MacBook Airport Network Getting Full Bars, No Internet Connection

by Michael on November 10, 2009 · 4 comments

Over the past few weeks, my wife’s MacBook has been having sporadic problems with our wireless network. It can see the network just fine, but at times it loses internet connectivity. At the same time, my MacBook Pro has been just fine, so we know it’s computer-specific. Fortunately, I think I’ve found a fix.


The background here is that, every once in awhile (usually after she wakes the computer from sleep), she’ll get full bars but no internet connection. Beyond that, she’s unable to connect to our local wireless laser printer. In the past she’s been able to resolve the problem by turning Airport off and then back on. Workable, but annoying.

More background: She’s been running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) for as long as I can remember. I thus started the troubleshooting by upgrading her operating system to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) in hopes that something had gotten corrupted, and the upgrade would overwrite the problem.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work. After a bit of Google detective work, however, I stumbled upon the apparent solution. Start by navigating to:

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration

Note that this is the root library folder, not the one in your user directory. Next, delete the following files:

  • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  • NetworkInterfaces.plist
  • preferences.plist

You will be prompted to enter your administrator password before the files are deleted. You have nothing to fear from this, so just go ahead and do it.

From there, you could probably just toggle Airport off and back on again, but… I went ahead and rebooted and then reconnected to the network. Voíla. Everything is now working as expected.

Update: After continuing to have sporadic problems, I discovered that our Belkin N+ wireless router was randomly dropping the internet connection even though the wireless connection was still coming through nice and strong. The solution? We returned it and got a D-Link DIR-655 wireless router, which works great.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

alvarocan December 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Hi there, how is your wife’s MacBook at this point in time? Has your fix solved the problem permanently, or have any of the problems come back? I’m also experiencing similar problems, and would like some input…will try your fix as soon as you respond. Thanks! :)

Reply

Michael December 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm

alvarocan: I think our problems were actually more complex. Her MacBook seemed to randomly disconnect from our Belkin N+ router (or vice versa). While the fix above helped, swapping out the router solved the problem entirely. We went to a D-Link DIR-655 (I’ll be writing that up soon, so stay tuned). Thanks!

Reply

Vicky August 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm

This worked!! My daughter’s macbook has been having this problem for a while now and this fixed it!!! Yay! Thank you!

Reply

David March 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Hey just wanted to say this fixed our problem and we appreciate it!

Reply

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