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Macbook Pro getting timeout error on WiFi connection attempt

Posted on 2014-02-26
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Last Modified: 2014-03-02
Hi guys,

I'm not a Mac guy, but I can service them to a point - premise set!

A client has a WiFi network through a local ISPs router (OPTUS) using a Netgear cable modem/ router.

They are a Mac houshold, with a Mac Desktop & a number of iPads (1 or 2) & Macbook Pros (3, that I configured).

Of these devices, all connect wirelessly... all except one of the Macbook Pros.

The Macbook Pro in question is a Core i5 running OSX 10.7.5 and seems, in all cases, to be a pretty good machine.

But here's the conundrum...

When I attempt to connect it to the local router, I get a time-out error. However, when I was there and connected it to the WiFi Hotspot on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (Android), it connected without a hitch.

Is it possible that the modem/ router has a limit to the number of devices (or specifically, Macs - why would this make a difference?!) which are able to connect to it simultaneously? This was the only thought I had because the router appears to be working fine, as does the Macbook Pro... and yet, nothing!

One other Macbook Pro which I was next to at the time I checked the OSX version of the Macbook Pro in questions was 10.4.x, so a bit older but still able to connect and browse.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
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Question by:Servant-Leggie
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Accepted Solution

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Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
ID: 39891210
Can you temporarily disable the WPA or WPA/2 or WEP encryption on the WiFi Router and see can you connect to the WiFi?

I doubt that the router has a limit of 5 devices connecting.

Does the router have any MAC address based authentication?
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Author Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 39893695
eoinosullivan, I can try disabling encryption when I visit there later today but (I really should have given this a shot, in hindsight).

I though some old routers had some limit, or were a bit funny with Macs, but the fact that this router has many other Macs joining without incident rules that last item out for me.

Regarding the MAC address base authentication, I believe so, but it's optional. Would you suggest I try connecting via MAC address? Any idea why it should be necessary to do this on this machine but not on the others?
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39894138
MAC address based access or filtering was a thought as a possible reason the computer was unable to connect.

If it can connect when wifi security is switched off then you could consider either using MAC address based access or experiment with wifi security settings. Some MacBooks have a history of temperamental wifi cards. The usual rule is not to mix wifi security pick wep or wpa2 but don't use a setting that claims to offer wpa&wpa2 as these cause some wifi cards to choke. Keep the password alphanumeric and 8 characters to test and if the MacBook can connect you can then try a longer password or add other characters and see if it fails.

Personally I use MAC address based ip allocation on the router so each device always gets the same local IP address and combine that with wpa2 security and i find connection most reliable with routers
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Author Comment

by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 39899332
eoinosullivan, thanks for your suggestions. In the end, it worked once I connected to the WiFi router again and, after further investigation, it appears to be a router issue. Of course, the router is now displaying some other issues which are causing the customer to plan to speak with their ISP to get a replacement. So, in short, it appears that the Netgear router, which is several years old, is simply in need of replacement.

Thanks for your suggestions and solutions - I'll keep them handy for another time.
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