Connection issues plague Apple AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Users of Apple's latest Airport Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule hardware, released in October 2009, have reported instability and significant reductions in speed when using the routers at the 5GHz wireless band.



A thread on the Apple Discussions features a number of users who claim issues with the hardware. In posts dating back to November and stretching into February, users say they have experienced much slower speeds on the 5GHz band, regardless of proximity to the base station.



"Stability and speed is terrible on 5GHz network," user 'Koskimaa' wrote. "Not to mention, now when I try to watch the streamed iPad Keynote in Quicktime, it crashes my PPPoE connection. Also, Time Machine backup has been far from smooth."



Some have said that transferring large files in 5GHz mode can freeze the connection, and there are numerous reports of instability while accessing 802.11-N mode on the 5.2GHz band. The same problems, users say, are not experienced at the 2.4GHz frequency.



User 'playtech1' wrote on Monday that his new 1TB Time Capsule is "hopeless in the 5GHz band." He said download speeds are about 420Kbps slower than at the 2.4GHz band.



"This is a real shame, given that I bought it to occupy the 5Ghz band - in my apartment I can see over 20 wireless networks in the 2.4ghz band and only one in the 5ghz," they wrote.



Last October, Apple updated its Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme hardware with a new speed boost. The devices include a new antenna design that aims to offer up to 50 percent better wireless performance, along with a 25 percent improvement in range over previous models.



The new hardware operates simultaneously over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, allowing multiband devices to use the best available band. Apple said the new feature ensures better compatibility with devices that may interfere with one another through wireless transmission.







But rather than seeing improved performance with the new dual-band antenna, a number of users claim that their connection speeds are significantly reduced when operating at the 5GHz band.



"My 5GHz are so slow its unusable," user 'lagstrom' wrote. "Pretty often it (loses) contact and hooks to the 2.4GHz network instead. Please release a firmware fix soon."



"Sometimes I even need to restart my Airport card on my (MacBook Pro) because it hangs after getting connected to the 5GHz network which is extremely unstable," user 'Hank the tnak' wrote.



In December, AppleInsider reported that the AirPort line of routers had lost market share in 2009. Apple's hardware was fifth in the market, thanks in part to higher prices, behind Linksys, Belkin, D-Link and Netgear. And while the Time Machine consumer network attached storage device is a market leader, it satisfies a very small niche market.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    ifailifail Posts: 463member
    probably shoulda added issues with Aperture 3 eating hard drives alive with this post.
  • Reply 2 of 90
    I haven't had any issues with my TC. I backup a Macbook and an Air with no hiccups. I'll keep my eyes open though.
  • Reply 3 of 90
    I can't believe people waste money on Apple's wireless base station hardware. The same can be done with third party solutions for far less money. Time Capsule is an overpriced joke. I would much rather backup over FireWire than wireless or Ethernet.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    I have no issues with my older .11n AEBS. I don't use TC.
  • Reply 5 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    I can't believe people waste money on Apple's wireless base station hardware. The same can be done with third party solutions for far less money. Time Capsule is an overpriced joke.



    Did I waste money buying a MBP when I could have purchased an Acer for far less money?\
  • Reply 6 of 90
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,282member
    My AirPort Extreme purchased about 2 months ago is working just fine. My MBP & AppleTV use the 5GHz band and my iPhone and older devices use the 2.4GHz band without a problem.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    I haven't had any issues with my TC. I backup a Macbook and an Air with no hiccups. I'll keep my eyes open though.



    No issues here either. I replaced my failed Time Capsule with the one. Apple then replaced my old TC no questions asked due to the power supply problems and it was 20 months out of warranty. Can't complain.
  • Reply 8 of 90
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    Did I waste money buying a MBP when I could have purchased an Acer for far less money?\



    Depends on who you ask.
  • Reply 9 of 90
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Time Capsule was a great idea, but it's a pretty bad piece of hardware. It overheats all the time, the network is flaky, and Time Machine just doesn't work very fluidly using a remote file store.
  • Reply 10 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Apple's routers offer plenty of great features for the money but then oddly exclude others.



    Any idea if the problem is HW, driver or firmware related? Things have been great on my end.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ifail View Post


    probably shoulda added issues with Aperture 3 eating hard drives alive with this post.



    1) That should be it's own article, not one about routers and WiFi.



    2) The hyperbolic "eating hard drives" is just a memory leak, so if it's "eating" anything it's virtual memory, not the HW itself.



    3) There are plenty of reported issue withe Aperture 3, so if they do an article it should contain all these various issues not just one in an unrelated article.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    Time Capsule is an overpriced joke. I would much rather backup over FireWire than wireless or Ethernet.



    One backup for one machine is fine for your setup but TC has its benefits.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    Sporadic issues with my tc too!



    The idea is great and it's great when it works. They need to issue a fw update asap.
  • Reply 12 of 90
    This has been discussed in the past :



    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wirel...irport-extreme



    Basically, the antennas are badly connected. :s GG Apple.



    Adi
  • Reply 13 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    I haven't had any issues with my TC. I backup a Macbook and an Air with no hiccups. I'll keep my eyes open though.



    Same here, no issues, I connect my iMac and Air all the time, and my wife's MacBook, and my iPhone, and other people's wifi devices. My wife's MacBook and my Air back up over the air to a connected hard drive... and no issues at all.



    I'm out in the middle of nowhere, though, where there's no other signals so maybe that's what's going on with other people's routers?
  • Reply 14 of 90
    never had any issues with mine and use it only on 5ghz
  • Reply 15 of 90
    I have the same problem with my older (can't recall the model, but it is flat shaped) Airport extreme. It loses the connection to the internet regularly and has to be restarted. It also takes down my PPPoE connection.



    The problem occurs with my older G5 as well as my new iMac 27". I can't use my wireless connection to transfer large number of movies to my Apple TV, the wireless service goes down. I had to resort to using an ethernet connection to do the job. Syncing a single movie is OK though.



    This must be a recurring issue. Why some people have problems and others don't, who knows, but it is frustrating to say the least.
  • Reply 16 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by adisor19 View Post


    This has been discussed in the past :



    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wirel...irport-extreme



    Basically, the antennas are badly connected. :s GG Apple.



    Adi



    Interesting...
    For some reason, however, Apple decided to not add third antennas for each radio. Instead, it appears the middle two antenna connections (AP2 and AP3) bring out combined signals from both the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios. Antenna connector AP1 is dedicated to the 5 GHz radio, while AP4 is dedicated to the 2.4 GHz radio.



    To confirm this, I took a closer look at the Amphenol printed circuit antennas and found three different part numbers: two of Apple 820-2519-A and one each of Apple 820-2177-A and Apple 820-2754-A. But I think the antennas are not all connected correctly.



    If my theory is correct about the use of dual-band antennas, the two 820-2519-A's should be connected to the board AP2 and AP3 connectors. But only one 820-2519-A is connected to dual-band output AP2, while the other connects to single-band output AP4.



    Since I don't have a board schematic, and I can't follow all of the traces in detail, I could be wrong. But I think the antennas connected to AP3 and AP4 are swapped, which could account for the poor 2.4 GHz performance that I found, since the left side radio is 2.4 GHz.
  • Reply 17 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    Did I waste money buying a MBP when I could have purchased an Acer for far less money?\



    ... uuuuh except he wasn't commenting on the MacBook Pro vs. other brand notebooks, he was talking about the AirPort Extreme vs. other brand routers. Different products, different uses, different functions. Think before you post, really.
  • Reply 18 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    I can't believe people waste money on Apple's wireless base station hardware. The same can be done with third party solutions for far less money. Time Capsule is an overpriced joke. I would much rather backup over FireWire than wireless or Ethernet.



    My overpriced joke is the best router I've ever had. Easy to set up, use and fast, fast, fast. No problems whatsoever thus far.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ifail View Post


    probably shoulda added issues with Aperture 3 eating hard drives alive with this post.



    Yeah, this is a poor day for Apple's quality rep. Reading some of the general chatter on the web about Aperture makes me glad I haven't installed the trial yet.
  • Reply 20 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    I can't believe people waste money on Apple's wireless base station hardware. The same can be done with third party solutions for far less money. Time Capsule is an overpriced joke. I would much rather backup over FireWire than wireless or Ethernet.



    I don't know any other SOHO router that gives you IPv6 set up so easily, if at all.
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