Thursday, 21 July 2011

I've been chasing my tail lately with an older MacBook Air laptop that simply would not reliably connect to the WiFi router provided to me by my ISP, Qwest. The ZyXEL PK5000Z router is a combo DSL modem and wireless router.

The strangest part of the issue was that while non-Apple hardware would connect to the router just fine, all of my Apple devices had issues, varying in nature. The iPad would connect but the connection was flaky at best and sometimes would just hang. My MacBook Air would rarely connect to the WiFi network, and when it did connect it would almost always not be able to get any network traffic to pass. When traffic did start to move on rare occasion, it would burst and then quit. Every non-Apple device, from Windows machines to PlayStation to WiFi-enabled TV to smartphones, etc. worked fine. Just the Apple stuff failed. I was partially assuming the old MacBook Air was to blame - It's been dropped on its head a few times and has been through the ringer. It's pretty worn out.

Then today I got a brand-new model MacBook Air (more on that later perhaps). I expected it to work but when I got home, it was just more of the exact same issue. Ugh. Not good.

I tried a number of things to try to fix the problem. I turned off UPnP and set up a wireless network with no security or encryption, but the results were the same. So I called Qwest to see if someone there had any ideas. I have to admit that based on past experience, I didn't have high hopes. But, I spoke with a guy who asked me to change my router to force it to use channel 11 on the WiFi radio. I was quite surprised when - after changing the channel and forcing the router to use just that channel, the Apple computers and iPad starting working just fine.

So, if you happen to have issues getting your Apple computer, iPad or iPhone or other device to connect to the PK5000Z router, give WiFi Channel 11 a try. It might just work. The PK5000Z wireless radio setup page is probably located here, but if that link doesn't work just browser in your web browser to and then click on Wireless Setup, and then in the left side menu click on Radio Setup. Next, the radio is set to Auto Detect for the channel default setting, Change that to Channel 11. Make sure the power setting is set to Full and scroll down to click the Apply button. That's it!

Add/Read: Comments [4]
Apple | Tech
Thursday, 21 July 2011 21:45:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Friday, 22 July 2011 07:10:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Wow. I've had the same issues here with the same ISP and router. Thanks for the tip! I'm going to make the change as well, see if it helps.
Matthew Mors
Friday, 22 July 2011 08:10:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Cool yeah let me know if it helps. No idea what would actually cause this behavior since it hasn't happened elsewhere. There are a lot of wireless networks where I live, and channel 11 is in use on a few, but who knows... Plus the fact that it only affects Apple network connections is just weird. Must be something non-standard somewhere under the hood somewhere...
Monday, 25 July 2011 04:23:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Good to know. I just added a couple of ZyXEL wireless access points to my house to bring some connectivity to an outbuilding and when doing so I had migrated my old WAP downstairs forgetting that I had configured that one on channel 11 to support my Airport device upstairs. Now I know why I have to reboot my Airport to get on the wireless network; when I get home I will swap the channel 11 on the ZyXEL upstairs and move the old WAP to channel 1.
Thursday, 29 December 2011 03:03:27 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Many thanks! It works pretty well now...
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