Monday, May 14, 2007

Real World Example: Mac OS X Airport Problem

Real Word Example is an on-going series detailing real support calls and their resolutions. Look for more RWE's in the future -- Douglas

Apple iMac 17I received this late night call from a client, explaining that she had been on the phone with her ISPs tech support all day trying to resolve a problem with her Internet connection. Even after doing my standard troubleshooting procedure of powering off both the cable modem and router, she still had no connection.

I remembered that during the initial installation of the router, I had some trouble with interference from the number of other wireless routers in her area (10+).

Here were the steps I took, over the phone, to resolve her issue...

1. Had her check the network settings shown in System Preferences, Network, Airport, TCP/IP

These settings showed an IP address of 10. 0.1.2. I knew she had a Linksys router, so these settings didn't look right. Linksys router uses the IP address range of

2. Checked the Airport menu to see to which access point she was connected

This showed (by the checkmark next to the name) that her Mac was trying to access Apple Network ffbbad

3. Asked the user to select her access point's name from the Airport menu
The Airport menu refused to select that access point.

4. Return to System Preferences, Network, Airport. Selected the Airport tab in that window

Once there, we selected the By Default : setting and changed it to Preferred Network. Then we selected the Apple Network fbbad and click the minus sign to remove that network. Then we clicked Apply Now.

5. Clicking on the TCP/IP tab, it now showed and IP address of 192.168.1.x

6. Running Safari browser confirmed that connectivity was restored.


It appears to me that this Mac was grabbing the wrong access point by default, probably due to the congestion in this customer's area. Setting the Preferred Network insures that her Mac will now only attached to her network in the future.

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