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Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 09:44AM
Running Mojave. I'm getting frequent disconnects and very poor speeds with my wireless network, and I'm very sure the problem isn't with my network because I have a Ring camera setup and a MBP that also use the same network and are fine. (Ethernet not an option in this case, I have no wired ethernet in the house at all.)

Given that the problem seems to be specific with the Mac Pro, what should I be looking for? (I can't move either the wireless access point antenna or the Mac Pro itself, those pretty much have to stay where they are.) Is it possible the AE card has gone bad, or something wrong with the MP's antennas? (Is it possible to hook up an external wifi antenna?)

TiA




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: rouderon
Date: May 22, 2020 10:00AM
I have the same issues with my 2009 MP (and we have great internet here - 300 down/20 up). I bought a USB wifi adapter and turned off the internal wifi.

I bought this one [www.amazon.com] for my MP, and this one [www.amazon.com] (which is currently unavailable) for my 2012 Mac Mini.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: May 22, 2020 10:09AM
Wow. If your Ring camera is working fine there MUST be something seriously wrong with the Mac.




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Buzz
Date: May 22, 2020 10:13AM
Maybe go PowerLine adapter for the MP; it's not like it's gonna be going mobile anytime soon....
==
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 22, 2020 10:25AM
If you get that USB WiFi adapter, you could use a USB extension cable and put the adapter on top of the tower, or wall mount it even higher for a good signal. Just an added idea.



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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 11:03AM
PowerLine adapter isn't going to help, since there's no ethernet in the house -- not even a port. I'm using a wireless access point as my sole internet connection. Speeds are not great by any means, but good enough for what I need it to do. (Background: Cox has a monopoly in my part of town, but their service is terrible and unreliable and I hate their company with a passion; and I already had my iPhone through AT&T... AT&T is not going to be putting fiber into my area anytime soon because of the Cox monopoly... so I did the best I could, which is to get a bundled package from AT&T for unlimited everything using the access point.)

I'm running Wireless Diagnostics on the MP now, to see if it's in any way informative.

Is there no way to add an external antenna to the internal card? I have a couple of spare external antennas, so at least that might help me narrow down the problem.

Edit: oh, and a little more detail on my wireless setup. I have two external antennae attached to the wireless access point, plus a range extender to make sure I get good signal all through the house. The Ring stuff, I have three Ring cams plus a Doorbell, and two Ring Chime Pros -- again to make sure the signal is good. The Mac Pro in question sometimes has difficulty connecting to the network, but when it does, the signal is strong-- 5 bars. The problem is that the speed is terrible and there are a lot of disconnects. The Mac Pro also seems to have more difficulty connecting to the 5Ghz from the range extender compared to the 2.4Ghz wavelength (and connecting directly to the access point rather than the extender is probably the worst).




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2020 11:22AM by PeterB.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: rouderon
Date: May 22, 2020 11:32AM
Can you run a speed test (like Speedtest.net) from your phone (on the same network as your MP) while you're next to your MP, and then run it from your MP and compare? If you're getting much lower speeds on your MP than your phone, then it's most likely an issue with the MP/Airport card.

Also, is this a new issue, or has your MP always had this issue?
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 11:53AM
Hmmm... Wireless Diagnostics says:

1) Review Wi-Fi Best Practices
Read tips for setting up and using your Wi-Fi network

2) Dropped Wi-Fi Connection
Contact AppleCare customer support for further assistance

3) Poor Signal Strength
Try moving closer to your wireless router

4) Poor Wireless Environment
Turn off or move away from sources of interference

... of these, I know that #3 is not correct ... I'm writing this right now on my MBP which is connected to the same exact network and am getting five bars with no dropped connections to speak of. #4 is something that I can't necessarily do that much about, because of where the MP needs to be and the fact of there being a lot of wireless networks in my neighborhood (but not really THAT many, on my MBP I see maybe 10-12, including my own three).

It also generated a Wireless Diagnostics.tar.gz file, which when I double-click to expand it, creates a folder with a ton of stuff in it, but not sure what I should be looking for specifically there...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 12:03PM
Quote
rouderon
Can you run a speed test (like Speedtest.net) from your phone (on the same network as your MP) while you're next to your MP, and then run it from your MP and compare? If you're getting much lower speeds on your MP than your phone, then it's most likely an issue with the MP/Airport card.

Also, is this a new issue, or has your MP always had this issue?

I just tried Speedtest -- not sure though if the phone was for sure using the wireless network or cellular, I tried turning cellular off, but was still seeing the bars for cellular signal... and the speeds I was getting were definitely worse than for my MBP ... which makes me think that maybe it's a question of where the Mac Pro is sitting or all the nearby equipment (monitors, lamp, etc.).

The MP has always had this issue, but it's also always been sitting in this spot, and I just hadn't had time to troubleshoot until now. So this is all making me think that it really might be worth trying an external antenna ... or a USB solution you'd suggested.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2020 12:04PM by PeterB.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: rich in distress
Date: May 22, 2020 12:25PM
Have you tried deleting the WiFi config?
Sys prefs/Network, select Wi-Fi and click on -
Click + and select Wi-Fi for a new connection.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: rouderon
Date: May 22, 2020 01:41PM
Quote
and the speeds I was getting were definitely worse than for my MBP

So, you're saying the phone got worse speeds than the MP, correct? That's very strange. You turned off cellular data for the Speedtest app (I'm assuming you installed that one)?

You could also try physically moving the MP closer to your wireless AP and test it temporarily. But, given the issues I've experienced with my internal Airport card (and ones in other MPs we've had), I'd say your best bet is to get a USB wifi dongle (preferable one with an antenna like I posted about earlier)
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: May 22, 2020 01:53PM
Have you added a USB cable to your set-up lately? Sometimes a USB cable, especially USB 3, can interfere with WiFi.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 01:58PM
Quote
rich in distress
Have you tried deleting the WiFi config?
Sys prefs/Network, select Wi-Fi and click on -
Click + and select Wi-Fi for a new connection.

Haven't tried this yet, will do ... but it would be odd for a software issue to be interfering with wifi connections?

Quote
rouderon
Quote
and the speeds I was getting were definitely worse than for my MBP

So, you're saying the phone got worse speeds than the MP, correct? That's very strange. You turned off cellular data for the Speedtest app (I'm assuming you installed that one)?

You could also try physically moving the MP closer to your wireless AP and test it temporarily. But, given the issues I've experienced with my internal Airport card (and ones in other MPs we've had), I'd say your best bet is to get a USB wifi dongle (preferable one with an antenna like I posted about earlier)

No, saying that the MP has worse speeds than the phone, but the phone getting worse speeds than the MBP. So that makes me think that it's possible the physical location of the MP is part of the problem, and this is also why I keep asking whether it's possible to attach an external antenna to the Airport card, because if that suddenly improves everything, then obviously I know the problem is with the MP's antenna and not the Airport card. Those USB wifi dongles are cheap enough though, that I'll go ahead and order one in any case.

Quote
anonymouse1
Have you added a USB cable to your set-up lately? Sometimes a USB cable, especially USB 3, can interfere with WiFi.

Nope, but this question DID make me think of a possible culprit, which I'll investigate next: very close to the MP is a lamp which I have set up on a wireless switch (separate from my wireless network) to turn off/on. I'll try disconnecting it and seeing what happens.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2020 02:01PM by PeterB.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 02:33PM
OK, so I've now tried these things:

1) Turning off the wireless light switch - this helped only marginally, if at all

2) Trying rich in distress' deleting the WiFi config - this didn't seem to make any difference either.




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: JoeH
Date: May 22, 2020 02:52PM
I thought the Mac Pros did come with an external antenna to be connected on the back? I recall one being in the box when my son got his 2010 Maac Pro. Never used it, had wired ethernet connections available.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 22, 2020 02:58PM
Quote
JoeH
I thought the Mac Pros did come with an external antenna to be connected on the back? I recall one being in the box when my son got his 2010 Maac Pro. Never used it, had wired ethernet connections available.

That's the funny thing, I did too -- I even found something that might well be the external antenna, but not sure ... and if so, I can't figure out where on the back it should be connected. It's this guy:



... of course, this might not even be for a Mac Pro, I have no idea...




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Buzz
Date: May 22, 2020 09:39PM
Quote
PeterB
PowerLine adapter isn't going to help, since there's no ethernet in the house -- not even a port. I'm using a wireless access point as my sole internet connection. Speeds are not great by any means, but good enough for what I need it to do. (Background: Cox has a monopoly in my part of town, but their service is terrible and unreliable and I hate their company with a passion; and I already had my iPhone through AT&T... AT&T is not going to be putting fiber into my area anytime soon because of the Cox monopoly... so I did the best I could, which is to get a bundled package from AT&T for unlimited everything using the access point.)

Just get a wifi/ethernet bridge to connect to the PowerLine adapter near the Cox AP. **That** should work. I have 3 or 4 pair of PowerLine adapters in our storage unit, as well as an equal number of wifi bridges. If we weren't in lockdown, I'd dig a set out for you to use as proof of concept, then you could option up to faster PowerLine adapters as desired.... the wifi bridges are n/ac speed, so they're good, but IIRC, the captive PowerLine adapters top out at 500Mb/s.

In the meantime:
Here's the $85 turnkey solution to your dilemma....


==
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: May 22, 2020 09:50PM
Tower Mac Pros always have weak WiFi.

WiFi repeaters are garbage.

Buzz has a valid solution.



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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: AllGold
Date: May 22, 2020 10:43PM
Aren't the 2012 and earlier Mac Pros basically Faraday cages?



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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: May 23, 2020 06:06AM
Quote
Sarcany
Tower Mac Pros always have weak WiFi.
...
Agree and the BT 2.0 sucks even worse!

TP-Link has a $20 solution, their AC 600 Archer T2U Plus USB Dual Band WiFi Adapter.
$19.99 @ bezosville



Although you can 'turn off' the internal AirPort card, I've always preferred to pull it:
Open Mac Pro, pull CPU tray, remove 2 screws, & pull the AP card (see below).







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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 23, 2020 08:26AM
Quote
Buzz
Quote
PeterB
PowerLine adapter isn't going to help, since there's no ethernet in the house -- not even a port. I'm using a wireless access point as my sole internet connection. Speeds are not great by any means, but good enough for what I need it to do. (Background: Cox has a monopoly in my part of town, but their service is terrible and unreliable and I hate their company with a passion; and I already had my iPhone through AT&T... AT&T is not going to be putting fiber into my area anytime soon because of the Cox monopoly... so I did the best I could, which is to get a bundled package from AT&T for unlimited everything using the access point.)

Just get a wifi/ethernet bridge to connect to the PowerLine adapter near the Cox AP. **That** should work. I have 3 or 4 pair of PowerLine adapters in our storage unit, as well as an equal number of wifi bridges. If we weren't in lockdown, I'd dig a set out for you to use as proof of concept, then you could option up to faster PowerLine adapters as desired.... the wifi bridges are n/ac speed, so they're good, but IIRC, the captive PowerLine adapters top out at 500Mb/s.

In the meantime:
Here's the $85 turnkey solution to your dilemma....


==

I'm not quite sure what you're proposing here, since I don't have a Cox AP... I don't have Cox anything...

If what you're proposing is: my wireless access point -> wireless repeater/powerline adapter (the one you linked to above) -> house electrical system -> power line adapter -> ethernet, isn't that going to be insanely slow, because my wireless isn't especially fast to begin with? (I would think so, just because you're having to go through even more steps/conversion of signal...)

Quote
MrNoBody
Quote
Sarcany
Tower Mac Pros always have weak WiFi.
...
Agree and the BT 2.0 sucks even worse!

TP-Link has a $20 solution, their AC 600 Archer T2U Plus USB Dual Band WiFi Adapter.
$19.99 @ bezosville



Although you can 'turn off' the internal AirPort card, I've always preferred to pull it:
Open Mac Pro, pull CPU tray, remove 2 screws, & pull the AP card (see below).




See, now this diagram is making me think ... why can't I just disconnect one or both of those internal antenna leads, and attach an external antenna? If the leads are having plugs of the standard Airport type, then I think I already have an antenna that would work. I just don't know if the plugs are the same.




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: May 23, 2020 09:32AM
Quote
PeterB
If what you're proposing is: my wireless access point -> wireless repeater/powerline adapter (the one you linked to above) -> house electrical system -> power line adapter -> ethernet, isn't that going to be insanely slow, because my wireless isn't especially fast to begin with? (I would think so, just because you're having to go through even more steps/conversion of signal...)

No.

You lose half your bandwidth with a typical wireless repeater (as opposed to a mesh satellite), but you're not saturating your bandwidth because you have such a slow connection.

...This is a "Why not give it a try? Worst case, it doesn't work and you return the product," situation.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2020 09:38AM by Sarcany.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Buzz
Date: May 23, 2020 01:11PM
I'm not quite sure what you're proposing here, since I don't have a Cox AP... I don't have Cox anything...

If what you're proposing is: my wireless access point -> wireless repeater/powerline adapter (the one you linked to above) -> house electrical system -> power line adapter -> ethernet, isn't that going to be insanely slow, because my wireless isn't especially fast to begin with? (I would think so, just because you're having to go through even more steps/conversion of signal...)


Cox/AT&T doesn't matter, only that your WiFiAP is your sole WAN internet source. It mostly boils down to how fast your WiFiAP is at close range. Like Doc says, there will be some loss, but it's greater via wifi extension than when bridged to ethernet. You'll be fine w/ what I linked. I wish I could get into our storage unit and dig out one of our vintage solutions (see below) just to prove the point.

The $85 link seems like currently the most cost effective way to go; if/when it works, you can option up, if desired, to the fastest possible solution for 2X - 3X the price, and send the "test" unit back.
Good luck.

        +         
==



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2020 01:12PM by Buzz.
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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 23, 2020 08:32PM
OK, you guys have convinced me, I will pull the trigger on multiple possible solutions and see what sticks. If use a Powerline adapter, I presume the adapter has to be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not through something like a surge suppressor or UPS?

I still think it makes the most sense though to simply attach an external antenna to the Airport card ... or it also occurs to me, what about a wireless PCI card? Then I could add an external antenna to that.




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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: May 24, 2020 06:10AM
Quote
PeterB
OK, you guys have convinced me, I will pull the trigger on multiple possible solutions and see what sticks. If use a Powerline adapter, I presume the adapter has to be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not through something like a surge suppressor or UPS?
Directly to AC outlet is the correct method.
Quote
PeterB
I still think it makes the most sense though to simply attach an external antenna to the Airport card ... or it also occurs to me, what about a wireless PCI card? Then I could add an external antenna to that.

As someone who has traversed this issue, I'd try the $20 USB WiFi option first.
It also provides the external antenna you desire!
iirc, it will cost you more to add an ext. antenna to the notoriously flaky APC and
a PCI card will also cost you one of the three available slots.
If the USB WiFi doesn't work, return it to bezosville. No risk to try.

I can't see spending the big bucks for PLA's or 'range extenders' if it's just the
cMP's outdated Airport Card causing the issue.

Quote
Racer X
If you get that USB WiFi adapter, you could use a USB extension cable and put the adapter on top of the tower, or wall mount it even higher for a good signal. Just an added idea.

This is a good tip. I've done this when adding a BT 4 USB adapter. Only cost $5 and a few cable ties.



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Re: Need help with wireless on a Mac Pro 2012
Posted by: Buzz
Date: May 24, 2020 12:40PM
As someone else who has traversed this issue...

Best example: I had to help some friends of spousal unit that had the essentially identical problem. Sole internet provider in rural-ish area had their WiFiAP in hubby's office room on right side of home's front door entry hall. AP was near far wall opposite entry hall. Wife's smaller office was on other side of wall next to kitchen, which is on left side of front door entry hall.

Wife's tower was damn near SOL when it came to getting online. I put a new wifi router in hubby's office room, attached to AP's single ethernet port, and massaged location on wall closest/next to entry hall for optimum signal. Got wifi/enet bridge for wife to find optimum placement for signal in her cubby hole office's wall next to kitchen. Point to point distance was something around 27 feet, which included three walls, and a kitchen full of electric goodies. Hubby's electronics were on his side of the office, not in direct line between wifi devices (so not sure what effect they may have had on wife's signal). Windows in both offices faced front of house, and are very small. Not sure how well roundabout wifi signal worked.

Wife's, still substandard, signal would drop when kitchen electrical stuff was used, and then would take awhile to reconnect after whatever appliance usage stopped. Best/final solution was a pair of mid-level Powerline adapters for wife's use. That family moved four states away, and left the home's wifi issue to the next owner, before possibly optioning up to highest possible Powerline solution.
==
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