Wireless dropping problems with Mac OS 10.6.3 update, a simple fix

Apr 2, 2010 - 36 Comments

The recent 10.6.3 update is said to include a few Airport/wireless updates that improve reliability:

* general reliability for wireless connections.
* improvements to 802.1X reliability, including closed network connections, and WPA2.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with the update on my machine, my wireless connection started having problems immediately after the 10.6.3 update. If you’re having problems, here’s the fix that worked for me. If you want more technical information, read on below for more details.

Fix for 10.6.3 Wireless connection problems:

This is what has worked to resolve the wireless connection dropping since 10.6.3:
add a new Network Connection Location, here’s how to do that:
* Open ‘System Preferences’
* Click the ‘Network’ icon
* At the top ‘Location’ pull-down menu navigate down to ‘Edit Locations’
* Click on the + sign to add a new Location
* Name it anything, click OK,
* Select the “Network Name” (wireless router) then click Apply

Your wireless should now disconnect from the router (and old location) and reconnect again under this new location. New Location means a fresh start with clean preferences and cache files I suppose, and since doing that I have been able to maintain a steady wireless connection again. Note that you will almost certainly get a new IP address if you’re using DHCP, so if you have any IP dependent network resources don’t be surprised if you have to update those to the new IP address.

Technical details on the 10.6.3 airport/wireless connection dropping

With my wireless connection dropping constantly, I immediately started poking around in the Console, (located in /Applications/Utilities/) which is one of the best places to start when trying to determine system problems.

Within Console I looked at kernel.log to see the following message, repeated every few minutes:
kernel[0]: en1 duplicate IP address 192.168.0.115 sent from address 00:92:e2:5e:1c:02
kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 4 (Disassociated due to inactivity).
kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Up on en1
kernel[0]: AirPort: RSN handshake complete on en1

kernel[0]: en1 duplicate IP address 192.168.0.115 sent from address 00:92:e2:5e:1c:02

Further poking around in Console to system.log shows the following messages repeated:
mDNSResponder[20]: DeregisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (192.168.0.101)
mDNSResponder[20]: 17: Could not write data to client because of error - aborting connection

There certainly isn’t inactivity, the connection drops even during heavy packet transfer. For whatever reason, after the 10.6.3 update it looks like my machine (the MAC address shown above) is bombarding the router with multiple connection attempts from the same IP, even when it’s connected, causing the router to drop my Mac’s wireless connection. Certainly strange behavior. Thus far, the solution outlined above has worked to maintain a steady airport connection this morning, and I hope it stays that way.

A few of us at OS X Daily haven’t exactly been strangers to Snow Leopard wireless problems, but I did find it interesting that the 10.6.3 update that is supposed to resolve issues actually caused some for me.

If you’re still having connection difficulties, check out our guide to troubleshooting wireless connection problems on your Mac.

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Posted by: Bill Ellis in Mac OS X, Troubleshooting

36 Comments

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  1. peter says:

    fix one thing, break another, it’s an endless bug chase eh? good thing the resolution is so easy this time…

  2. lord_webi says:

    just kill your network prefs and reboot …

  3. HvT says:

    This solution actually worked for me in 6.2; it carried over successfully to 6.3 — I had to do nothing.

  4. [...] 01:33 PM found this Wireless dropping problems with Mac OS 10.6.3 update, a simple fix – OS X Daily Going to give it a try and see what happens. It's an older router at work and I can't upgrade it, [...]

  5. [...] with 10.6.3, I've been having issues with Wi-Fi at work, so google-fu later, I came across this: Wireless dropping problems with Mac OS 10.6.3 update, a simple fix – OS X Daily I tried 10.6.3 and this little fix and so far so good…Wi-Fi is working again and I haven't [...]

  6. LeMaurien19 says:

    I’m on hackintosh with original AirPort card (broadcom 4328 802.11 N) and suffering from dropped connections – I’ve tried everything I found from setting a location and connecting to that as default, to changing my DNS to google public, to reinstalling 10.6.3 combo update…

    I think I haven’t killed my network prefs yet, but where do I find the plist?

  7. Eric Climaco says:

    Running a hackbook as well and have tried the above fix, “killed my network prefs” and changed my DNS…still no love. Rolled back to 10.6.2 and everything is golden again.

    Any other suggestions?

  8. Jauhari says:

    Terrible, I can’t update trough Software Update menu.. how to fix it?

  9. iscariot says:

    Run Onyx automatic cleanup of all caches, and the love is back.

  10. Pat Brown says:

    Sadly this did not work for me. Will try reinstalling the combo update

  11. spanner says:

    On upgrade to 10.6.3 wifi became very unstable for my iMac but remained fine for my Touch. Most frequent, but not the only, was on waking from sleep. I tweaked and deleted everything in sight but nothing seemed to make a noticeable difference. But from the Airport Utility/Airport tab/Wireless tab I chose Use Interference Robustness and things seemed to have improved. It’s early days yet, I have my fingers crossed.

  12. gianalt says:

    Hi guys … I’ve some problems with the wireless connection (dropouts) on my MacBook 13 ” (Snow Leopard 10.6.3). Is there a way to rollback to 10.6.2? Thanks!

  13. [...] If you are having problems with airport connectivity, try this simple fix for wireless dropping after installing the 10.6.3 update [...]

  14. spanner says:

    Further to my last post. I was still having problems. Saw a mention that changing the screen brightness had an effect. My screen brightness was set to max, no idea why, but I dropped it a bit and haven’t had the wifi problem since. I know it sounds like voodoo but it seems to have worked. Please don’t laugh at me.

  15. selector97 says:

    i have tried all suggested ways to reset my connection even with the apple tech support on the phone…the my wlan worked untin my 10.6.3 iMac went into stanby..after awaking i could not connect to my router anymore. strange is, that i have a macbook running 10.6.3 and this can connect without any problems to the same network. could anyone here finally solve all problems with airport under 10.6.3 : unstable connectivity, timeout while locking in, bad connection strength (app. 80%).

    thx
    s97

  16. Mohit Sareen says:

    Wonderful… After 2 hours of banging my head against the wall, it finally worked by following the above steps. I was trying to connect my new macbook 10.6.3 at home, but it would simply give me a connection failed error, even though it worked in my office. Very helpful post… Thanks Mate

  17. Darren says:

    The fix is simple people, instal Mozilla Firefox and use it as your default browser!

    http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all.html

    You will be able to get online instantly with zero issues (worked for me anyway)!

    Simply put Safari is pants!

    ENJOY!

    :O)

  18. Devon says:

    After 10.6.4 upgrade, airport showed I was connected, but I wasn’t. Tried creating a new location, and I’m online in an instant. This worked like a charm for me. Thanks.

  19. borgeous says:

    I had the same issue, I updated to 10.6.4 and was no longer able to connect to my own brand new home network. I tried updating the routers firmware and changing channel settings, I disabled the WPA security, as well as deleted my network settings and tried from scratch, yet nothing helped.

    BUT WHAT DID WORK
    1. Boot into windows using bootcamp
    2. Try to connect to your desired network.
    3. REPAIR the network by right clicking on the wireless icon in the taskbar and selecting repair! (do this even if you can connect)
    4. Boot back into Mac OS X 10.6.4

    Hope this helps!

  20. Toban Penner says:

    Thank you! You made my day. I just used my Laptop for over an hour with no problem.

  21. Saul says:

    This seems to have worked on my iMac running 10.6.6
    Been having the problem for a few weeks now and I found turning the AirPort on and off worked for a few minutes at a time. Also tried changing channels on my router which again would work for a short time. Hoping this solution will fix it on a long term basis but I have to ask, why didn’t Apple fix the problem? It’s just ridiculous to put out continual updates without fixing the wireless connection issues.

  22. Saul says:

    Correction. That only lasted about an hour now it’s back to dropping the connection every few minutes! I really don’t expect this crap from Apple. They need to acknowledge the problem and FIX IT…FAST!

  23. Robert says:

    Been having these issues since upgrading to 10.6.5. I saw 10.6.6 and thought great Apple must have fixed the problem but NO. This is just CRAP, my £5000 Mac Pro has no internet via Airport. Connected to the Virgin network by ethernet cable and everything is fine. My 2006 Mac Book Pro (PPC) right by my Mac pro has no problems and a Windows 7 PC also has no problems. Tried all the suggested fixes on the internet even clean installs but no luck, internet connection continually being dropped.

  24. Paul says:

    Thanks a mill

  25. I’ve been 2 days trying to work the problem out and I fixed thanks to your advice! Thank you soo much! You make my day!

    Cheers,

    @nicolafagiolo

  26. ivan says:

    this helped me to install Rosetta via wi-fi. THnx

  27. Bobby says:

    Hi All,

    Running 10.6.6 and have had the same issue, but it only appears to happen over port 80 running when running almost any flavor of browser. My ssh connections in terminal, however, remain active before, during and after getting the kernel log entry “Airport link down … disassociated due to inactivity”. Just started using MacBook Pro … will stick with Linux unless this issue gets sorted out. Frustrating Apple!

  28. Eric says:

    I recently installed Snow Leopard, upgraded to 10.6.7, and started experiencing problems with my wifi connection upon waking up my iMac. It would be disconnected and stay disconnected unless I initiated a re-connect. I would have to manually select my home network from the list, and then I’d connect (and stay connected) without a problem. Something I read somewhere about Time Machine or Time Capsule and a dual-band network being set up drifted across my consciousness, so I simply shut Time Machine off…. Voila! No more problems with dropping WiFi conn when machine sleeps. Now, if only I could get that damn Wake on Demand to work with my iPhone Remote app….

  29. trenz says:

    DUDE!!! you are a GENIUS!!!, i’ve been puzzling out all day whats wrong with my wifi, after I updated it from 10.5 to 10.6.7, you’re such a blessing!!! thank you sooo much!
    I can now enjoy my MAC! =D

  30. Rob says:

    Still no joy with mine. Same symptoms – Apple replaced the laptop, had it on test for 2 weeks. Been running for 18 months off a 3G dongle because the wifi is so unreliable. Unacceptable for a £2000 laptop. Tried everything I can think of except a complete reinstall and then a gradual install of all my apps. Will take me weeks which is why I haven’t done it yet.
    I have had some success with Tinkertool System if I clear all the caches and rebuild indexes and things the laptop will go for about a day before it acts up again. The only way I can get it to reconnect (apart from a restart) is to put the laptop to sleep then wake it up. Turning the airport on and off doesn’t work.

  31. Rob says:

    I have been battling with this issue for 18 months and have finally cracked it. It turns out that the EtherExpress bus SDD drive I had from Verbatim has been the root cure of all my problems. For some reason the driver interferes with the airport. I took the card out after coming across some posts about wifi issues on OSX when investigating why the SSD card wasn’t working after a Lion upgrade. I decided to take the card out as an experiment and I have not had the wifi drop once in about 3 weeks. Result as I had them regularly with it in.

  32. [...] You can read more about Mac troubleshooting here, http://osxdaily.com/2010/04/02/wireless-dropping-problems-with-mac-os-10-6-3-update-a-simple-fix/ [...]

  33. John says:

    plugged in an ethernet cable ( just into mac ) and its worked ever since!

  34. David says:

    I have tried everything. I am SO pissed. Everything was working fine until I upgraded to Lion. I have now done clean re-installs of Lion, then Snow Leopard and then Leopard. Still have the problem. I think things may have had an occasional issue under snow leopard but it definitely wasn’t enough to stop me from using the wireless but after I went to Lion, things immediately went bad. Now I’m wondering if the upgrade and new firmware may have done permanent damage to my wireless hardware??

    I also recently upgraded the firmware on my Airport Extreme. Same damn thing! I had to downgrade because it caused network problems. Does Apple even bother to test their software anymore??!! As far as I am concerned, this is becoming very similar to dealing with Microsloth. I’m going to end up hating both companies!

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