27″ iMac Wireless Interference


So as some of you may know, I work for TalkTalk Group, in the residential technical support, 1st line. We get quite a few interesting issues, some of them are funny (I might post a few of those later), some of them are quite hard to resolve, and some point out to some potential hardware issues. I have never came across anything like that before anywhere on the Internet, being a mac geek and a huge podcast fan, so I decided to write about that on my own blog.

So the story is that I had a customer who has called in with an intermittent wireless connection issue. He has one of TalkTalks Huawei HG520b routers which is situated on the ground floor of his house. According to my systems in work his router was connected at a maximum sync speed of 20.1Mb.

He has got a 27″ iMac on his 1st floor upstairs at a distance of around 15-20 meters away from the router. The iMac had trouble connecting to the wifi and was only getting 1 out of 5 signal bars. We have moved the router upstairs, connected an Ethernet cable, and changed the wireless channel so he could connect wirelessly and get 5 bars on the same distance.

Now when running a speed test, he could only achieve around 6Mbps. To which my answer was WTF?

Now here’s the most interesting thing and why I have decided to blog about this. I told the customer I had an iMac before, it was a previous generation though, and I had a couple of issues with wifi on it, a the whole back on the new machines is aluminium apart from the apple logo, which is in black plastic, where the actual wifi chip is located, it can cause huge interference.

The customer then said, what if I turn the machine the other way round, so it’s back would face the direction to the router. It may sound ridiculous. But we’ve done that. Guess what was the speed result? 14.5 Mb! He turned it back and it was 6 again. So realistically, that huge aluminium back can cause huge problems. Now the main thing that worried me is that it would mean that the local are speeds were limited to 6Mb! While the router is a standard 54g. Clearly the Internet connection is faster than the guys local area network can handle.

I have advised the customer to have a word with apple regarding that issue, because it really seems like a problematic unit. Hope some of you guys found that interesting, thanks for now!

Cheers,

Aleksandr.

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About acritic
Passionate about technology and music. I like to review and criticise work of other people, while staying gentle and intelligent.

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