The conversation on this page has been archived and is no longer active.

Airport Connection Yo-Yo (i.e. up/down)

Message #1 - Posted 2006/03/16 - Sally Shears

Quick Summary: PowerBook's Airport connection goes up/down like a yo-yo. Appears to be solved by resetting NVRAM. OS X 10.4.4 & 10.4.5 with all updates.

Hello All --

An intermittant problem with Airport connections going up and down (like a yo-yo) has recently become much worse. The connection drops out, all the bars go gray in the indicator. A connection seldom lasts longer than an hour making it very difficult to work. This is on two G4 PowerBooks, one 10.4.5 and one 10.3.9 with Linksys WRT54g access points.

My recent testing:
- When the indicator shows no bars, MacStumbler will sometimes show the access point, sometimes not. In one interval, I had MacStumbler showing updated signal strength for a full two minutes during which time I could not get the AP to show up in the Airport menu. - Eventually, the access point shows up in the Airport menu again. I can then select it and re-establish the connection. With no action on my part, the mac will reconnect to the access point after several minutes. This is the yo-yo behavior.
- When the indicator shows no bars, and repeated attempts to get bars fail, the Intel iMac right beside me is having no problem with the same access point.
- When the indicator shows no bars, cycling "Turn Airport OFF - Turn Airport ON" brings back the connection with full function. After a while, the problem repeats. Yo-yo.
- When the indicator shows no bars, the lights on the WRT54g access point are normal.
- Connection drops appear to be more are likely when the PowerBook is making less use of the connection... For example, when working locally and occasionally getting a web page... than when using the connection constantly (ssh terminal session). But, running a ping constantly doesn't keep the connection up. Confusing.
- The problem has gotten bad enough that it's very hard to work on the affected PowerBooks.

I had seen instances of this in the past, but only occasionally. I sense that something is accumulating because I see a steady worsening in both PowerBooks.

Both PowerBooks move from one building to another. There are Linksys WRT54g's in both locations, setup identically and with the same SSID. Don't know if this is related or not.

Reading MacFixit suggests reseting NVRAM... I'm trying this on one of the Powerbooks. Seems to be working. How to reset NVRAM? See:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449

Problem isolation... The problem appears...
- On two several-times-updated G4 PowerBooks, but not on a new Intel iMac. Might be related to several-times-updated vs. a fresh install. - On 10.4.5 and 10.3.9 (so it's not just one version)
- With Linksys WRT54g access points in two different locations (so it's not local interference or a bad access point)
- On two different PowerBooks (so it's not a bad Airport card) - With increasing frequency over time. Appears to be something that accumulates. When you first see it, you just say "flaky wireless", but later it's happening every 15 minutes, up/down, like a yo-yo.

I hope the NVRAM has fixed it. Any other ideas/experiences?

-- Sally

Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly") SallyShears@gmail.com -or- Sally@Shears.org
SallyShears (at) gmail (dot) com

Message #2 - Posted 2006/03/18 - Mat Cvetic

Previously, Sally Shears wrote:

Quick Summary: PowerBook's Airport connection goes up/down like a yo-yo. Appears to be solved by resetting NVRAM. OS X 10.4.4 & 10.4.5 with all updates.

Hello All --

An intermittant problem with Airport connections going up and down (like a yo-yo) has recently become much worse. The connection drops out, all the bars go gray in the indicator. A connection seldom lasts longer than an hour making it very difficult to work. This is on two G4 PowerBooks, one 10.4.5 and one 10.3.9 with Linksys WRT54g access points.

My recent testing:
- When the indicator shows no bars, MacStumbler will sometimes show the access point, sometimes not. In one interval, I had MacStumbler showing updated signal strength for a full two minutes during which time I could not get the AP to show up in the Airport menu. - Eventually, the access point shows up in the Airport menu again. I can then select it and re-establish the connection. With no action on my part, the mac will reconnect to the access point after several minutes. This is the yo-yo behavior.
- When the indicator shows no bars, and repeated attempts to get bars fail, the Intel iMac right beside me is having no problem with the same access point.
- When the indicator shows no bars, cycling "Turn Airport OFF - Turn Airport ON" brings back the connection with full function. After a while, the problem repeats. Yo-yo.
- When the indicator shows no bars, the lights on the WRT54g access point are normal.
- Connection drops appear to be more are likely when the PowerBook is making less use of the connection... For example, when working locally and occasionally getting a web page... than when using the connection constantly (ssh terminal session). But, running a ping constantly doesn't keep the connection up. Confusing.
- The problem has gotten bad enough that it's very hard to work on the affected PowerBooks.

I had seen instances of this in the past, but only occasionally. I sense that something is accumulating because I see a steady worsening in both PowerBooks.

Both PowerBooks move from one building to another. There are Linksys WRT54g's in both locations, setup identically and with the same SSID. Don't know if this is related or not.

Reading MacFixit suggests reseting NVRAM... I'm trying this on one of the Powerbooks. Seems to be working. How to reset NVRAM? See:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449

Problem isolation... The problem appears...
- On two several-times-updated G4 PowerBooks, but not on a new Intel iMac. Might be related to several-times-updated vs. a fresh install. - On 10.4.5 and 10.3.9 (so it's not just one version)
- With Linksys WRT54g access points in two different locations (so it's not local interference or a bad access point)
- On two different PowerBooks (so it's not a bad Airport card) - With increasing frequency over time. Appears to be something that accumulates. When you first see it, you just say "flaky wireless", but later it's happening every 15 minutes, up/down, like a yo-yo.

I hope the NVRAM has fixed it. Any other ideas/experiences?

-- Sally

I had exactly this same problem when I upgraded my 1.2 GHz iBook from 10.4.3 to 10.4.4. I reinstalled from my Tiger DVD and upgraded directly to 10.4.4 and the problem went away.

Message #3 - Posted 2006/03/17 - Sally Shears

Previously, Mat Cvetic wrote:

Previously, Sally Shears wrote:

Quick Summary: PowerBook's Airport connection goes up/down like a yo-yo. Appears to be solved by resetting NVRAM. OS X 10.4.4 & 10.4.5 with all updates.

I had exactly this same problem when I upgraded my 1.2 GHz iBook from 10.4.3 to 10.4.4. I reinstalled from my Tiger DVD and upgraded directly to 10.4.4 and the problem went away.

Thanks Mat... That's what I'm afraid of... That the problem is a result of upgrading and that a clean install is the solution. I'm still watching. The NVRAM helped a lot, but I'm still seeing the problem with less frequency.

-- Sally

Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly") SallyShears@gmail.com -or- Sally@Shears.org
SallyShears (at) gmail (dot) com

Need Help? Have a Question?

Looking for more help, comments, and answers?

Ask your questions on Ask Different. Ask Different is a community of Apple users ready to help.