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49 posts

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Topic # 58740 18-Mar-2010 10:35
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Hi everyone, I need some help

I work at a school as the ICT person. We have 2 Digital mac class rooms right next to each other. I have only ever used a mac here

Room A has 16 Macs that all hate me.
Room B has 17 and loves me. They are fine. They have no issues. I want Room A to be just like Room B.

All of the Macs have deepfreeze running on them (using an image set up by an external company who does the stuff I can't figure out) and they all have the same image on them. They also all connect wirelessly. they are connected to like this (the rooms are in a line)

(5xPC's) Room C (AP) | (16xMac's) Room A (uses room C's) | (16xMac's) Room B (AP) | (10xPC's)Room D (uses room B's)

What they do: some always wont find the wireless (with DF on or off) and always promt for the wireless password at log on, some appear connected, but then take forever to load pages, but more often then not will just get to a 'could not connect to (HTTP) Proxy' page. We use schoolzone here, and I have checked the proxy settings, it is configured correctly, and plus it does sometimes load pages. One never gets on the internet ever.

Room A computers were in another room last year and played up with the wireless and i put it down to the router being dumb. But they were moved this year so that cant be it. I got a EIT classmate of mine who is much more Mac then me, and he looked in logs and couldnt find anything. We tried turning off Room C's AP to make it use the same one as the good room, didnt work.

Interesting point: The teachers macbook works fine. my friends macbook goes fine. my windows laptop works fine. but when all the computers are going, they all start to exibit the same wireless on off symptoms. We had the idea that maybe one Mac was somehow messing with the rest of them.
So thismorning I tried doing them one at a time. Teachers laptop fine. first mac i turned on played up, so did 2 3 4 and 5, all turned on by themselves. Teachers laptop keep working throughout this little test (set up two pages redirecting to each other to test a constant connection)

I can post system specs later (have not got them infront of me right now) but if anyone has any ballpark ideas as to what the heck might be going on, I would really appreciate it. They are driving me crazy!

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  Reply # 308653 18-Mar-2010 10:42
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It might be an easy fix, or it could be fiendisly difficult.

Can you post some more details of the physical setup,

What channels are the APs using? is it automatic or manually set? what spec is being used, BG or N? What brand are the APs, Are both APs set up identically?

Also what other devices are around that are in the same bands as the APs that might be impacting on the lan you are having trouble with.

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  Reply # 308659 18-Mar-2010 10:52
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Quick fix, ditch the mac's, get a PC :-)



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  Reply # 308674 18-Mar-2010 11:18
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Our school is all wireless, and all the AP's at the school use different channel.

Encrytion is WPA-Personal PSK
The two closes AP's are both dual channel D-Link DWL-8200AP
Room C: B/G = 6, A = 153
Room B: B/G = 12, A = 64 

These were already set up before I got here, Code Blue (our external help) set them up.

I don't know of any other devices in the same band, but this group of computers was having the exact same problem when they were on the other side of the school. Its the only group in the entire school that do this to me. 

Quick fix, ditch the mac's, get a PC :-)


We like to offer the kids some experience on different set ups. The school is predominatly a window school, but we also have 2 Mac Digital classrooms.

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  Reply # 308715 18-Mar-2010 12:49
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What type of Macs are they, and what version of the OS are they running? (i.e. 10.6.2 being the newest)

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  Reply # 308723 18-Mar-2010 13:03
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To try and pinpoint the issue.
Is it possible to take a mac or two from the toublesome room, and move it to the room that is fine (that I assume has a different wireless AP)?

If it doesn't connect and the issue remains, its most probably the computer. If it does connect fine, the issue is most probably the AP in the troublesome room.



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  Reply # 308725 18-Mar-2010 13:07
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According to System Profiler they are iMac5,1 which according to everymac.com is one of these

OS is MacOS 10.5.7

When I was in the System Profiler on one of the suspect macs, I looked at Network>Airport Card and saw that 'Wireless Channel: 153' meaning its trying to use  802.11A?  I know this can easily be absorbed by walls, since the AP is in the next classroom, can I force the mac to use 802.11B/G instead? (I have no idea where i would find this inside a mac)


The PC's on the same AP are fine, and the PC's that were in Room A last year worked fine, I shall a swap tomorrow of 2 computers from each mac room and see how they behave.

Depending on how that turns out I may find a portable hard drive and clone one of the 'good' macs and reimage one of the 'bad' macs with it.

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  Reply # 308726 18-Mar-2010 13:13
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Perhaps try to completely remote the wifi connection from one of the troubled Macs, by going into the System Preferences, Network, Airport, Advanced. Under Preferred Networks highlight and remove your school's wifi network. Confirm the changes and then go back to the desktop, turn Airport off and on again and then when it scans for the new networks, select your correct one and enter the details accordingly.

Failing that you can try to remove the connection again (if it was recreated) and then in your Airport drop down menu on the menubar (assuming you have that active), choose Join Another Network. In here you can manually enter all of the network details such as SSID, Security Type and so forth.

You may also like to get up to date with the update 10.5.8 which was the last revision before Snow Leopard.  You can get that from here:
http://support.apple.com/kb/DL866.  Again I'd test it on one of the Mac's first, and perhaps contact your third party supplier to make sure their specific applications (if any) are compatible with it.

Let us know how you get on.

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  Reply # 308772 18-Mar-2010 14:35
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gehenna: Perhaps try to completely remote the wifi connection from one of the troubled Macs, by going into the System Preferences, Network, Airport, Advanced. Under Preferred Networks highlight and remove your school's wifi network. Confirm the changes and then go back to the desktop, turn Airport off and on again and then when it scans for the new networks, select your correct one and enter the details accordingly.

Failing that you can try to remove the connection again (if it was recreated) and then in your Airport drop down menu on the menubar (assuming you have that active), choose Join Another Network. In here you can manually enter all of the network details such as SSID, Security Type and so forth.

You may also like to get up to date with the update 10.5.8 which was the last revision before Snow Leopard.  You can get that from here:
http://support.apple.com/kb/DL866.  Again I'd test it on one of the Mac's first, and perhaps contact your third party supplier to make sure their specific applications (if any) are compatible with it.

Let us know how you get on.


As the OP stated, all macs are running deepfreeze. As far as I understand, any changes to preferences, would be lost next time it reboots, unless the changes are made to the image (which the OP has stated is out of her control and handled by a third party).

I also assume that updating to 10.5.8 would also be something that would need to be done on the image, rather than indivudal machines (although you should be able to test it on one machine, as long as you are fine with losing all changes once you reboot). 

If they are all running the same set up from the same image, as posted, my gut would tell me that the one thing that is wrong is the one thing that is different - the access point.

Moving a 'bad' machine to a 'good' room to test would easily confirm or eliminate this. Only once you are 100% sure that it is the machines should you be messing around with updates, settings and of course, the deepfreeze image.

(Disclaimer, I am software guy, not hardware, and am frequently wrong). 



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  Reply # 308778 18-Mar-2010 14:48
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patatrat:

As the OP stated, all macs are running deepfreeze. As far as I understand, any changes to preferences, would be lost next time it reboots, unless the changes are made to the image (which the OP has stated is out of her control and handled by a third party).

I also assume that updating to 10.5.8 would also be something that would need to be done on the image, rather than indivudal machines (although you should be able to test it on one machine, as long as you are fine with losing all changes once you reboot). 

If they are all running the same set up from the same image, as posted, my gut would tell me that the one thing that is wrong is the one thing that is different - the access point.

Moving a 'bad' machine to a 'good' room to test would easily confirm or eliminate this. Only once you are 100% sure that it is the machines should you be messing around with updates, settings and of course, the deepfreeze image.

(Disclaimer, I am software guy, not hardware, and am frequently wrong). 


I have all the passwords for DF so i can unfreeze it to make changes. Code Blue made the original image, I have changed it before.

I am so tempted to blame the access point, but the fact that they behaved the same last year in a different room with a different AP makes me think not. It was one of those things i was hoping it was going to magicly fix itself when they moved the things.

I dont have the original image anymore (this went back to codeblue with their portable hard drives) but i know how to make one from an existing machine.

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  Reply # 308791 18-Mar-2010 15:18
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On your AP, try disabling WMM in the Advanced Wireless Settings. I had a similar problem to you on another D-Link AP a while ago where a number of Mac's and iPhones couldn't connect to the AP with this enabled, even though other seemingly identical Mac's and iPhones could. Windows PC's seemed to have no problem.

Either way, disable it and test the connection, it if still doesn't work just enable it again.

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  Reply # 309004 19-Mar-2010 08:54
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Hi, what are the AP's, ie brand/model

Edit, just read above sorry


When they are connected what type of signal strength are they (clients that is) reporting.

Cyril



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  Reply # 309008 19-Mar-2010 08:59
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Well, removing the wireless then re-adding it didnt work.

I have just switched two 'bad' macs in Room A for two 'good' macs in Room B.

Initial test with no other computers on: good macs still working in bad room. bad macs seemed to be working after reminding one of them what the password was (it looses it all the time even when its not frozen) and the other seemed okish after a little while, but still kinda slow.

Have to wait for the kids to test em out, and will report back, thanks for all the advice so far everyone :)

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  Reply # 309010 19-Mar-2010 09:01
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Are all the macs carrying the same WiFi hardware, and probably more important firmware. I am assuming OS software is not an issue if all are taking the same image.

Cyril



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  Reply # 309011 19-Mar-2010 09:04
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all the macs are the same except for 2 newer ones in the good room. as far as i know they all have the same hardware, but i will check

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  Reply # 311445 25-Mar-2010 21:31
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is your router allocating enough IP's? I smell router issues... not one to blame a mac :)




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