Apple Airport Extreme 3% Packet Loss

I’m posting this quick note to bring light to a common thread I’m seeing with Apple’s Airport Extreme base stations. My ThinkPad T400 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter III has a consistent 3% packet loss while communicating using 802.11G wireless.

I’ve tested from other devices in my house (iPhone, HP laptop with 802.11a/b/g/n, and a MacBook with 802.11n) and have not seen any packet loss. It goes without saying I have full strength signal with a LoS connection to the base station. I’ve checked and scanned the other wifi users in my neighborhood and modified my channel settings to occupy the least occupied frequencies.

This problem is consistent with this base station and I think it boils down to the specific way WPA (1 & 2) are handled between my wireless card and drivers and the Airport base station’s software.

Others on the Apple forum have described the root cause could be local interference… but I’m not going to give up and run Ethernet to everything.

I have no answer or fix yet, but if you have feedback or suggestions please add to the conversation on Apple’s forums here, or make a comment on this blog post.

-update 9-6-2011

I’ve given up on Apple supporting this issue. I’ve replaced the Airport with a Linksys E4300 access point. Not a problem to be had.

-update 4-5-2012

With the addition of two more MacBooks to my house, I’ve decided to revive the APE and give it a go to at least offer file and printer sharing for our Macs. I installed it in the entertainment center so that the TV, Xbox, and Sat box could also be wired to the Gig E switch and get off my wireless. So far it appears that the Airport is working flawlessly with MacBooks and our wireless TVs that stream Netflix.

A recent firmware update may have helped, but I couldn’t test with the T400 – it’s been retired.

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