I've got an Apple Macbook Pro with a nasty-weak Airport (wireless) card. Since the day I brought it home, this computer hasn't been able to "lock" onto my wireless router signal, and in many instances the wireless signal will drop out all together. And when I click the Network Preferences tab in the upper left corner of the Finder, it almost always says the Airport card is "scanning" rather than "on," even though I have all three bars of signal. Here's how I deal with it:
(If you want to skip my sob story, feel free to scroll down to where I talk about my solution for this problem.)
Not only is this very annoying, but it also makes me rethink purchasing another Apple computer. While I love the Mac OS X operating system (it's leaps and bounds over any Windows system I've ever owned, including the newest Windows 7 - in my opinion), it doesn't do me any good if I can't consistently connect to the Internet. Especially considering a big part of my financial livelihood is Internet-based.
I've taken the computer to Apple service centers, and they say it runs fine. That lead me to believe it was a compatibility issue between my machine and my wireless router. But we've got a big IMac that runs just fine (no wireless problems), and I've even had several of my friends bring over their Apple laptops, just to test the signal. Nobody had any problems except me.
From what I've read on the Apple forums and other online articles, I'm not the only one with this problem. So I guess there's comfort in numbers. But comfort doesn't fix my wireless signal. Over the last year or two I've kind of found a make-shift solution that usually works, albeit temporarily.
Dealing With A Dumb Airport Card In An Apple Macbook Pro
(Bet you can't tell that I'm a little bitter, eh?)
I'll write this out in steps so you can follow along if you'd like:
Step 1: Click the wireless Airport icon in the top left of your screen. It looks like a three-bar rainbow.
Step 2: Click "Open Network Preferences."
Step 3: Click "Assist Me" at the bottom of the pop-up window.
Step 4: Click "Diagnostics" when the next window pops up.
Step 5: Follow the instructions, then manually select your wireless network. You might even have to enter your network password (a major pain).
Step 6: Be ready to repeat this process in another 10 minutes or so.
Why Doesn't The Airport Card Work Properly In My Macbook Pro?
Good question. It certainly can't be on account of not spending enough money on the computer, that's for sure. Don't get me wrong, I love every aspect of this machine (minus a keyboard/mouse issue that took nearly a year to get fixed, but that's another story - besides, it's been working fine ever since), but I absolutely HATE the fact that wireless is buggy.
The Apple guys haven't been much help, either. But they did tell me that the generation before mine had some big issues with their wireless systems, but even though mine shows the same exact symptoms of these older computers, they assure me that "there is no problem." Then they proceed to try to sell me a $75 USB wireless adapter. If there's no problem, why are they offering me a "fix?"
Okay, I'll close up this rant before I get carried away.
In the meantime, hopefully my little solution works for you.