Friday, September 21, 2012

Macbook != Cisco

Issue:

Macbook Pros and Macbook Air suddenly couldn’t connect to the wireless network at a company I manage. The users claimed it worked perfectly at home and at hotels and such. All Windows, ipads and iphones worked without hitches. This issue occurs both on a secure and a non-secure SSID that passed through the same AP (Cisco Aironet 1240AG Series Access Point).

Symptoms:

When connecting to the network from a Mac of version OSX 10.6.8,10.7.4 or 10.8.1 it didn’t work or it barely worked. Usually connection couldn’t even be established. Instead ending with a Connection reached maximum timeout message. Other times the connection established but lost all lot of pings and internet access usually didn’t work.  I tried all the usually mac troubleshooting issues that have been reported with Lion. recreated network zone, changed encryption methods. Updated OSX. Called Macsupport (big waste of time, they’re really homeuser oriented).   I setup a different AP of brand Zyxel but the issue persisted. It was all a big headach and really enforced my distaste for Macbooks overall.

Finally I turned my attention to the Cisco units and after som searching I found an issue that seemed but match mine.

Solution:

Disable the client load balancing on the Cisco AP. On this particular modell I had to disable the whole Aironet Extension to get rid of the function. When this change was made on all AP. The issue vanished without a trace. Why haven’t Apple or Cisco fixed this I wonder?

  1. />configure terminal
  2. />interface dot11radio 0 (or 1 for 5Ghz if n is used)
  3. /> not dot11 extension aironet
  4. /> end
  5. /> copy running-config startup-config

References:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/message/3612360#3612360 

https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-26228

http://www.macmaps.com/WIFI1048.html – all possible solutions to mac-wifi issues.

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