In our ongoing coverage of Mac-friendly third-party wireless routers, the issue of dropped connections has surfaced.
Some routers, for various reasons, have trouble maintaining connections with AirPort-enabled Macs. In most cases of this issue, connections can be established and briefly maintained, but sporadically drop after variable intervals of time. Generally, full AirPort signal strength will be indicated, but no network services can be accessed.
The most commonly applicable workaround for this issue is a restart of the problematic router.
MacFixIt reader Chris Rettig provides a case example:
"I received one of the newest Macbooks in November 2006 with the Intel processor and the network cards capable of wireless-n. I am able to connect to the internet through a D-Link DI-524 wireless router. But, after an unspecified amount of time in sleep mode, the Macbook cannot connect to the internet again. The Airport symbol shows a strong signal, and Internet Connect says I'm connected but it's a false connection. The only fix I have found (despite many suggestions from other users on the Macfixit forum) is to power off my router whenever I put the Macbook to sleep and power it back on when I wake it up.
"Generally, I can maintain a good, strong connection for 1-2 hours and then it will drop the connection. Again, at this point, the only way to re-establish the wireless connection is to power off/on the router."
It would be feasible to write this issue off as indicative of faulty routers. However, in many cases, Windows PCs with non-Apple wireless hardware can remain connected to the same afflicted router for indefinite time periods.
Users experiencing this issue should try some of the suggestions listed in our AirPort troubleshooting tutorial. Failing those, however, please e-mail us with the brand and model of your router. We'd like to attempt identification of any models that seem particularly prone to the issue.
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- Guide to Mac-friendly wireless routers