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2013 MacBook Air WiFi problems continue to plague users


Since its release in June of 2013, the latest version of the MacBook Air has plagued many users with a number of frustrating WiFi issues. Over a 131-page Support Communities thread started within days of the computer's release, 2013 Air owners complain of latency issues, dropped packets, dropped network connections and unstable connections. When using two laptops on the same network, Air users are often finding that their 2013 machines get wildly different speeds than other computers connected at the same time.

Users who have faced this issue for months are starting to get restless. To quote a user in the support community:

It is certainly driving me crazy. I have a 2010 Macbook Air that works flawlessly but my 2013 Macbook Air is constantly disconnecting.

Jeff Geerling of Midwestern Mac has been dealing with this issue, trying to troubleshoot a permanent solution while he waits for Apple to help. Geerling has a few hypotheses as to what could be causing the issues.

It seems to me that the WiFi driver and/or Mavericks' power-saving features might be too aggressive-it seems the WiFi chip is put into some low-power state if it doesn't have constant activity (like a ping every 1/5th of a second), and this is causing signal strength and stability issues.

Also, perhaps the WiFi antenna(s?) is too close, or oriented poorly, in comparison to the Bluetooth antennna(s?). Disabling Bluetooth often leads to a more stable connection, and some Bluetooth applications (like Knock, which keeps a constant low-power connection to an iPhone) can practically disable WiFi.

In the meantime, he has compiled a list of "band-aids" for the issues that may help some users until Apple officially fixes the issues. There's hope, however. On January 19, Geerling updated his post, citing a source who says the issue will be fixed with the impending release of Mac OS X 10.9.2.

Whether the update actually fixes the long-running issues remains to be seen. There are a lot of frustrated people in the Support Community waiting with bated breath to finally have these issues resolved.

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