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How to fix non-working WLAN of Apple macBook Pro

MacBook Pro

 

I have found the cause of and the remedy for the non-working wlan in my macBook Pro, likely to be a general problem for this product.

Hence I share the solution.

 

History

More than a year ago, I was participating in an endless thread on the Mac support forum. It was created by numerous people around the world because we all had trouble with the wlan connection of our MacBooks or similar products. A lot of people tried, but nobody was able to find a general remedy for this world wide problem. From the company Apple we perceived only silence. No help for over a year, but presumably somebody was working hard on the backroom. 

My major contribution in that thread is embedded at the bottom of this article because my “review” is or at least was relevant. At the time, the wlan driver software behaved in very strange ways and I am a software expert. I can’t check if this is still the case because just today this very macBook will not start at all. It is probably something severe with the hard drive. I shall make a prayer before bed time. 

(UPDATE 070713: As I learned to start the machine while holding down the SHIFT key, I was able to restart the machine. Haven’t got the faintest idea why it was all black for a week.)

If nothing else, I decided to finish this article drafted a while ago, because it may help others with similar problems. I suspect I have detected the severe cause of a problem that could possibly be annoying to many macBook users, but I cannot know for certain. It is a speculation. Perhaps Apple could make a suitable statement on the matter?

I think they should.

Anyway, as usual when I help large companies with error detections, I inject the paypal button, just in case somebody at Apple…. no? Well, ok, here it is anyway.

[paypal-donation]

 

The thing is, I found the remedy for our macBook a couple of months back, and since then it has been working just fine. For the same reason, I have not re-examined the software.

The error

The error seems to be related to a mechanical weakness in the construction of the machine. If you push too hard on the surface of the macBook at a certain place, the wlan hardware card – probably only when it reaches a certain age – will “short circuit” and immediately stop working, and the software is unfortunately unable to detect this change of status, but starts to behave like a flapping hen without head. Funny today, but not then!

Hence the great mystery, the impression of low quality software, and those long threads?

In the second picture below, of the macBook internal hardware, the wlan card is found betwixt the red stripes, and this is then the very sensible area of the pc cover. Compare to the picture above in order to understand where this is on the machine. 

The remedy

The remedy was to put two stripes of rubber of thickness approximately 1-2mm, on the position indicated by the red stripes, so as to build a protective bridge for the wlan card. This works very well, since the wlan has been flawless for months.

I recommend you measure with accuracy. Take a look at the picture above (click it for larger image). Notice a slight gap on the left hand side, due to those bridges. Mimick that, or perhaps go for a smaller gap. 

MacBookPro-wlanCardTrouble

 

How to open a macBook for surgery

Here is a link to an excellent article on opening up a macBook. I am used to such operations, but if you are not, please think twice and consider the risk. It is not that difficult, but take it slooooow. Be accurate. Never use force. Your responsibility!

http://www.michael-hammer.at/blog/upgrade_wlan_mbp/

The long thread on wireless problems 

For the record, here are info on the long thread on wireless problems. This is only one of several threads on this subject. 

Tip to Apple engineers: As this article explains the cause of error, please consider cleaning up in the software, and in particular, to add a check for whether the wlan hardware card is working or not. My messages:

My message #2:  https://discussions.apple.com/message/17803976?ac_cid=142432#17803976

My main message: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3235078?start=225&tstart=0 Quote of the original post, with a few error corrections and an added picture.

Mar 21, 2012 3:20 PM 

I took another look at the setup for WiFI. The general behavior of this Mac OS X Lion sw is so incredibly unintelligent that I have started to wonder if I am watching the original Apple sw from 2012 ? It actually behaves very primitive and behaves (at its best) much more like a WiFi software from the childhood of this technology 10+ years ago.

FreePad with fantastic stereo boom-boom sound, a forerunner to iPadAnd I know what I am talking about because we made the mother of all wireless ipads at that time; The FreePad, the wireless web machine.

 

So, due to strange “drunken sailor” behaviour of this software: 

 

Could it be a virus making fun of us ?

Could it be that Apple have done a blunder in the production and version control, so that we really does not have the latest software at all ?

Here are some observations:

1. While the Systray icon is showing the bads news NO CONNECTION, at the same time our local network is CHECKED, and beside the network name it is the sign that it is encrypted and CONNECTED! This is not so, so the software is lying on status. (Lack of basic validation functionality?)

2. In paralell, there is the information “LOOKING FOR WIFI NETWORK CONNECTION”. One may observe that this message is refreshed at regular intervals so this is just one very optimistic peace of software. Indeed!  This search does not make any sense at all. For some strange reason, the software forget to check if there is antenna signal. Looks like there is no signal…

4. And for completeness, we can add that if the WIFI is connected, then the command Turn WiFi off must be avoided at all cost, because WiFi can’t be turned on again afterwards.

5. At other times, it shuts down by itself anyway, as is known. (ADDED 4th of July: The reason is described in this article)

In addition to these signs of an unhealthy WiFi system, there are also other suspicious elements. For example:

1. To the right of 802.1X: it is normally placed the word DEFAULS which to my knowledge is not an English word ? (I am a Norwegian)

2. This word DEFAULS is sometimes replaced with DEFAULT, which makes more sense, but the replacement lasts only for a fraction of a second. I am unable to conclude on the logic here.

3. When pushing the CONNECT button, a text is shown for a fraction of a second, alternating between:

a) WI-FI IS CONNECTING, and:

b) WI-FI IS DISCONNECTING. (Doesnt make any sense whatsoever since the button is offering CONNECT only!)

Finally, there are other sign of a piece of software in heavy trouble, because there is another cool button with the text TURN WIFI ON. When pushed, this text is displayed:

SWITCHING WI-FI POWER WILL CAUSE ANY UNSAVED CHANGES TO BE LOST. WOULD YOU LIKE TO APPLY YOUR CHANGES BEFORE SWITCHING WI-FI’S POWER ?

In my humble opinion this message is not related to the text of the button in a very clear way. What is the user supposed to save away ? I can’t find anything of importance… And why is there a so-so-not-so-logic nested SAVE feature inside another SAVE feature ? I suggest THE WILD GUESS BUTTON would be a much better name. 

So what is all this? It does look like crappy software. Isn’t it just too stupid to pass even the most humble of quality assurance control posts  

Is it a virus, or really a software programmer on the loose ? Can it really be genuine ? I am starting to doubt that.

I have still not seen any response from Apple, anyone else seen anything ? 

Kind Regards

C

 

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