Help Jerry solve his wi-fi woes

 

UPDATE:  I got it fixed by asking my friends to turn the router off and on again. It now works! YAY!

What a weird thing to feel so bad when you’re disconnected. I used to travel just writing letters!

 

by Grania

Jerry is suffering from a lack of internet. Here’s the problem.

The internet router is working, all non-Mac devices in the house can connect.

Only one Mac device (an iPad) can connect, all other Mac devices cannot.

I don’t use Macs (I play video games, and therefore PCs are always going to be my choice), so my google-fu is not going to be of much help.

 

 

82 Comments

  1. zl84841g
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What is the router model/manufacturer? Connect to its configuration interface and peer at the logs.

  2. Somite
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Is it a Cisco routers. Those were notorious for having problems with Apple stuff.

    Other than that restart everything and make sure the router is set up for DHCP. Someone might have set it up for manual local IP addresses.

    • Mike Deschane
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, some WiFi gear is “incompatible” with Apples.

      Does Dr. Jerry have a smart phone with hotspot capabilities? That might be an iffy on a foreign systems too.

    • tubby
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Also make sure the router doesn’t have a limit on the number of connections its allowing. You might try getting a new DHCP ip lease by opening up terminal and typing either
      ifconfig release
      ifconfig renew

      or

      ipconfig release
      ipconfig renew

      You might want to then ping the router to make sure you’ve got a connection-
      ping -c 4 (router’s ip here, usually 192.168.1.1 on home routers)

      Then check your internet connectivity-
      ping -c 4 8.8.8.8 (that’s a Google DNS server, it should always be up)

  3. Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Is this a new setup? Have any recent changes been made? Can the Apple devices communicate with each other via local WiFi even if they cannot access the Internet?

  4. Pikolo
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m not being mean, but iOS devices are not Macs. MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs and iMacs are.

    Can you be a bit more precise about the list of devices that are not working?
    And how are they unable to connect, ie. are they:
    a) failing to detect the home WiFi Network?
    b) failing to detect any WiFi network?
    c) throwing errors when attempting to connect?
    d) seemingly connecting to the router, but providing no access to the internet?

  5. Redlivingblue
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Try updating the firmware of the router. Should be available on the manufacturer website. If still no dice, I would be glad to remote into the system and see if i can heal the issues.

  6. cbranch
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    If the devices are set up to automatically connect, “Forget” the network and let it prompt you to enter password or security key again. Might be worth a try if you haven’t already.

  7. Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve sent him Support.Apple.com pages on how to log onto an encrypted non-Apple service and how to Renew DHCP Lease.

    /Grania

  8. Redlivingblue
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Try updating the firmware of the router. Should be available on the manufacturer website. If still no dice, I would be glad to remote into the system and see if i can heal the issues. I do IT for a living. Jerry, just email me if I can be any help, but I bet a firmware update will take care of the issue.

  9. Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    WiFi is Wifi, a standard that is open to any platforms. Having said, connection speed (types) might be seen by some devices depending on how old they are. WiFi G is very common that devices that close to 10 years old will be able use it. N is more recent, and some devices might not see it. AC is even newer still.

    None of this can be adjusted at the Mac/PC or iOS level, they have the network adapter that they have, and that is it, but it can adjusted on the WiFi access point/router (AP).

    They need to make sure the AP is set, at least temporarily, to a more normal levels, 2.4GHz, with its channel set at 20 or 40 Mhz, and if the AP is on N or AC, it should be set at 80 Mhz since some older Apple devices cannot use it. They will see the WiFi access point’s name (SSID) but they will not be able to actually connect and go out to the Internet.

    I hope this helps for now.

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      CORRECTION: … and if the AP is set on N or AC, it should NOT be set at 80 Mhz since some older Apple devices cannot use it.

  10. Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I would check the router settings first before getting into DNS, DCHP and other settings. If other devices on the same Access Point can see each other and can browse the web, etc, then is is not a DHCP or DNS issue.

  11. Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This is probably a stupid question, but what is Jerry’s device which does not work? Can it not be connected by a cable (Ethernet instead of Wifi)?

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s a MacBook Air. I suggested trying a cable. I’m afraid there’s very little information to go on. I was hoping that this was a common enough problem with MacBooks that someone who uses them would recognise and know the work-around.

      /Grania

    • Wunold
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      It’s not stupid, it’s the first thing to clarify because it defines the next steps to take for diagnosis and fixing.

  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Right, need specifics

    BUT

    ideas of things to try:

    Two-factor authentication : if it’s on, a second device might be asking for “allow” or something.

    The firewall settings might be interfering- if you can’t FaceTime, that’s a thing to try.

    HTH

  13. David Harper
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Many routers allow the administrator to define a list of devices that are permitted to connect wirelessly, and if the device isn’t on the list, it won’t be allowed onto the network even if the correct password is supplied.

    Is it possible that Jerry’s Mac hasn’t been added to the list of permitted devices list?

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      My first thought too. Perhaps he just needs to disable (if it enabled) his wireless MAC filter.

      Mike

  14. GBJames
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised nobody has suggested this yet.

    (Sorry… I couldn’t help myself.)

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha. That is my go to solution, and then I’m done.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Ah, me too. The last IT help I had managed to make my address book disappear. As usual, he had left the building before I discovered it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Apparently, according to the update, that is *exactly* what worked.

      🙂

      Just kick everything in the tripes (electronically speaking) and let their auto-set-up mechanisms automagically connect.

      cr

    • jwthomas
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      “Restart” is always the basic first step in diagnosing a Mac.

      BTW, Apple has *hundreds* of video games available for download.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        The router was restarted, not the computer.

      • Posted April 2, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, after they’ve been ported from the PC version. 🙂
        /Grania

        • Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          Generally true (that games are ported from Windows to MacOS and Linux – especially bigger titles – indie titles seems to be developed in parallel more often) but there’s still quite a lot of games available for Mac (and Linux) nowadays. Or do you have to play all as soon as they are released? You must have a lot of time on your hands then. 😉

          The biggest benefit I see with Windows is that the games that do exist for other platforms still tend to run much better when played under Windows on the same hardware. This might change when modern ”low level” graphics API’s such as Vulkan is used more than Microsoft’s DirectX (12). On the Mac side there’s Metal which does about the same thing, but the problem there is the lack of powerful graphics hardware options. One can always go the so called Hackintosh route… And it seems Apple is developing it’s own graphics hardware for their iOS devices, which I think probably means it will eventually come to Macs too.

          Always in motion, these things are…

          • Wunold
            Posted April 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            there’s still quite a lot of games available for Mac (and Linux) nowadays

            Indeed. Here’s an example of the great variety of Linux games today. (I’m not affiliated with this vendor in any way but as a regular customer.)

            As long as you don’t need the big AAA titles, there’s more game than you’ll ever need in your lifetime.

      • darrelle
        Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Much more generally applicable. Restart is the first thing to try for any computer like device, any operating system.

      • Posted April 3, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Way back yonder when I was designing digital systems we sometimes designed in a “watchdog timer” in the circuitry – timing to be periodically restarted by the supervisory logic. If the system ever locked up the timer would thereby trigger a full system reset to get things going again. A lovely mechanism to implement into a system when one wasn’t too sure that it was especially well designed.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          Heh. I’ve got my security cameras set to auto-reboot every Monday at 10:00AM. Just because.

          • Wunold
            Posted April 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            The Voodoo of technology. 🙂

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            So if somebody wants to burgle you they should wait until Monday morning to do it…?

            🙂

            cr

            • GBJames
              Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

              The clever fellow would find that I work at home!

    • Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Isn’t turning it off and then on again pretty much always the answer? Unless you’re playing old school Nintendo, in which case you just to blow in it.

  15. Al
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Try eero

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Glad it’s working. I didn’t see this to know as I was doing aquarium things. I was going to suggest seeing if it was getting an IP.

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Is it? How?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Getting an IP? It must be now because he wouldn’t be online if he weren’t. I figure the router wasn’t issuing an IP to the MacBook Air for whatever reason and the restart woke it up, the greedy, IP hoarding thing.

  17. bric
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Well obviously you have

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha!

    • Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Exactly what I was thinking about when I saw the (rather common) solution. 🙂

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Two things struck me.

    1. Absolutely nobody (so far) was facetious about Macs and their must-be-different-from-everybody-else approach. (Not even me).

    2. Grania plays video games!

    More seriously, when I travel, I’m quite used to my laptop not connecting to some Wifi’s. All sorts of odd voodoo-ish things seem to prevent a connection sometimes. I have three different flavours of Linux installed on my portable, so if one can’t connect I try booting into another. (It also has Windows left over from a previous owner but I don’t let that near the Intertoobs ‘cos if it gets a virus there’s no way I can reinstall it).

    And if none of them work there’s my Android phone or tablet for backup. To quote the PERL motto, ‘there’s more than one way to do it’.

    There’s not a lot of point, when travelling, in trying to get into the deepest technical depths of settings, because tomorrow will be a different Wifi.

    cr

    • bric
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      If it’s a commercial installation of Windows there should be a restore partition available at boot through the F8 key (advanced boot options)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        That’s probably the partition labelled ‘Lenovo recovery’ way at the end of the disk (that I carefully left in place when I shrank the main Windows partition to make room for Linuxen). Noted, thanks, for future reference should I need it.

        (I used to know a lot about Windows back in Win95 days, but since then, owing to the IT department at work forbidding users from poking about in the works, I now know very little. If I used it more often (on my own computers that is), I’d learn more about it.)

        cr

        • ratabago
          Posted April 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Buried in Control Panel there will be entries for “Create a system image”, and “Create a system repair disk”. On my system it is under “Backup and Restore”, with the view set to “Large Icons” instead of the default “Categories”. Could be handy to have such a thing. 🙂

        • darrelle
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          I’m not sure anyone really knows much about current Windows OP. A friend who is a life long IT person rolls his eyes, takes a deep breath and then commences to ranting at the first hint of any question about Windows 10.

          • Wunold
            Posted April 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            They rant but they almost never switch. It’s the same with IT like with power providers or telephone companies.

            • darrelle
              Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

              My friend wouldn’t be caught dead with a Windows OS on any computer that he personally uses. The organization he works for is another matter.

              As I think you are saying there isn’t much choice, but at an individual level it is pretty easy to use something other than Windows if you really want to.

              Personally, I use Windows. There are definitely some annoying things about it, but there are annoying things about all software. Heck, I’m still pissed about Lotus 123 being bought and then silently disposed of. Neither MS, Apple or any open source spread sheet that equals it (IMO of course).

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                “My friend wouldn’t be caught dead with a Windows OS on any computer that he personally uses. The organization he works for is another matter.”

                Same here, except I wasn’t in IT.

                My only exception (and why I preserve XP or similar on any laptops I buy) is a piece of software I wrote and maintain for a friend who runs Windows. It started as a quick hack and sort of growed ever since.

                cr

              • Wunold
                Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

                As I think you are saying there isn’t much choice, but at an individual level it is pretty easy to use something other than Windows if you really want to.

                No, I meant that there are almost always alternatives but people don’t use them or don’t even look for them in the first place.

                To be forced to work with a particular system at work is another matter, of course. I’m another Linux user who is forced to work with Windows at work – Win 7 at the moment. And man, do I miss those many little conveniences like locking a window in the front or scrolling in non-active windows with the mouse wheel … at least Win 7 finally got a manually sortable task bar.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

                I’ve often tried to promote employees being given a budget and a selection of computers for use. No one wants to adopt this model but I think if you are prepared to support the computers, it would be great for employee morale. Because I work at a university, I actually bring in my own MacBook Air. Yes, it’s unfair the PC they gave me is old and a piece of crap I can’t use so I use my own, but I wasn’t using that computer anyway and I feel happy using it so it’s one of those weird situations.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

                @Diana

                I think that’s a great idea. Probably works better in a university with a vast variety of users, than in a business situation.

                Our IT at work went from being a user-friendly supportive organisation (as one IT guy said to me, ‘we don’t mind what you install on it so long as you don’t expect us to fix it’) to suddenly being a totally fascist control-freak empire. Reason was the appointment of a new manager whose background was a casino, where I presume his main preoccupation was preventing the tellers from conspiring with customers to steal money.

                There was a lot of grief on both sides before they reluctantly tacitly admitted this didn’t work with engineers.

                cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Current Windows? (Shudder). When my father went into a ‘home’, I got him a brand new HP laptop and tried to install a couple of his favourite programs on it. I was fairly well-used to XP at a superficial level so I didn’t foresee much trouble. Well it had Windows 8 or something on it, *nothing* I was used to worked, nothing was where I expected it to be, I couldn’t find anything and I was reduced to screaming at it and I have never felt so strongly tempted to throw a piece of technology through the window.

            OK I’ll accept that kind of interface on my (Android) phone, I’m not expecting it to work just like a PC. But not on a computer.

            And my father, being used to XP on his old computer, never used the laptop anyway. In hindsight I should have got him a second-hand one.

            IMO, XP was the best OS that Microsoft made, so far as user interface goes. Probably no coincidence that my current Linux desktop is set up to look pretty similar to that.

            cr

            • Wunold
              Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

              Most Linux Desktops are much more versatile than anything Windows ever had, and you used yours to rebuild “the best OS that Microsoft made”? (Shudder) 😉

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

                I agree with your statement, if it were true.

                But I didn’t say my desktop was *exactly* like XP! For starters, I’ve got six workspaces (virtual screens) configured and I can switch between them with Alt-[n], so I keep each running app on a separate screen. This browser is on screen 4, for example. Better than Alt-tabbing ‘cos with that I never know which app will come up next in the sequence.

                This is in, umm, LXDE desktop. If I feel like a change I can exit this and switch to Gnome Classic or XFCE which I’ve also got configured, just for the hell of it. Or reboot into Linux Mint which I’ve also got installed (in a separate partition).

                But what I meant was, the general look and feel – with the auto-hide applications bar along the bottom of screen, the menus popping up with a click at bottom left, a few user-chosen icons on screen – look a lot like XP. I think a XP user would find it easier to adapt to Linux than Windows 8.

                cr

              • Wunold
                Posted April 4, 2017 at 12:36 am | Permalink

                Multiple Desktops and even another Linux variant installed reminds me of my wild early Linux days when I indulged in it’s mutability. For many years now, I’ve settled with one Desktop per machine (KDE on PC and Laptop, MATE on the Netbook).

                Ironically, many “normal” users are overwhelmed by the amound of choices Linux offers, although they could just take one of the most prominent variants without reservation.

                About XP look & feel, I never understood the Windows panel placement at the bottom of the screen, since most other controls are at the top like most other buttons and menus. A bottom panel means much more mouse movement.

                Although even KDE comes with a bottom panel, I moved it to the top – and the windows’ buttons to the left, again because that’s where most other controls are. My Windows desktop at work has a vertical panel at the left.

              • Wunold
                Posted April 4, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

                … when I indulged in it’s mutability.

                Oh my, a greengrocer’s apostrophe. Shame on me. 🙂

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 4, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink

                Well, I like the panel at the bottom. I know the latest Gnome defaults to putting it at the top but, like almost everything else, it’s easily configurable.

                (Can’t remember where LXDE puts it by default but it’s at the bottom on mine…)

                cr

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 2, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      The way Macs connect to a router is no different than any other computer. The issue here was the router itself.

  19. Brian Salkas
    Posted April 2, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    1. dispose of the mac devise
    2. buy ANYTHING eles
    3. enjoy your internet

    • Posted April 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Just be sure it has spellcheck.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted April 3, 2017 at 3:54 am | Permalink

        😀

    • Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Anything else which is NOT Windows 10, which spends all its time eating up your network by incessantly downloading system updates. I don’t like Macs, but I’m starting to prefer them to Windows. ‘Course, nothing beats Linux!

      • Posted April 3, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        What’s wrong with Macs (i.e.MacOS) if you like Linux?
        The bad thing with going Mac as I see it is the limited hardware option (unless you go unofficial, geeky routes) and that sometimes the price is higher than I feel it should be (like for the latest MacBook Pro generation).

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          As a Linux user, what is wrong with Apple products is that Apple is even more control-freak than Microsoft. That, and as you say, it charges exorbitant prices for limited hardware.

          I like to buy a nice big cheap-and-cheerful PC box and fit and fiddle with extra drives and stuff. That works fine for Linux and, I think, Windows.

          cr

    • Posted April 3, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      What a knowledgeable an thoughtful comment. Strange that it doesn’t seem to fit with reality:

      http://www.cio.com/article/3001871/macbook/switch-to-macs-from-pcs-reportedly-saves-ibm-270-per-user.html

  20. Posted April 2, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    That’s right. Always first thing to do is turn off power to router for 30 seconds. Then turn on again. If that doesn’t work, it’s way beyond my pay grade.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  21. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I forgot to mention

    Apple has a new Apple Support app. No idea if it will help, but it’s something. You’ll have to search for Apple Support in the App Store.

  22. Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    The definitive word on computer systems as given by Eddie Izzard:

    • GBJames
      Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      A fine way to start the morning!

  23. colnago80
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The moral of this story is that it is amazing how many computer/router problems can be solved by turning of all equipment and rebooting the systems.

  24. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    This thread needs something. Hmmmm….

    emacs is best.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Attempt to start a Holy War duly noted…

      😉

      cr

      • Wunold
        Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Pico. I don’t care if it’s not cool; it’s like the Pine mailer so I understand it!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          I was thinking of vi – vs – emacs, of course. Not that I use either. (Nano when I have to, but I prefer a graphical one like gedit)

          cr

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          it’s alpine last I checked – I bent over backwards to keep up – got funny looks over my shoulder – eventually, sadly, I gave up.

  25. Posted April 3, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Are Mac users a bit thick? I don’t think one can be really smart and be a Mac user at the same time.

  26. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes and I always say “I’m not using vi” when anyone wants me to edit anything. I should make sure I’ve installed pico on my MacBook Air


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