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Mac can't connect to 2.4G; 5G OK. Any way it could not be hardware issue?

brec

Regular Contributor
One-month old Mac mini. In same room with ASUS RT-AC86U. The Mac's own scanner shows the 2.4G signal at -30 dBm RSSI. In dozens of tries it has connected once. There's also another 2.4G SSID from a TP-link repeater in my garage that receives from the router and generates its own signal; it has a weaker signal, and the mini can't connect to that, either. Meanwhile, two iOS devices can connect consistently to both of the 2.4G networks. The Mac can connect consistently to the router's 5G network. I've done everything Apple support has suggested short of wiping the Mac's SSD.

I don't know whether this is a new problem in the Mac's one-month life, because it's been connected to ethernet during that time. I discovered the issue yesterday while attempting to use Wi-Fi to reconfigure the TP-Link repeater.

Is there any way this 2.4G connection issue could be an issue with some software on the Mac rather than its hardware?
 

brec

Regular Contributor
Have you tried connecting to a 2.4GHz radio that is not in repeater mode ?
Yes, the AC86U is in wireless router mode. The TP-Link RE200 is a repeater. The Mac can't connect to either's 2.4G. It can connect to either's 5G.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
 

ATLga

Regular Contributor
One-month old Mac mini. In same room with ASUS RT-AC86U. The Mac's own scanner shows the 2.4G signal at -30 dBm RSSI. In dozens of tries it has connected once. There's also another 2.4G SSID from a TP-link repeater in my garage that receives from the router and generates its own signal; it has a weaker signal, and the mini can't connect to that, either. Meanwhile, two iOS devices can connect consistently to both of the 2.4G networks. The Mac can connect consistently to the router's 5G network. I've done everything Apple support has suggested short of wiping the Mac's SSD.

I don't know whether this is a new problem in the Mac's one-month life, because it's been connected to ethernet during that time. I discovered the issue yesterday while attempting to use Wi-Fi to reconfigure the TP-Link repeater.

Is there any way this 2.4G connection issue could be an issue with some software on the Mac rather than its hardware?
What are your Asus 2.4 network settings; channel, bandwidth, etc
I’ve found that smart connect isn’t so smart and set the controls manually. 2.4 channel 1,6,11 and 20 MHz. 5.0 NO DFS channels, and 80 MHz.
 

brec

Regular Contributor
What are your Asus 2.4 network settings; channel, bandwidth, etc
I’ve found that smart connect isn’t so smart and set the controls manually. 2.4 channel 1,6,11 and 20 MHz. 5.0 NO DFS channels, and 80 MHz.
Smart Connect off; N only; 20 MHz; Ch. 11.
 

brec

Regular Contributor
Checked steps 1 through 7. In step 7, does 16-character SSIDs mean exactly 16 characters and not less than 16? In that case, test failed. The current SSIDs -- or singular, for the 2.4GHz SSID -- have been in successful use for many years with a reasonably wide variety of devices.
 

ATLga

Regular Contributor
Checked steps 1 through 7. In step 7, does 16-character SSIDs mean exactly 16 characters and not less than 16? In that case, test failed. The current SSIDs -- or singular, for the 2.4GHz SSID -- have been in successful use for many years with a reasonably wide variety of devices.
I've NEVER had an issue using less than sixteen characters. It's the particular type of characters that are important though, so the guide is good for that. My current pw is a jumble of 13.

Your 2.4 settings look ok. Since you are trying to connect direct to 2.4 I assume you have different ssid's. Correct? You said the router and Mac are in the same room. The 5.4 IS the better connection and maybe the Mac is just being stubborn and sticking to the better of the two. As a test you could go into Mac network settings and "forget" the 5.0 network and 2.4. Then reconnect to only the 2.4 and see if it stays connected. Then you'll need to decide if you want to use that one only or add the 5.0 into the mix too. Just remember the client ultimately decides what to use and in this case sounds like 5.0 is the best choice.

All the above is based off my assumption you are using different ssid's and passwords. Also note that depending on your apple setup and devices, forgetting a network in one place may remove it from others. Meaning if you forget the 5.0 in the Mac as I've suggested, it may also drop from the phones you mentioned.
 

brec

Regular Contributor
Yes, different SSIDs. At this writing the Mac's own scanner reports router's 5G at -45 dBm RSSI and the 2.4G at -34 dBm, so the 2.4G is "better" on that.

It doesn't act like it's being stubborn. It never auto-connects to 5G except when Wi-Fi is turned on from the off state. After I click on the 2.4G SSID in the Mac's Wi-Fi drop-down, after "trying" for a long time, on the order of 10 secs., it pops up with an alert saying connection failed and asking for the password again.

The passwords are the same for the two bands. For many years this has never caused a problem.
 

brec

Regular Contributor
Optional time-out :)

This Mac traveled a few hundred miles a week ago from where it was used with a another AC86U for several weeks. I was using ethernet there, too, and can't remember whether I tried to connect to 2.4G. The Mac and I are going back there in another week, so I'll be able to see then. If the problem doesn't occur there, then the router here becomes suspect; if it does occur there, then the Mac is (still, in my mind) suspect and my original question of "could it be a (Mac) software problem" will remain.
 

ATLga

Regular Contributor
Yes, different SSIDs. At this writing the Mac's own scanner reports router's 5G at -45 dBm RSSI and the 2.4G at -34 dBm, so the 2.4G is "better" on that.

It doesn't act like it's being stubborn. It never auto-connects to 5G except when Wi-Fi is turned on from the off state. After I click on the 2.4G SSID in the Mac's Wi-Fi drop-down, after "trying" for a long time, on the order of 10 secs., it pops up with an alert saying connection failed and asking for the password again.

The passwords are the same for the two bands. For many years this has never caused a problem.
Ok, so FYI, the better RSSI doesn't necessarily make it the better network. In general 5.0 is better all around for many reasons. So you have different Ssids but the same password. I can see where that could be problematic. I wouldn't set it up that way, mainly to prevent such an issue as this. I'll bow out now, fresh out of ideas...
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Checked steps 1 through 7. In step 7, does 16-character SSIDs mean exactly 16 characters and not less than 16? In that case, test failed. The current SSIDs -- or singular, for the 2.4GHz SSID -- have been in successful use for many years with a reasonably wide variety of devices.
Not 16-characters, 8-character SSID. The point for this suggestion is because short SSID names have proved troublesome for some.

The specific suggestion I was thinking for you was step 6 though.

Use the Guest network to create a never-before-used/seen SSID for the troublesome client device with the step 7 attributes.

If that was done (and you've tried it again with another SSID combination) and you still have issues, post your settings in full (screen snips).
 

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