!! I don't expect that it will last but I will read some more about the joining of networks.
Thanks for your help

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Moderator:  alternaut, dianne, MacManiac