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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Macbook Internet works only on the stairs

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Member Since: Sep 06, 2010
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Im new to this and this is a bit of a story so please bear with me..

Macbook 10.4.11 owned by my brother was re-called for battery issues about 4 years ago, when the macbook was returned, wifi would only be received in close proximity to the router. This issue has never been fixed and now i have 'inherited' the computer i want to get the problem sorted. I used the mac last year at university using an ethernet cable which was fine, but in 2 weeks i will be in a new house and want to be able to use wifi.

At the moment The macbook can only receive wireless internet on the stairs, not in my bedroom, the lounge, anywhere else. Other family members have ample wireless on their computers all over the house, so I believe it is not the router (SKY) which is the problem. My brother has taken the laptop to several university houses, and every-time, it will only work near the router. The guy in the apple shop said if the laptop wifi card (apologies for my lack of technical details) was broken, the internet wouldn't work at all, or would work randomly and in different areas of the house.

My first visit to the genius bar, the guy said it might be interference with neighbours wifi, and so he downloaded AP Tracker onto the macbook. On the stairs it picked up our internet only, above and below the stairs it cut off and picked up no other internet in the house. I presumed then that it wasn't to do with neighboring internet.

The second visit to genius bar, the guy said it might be some corrupt data and that i would need to back up the macbook and restore to factory settings and start again. I'm hesitant to try this as I have programs such as word and photoshop which I don't know if I will get back after the backup (do not have the installation disks). It seems a bit drastic for a process which might not even work.

If anyone has experienced this problem or can give me some help it would be greatly received as im getting a bit desperate. Also if I do need to backup and factory set my macbook, would I get photoshop, word e.t.c back without the disks. Thanks for your time.
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It sounds like the antenna within the machine might be out of place or one of the "dipoles" has been moved. The only solution to repairing that is to take the machine apart (display area) and re-orient the antenna dipoles correctly.

If you can follow the instructions given for disassembly at iFixit: The free repair manual, you may be able to repair it yourself. Note that this could also be a case of a weak or failing airport card.
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