Oh, The Huge Manatee

A blog about technology, open source, and the web... from someone who works with all three.

Still More Wireless Troubleshooting

The damnedest thing happened - I went out of town.  I went out of town, and discovered that I was STILL getting dropouts every 90 seconds!  On a totally different router, on the opposite site of the planet, in a rural area with no conceivable wireless interference.  This prompted me to boot into Windows 7 (I have a Boot Camp partition) to try my ping test under a totally different software stack.

Even under Windows, every 90 seconds I would get a ping spike for a second.

This means it’s got to be hardware, or firmware related.  My first instinct was to go for the PRAM, which is as close as Macs get to a BIOS.  You can reset your PRAM by holding down Command, Option, P, and R as you reboot the machine.  When you hear the “startup sound” the second time, you know you’ve got it right. Unfortunately this didn’t help my dropouts.

So now I’m kind of stuck.  The firmware is up to date (Atheros 5416 2.1.14.5), the PRAM has been reset, but STILL I get dropouts every 90 seconds like clockwork… on any OS, connected to any router, with any encryption method (or none), anywhere in the world.   The connection doesn’t drop, it just loses packets for a second.

I’m all out of ideas.  I’m about ready to disassemble the thing and re-seat the card, in case there’s some kind of a contact charge being built up that’s discharging every 90 seconds and causing EMI to disrupt the connection.  And that is a hypothesis of desperation my friends.  Desperation.  I do have another, Atheros miniPCI card living in my mediacenter system right now, so I may also test with that.  I have a great broadcom miniPCI card kicking around, but unfortunately OSX doesn’t have any drivers for that.

Any suggestions?

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