How to Fix a Mac with WiFi Problems and Dropping Connection

Macs are notorious for dropping WiFi connection. If you have reset your router and attempted connection on another device, and your Mac is still refusing to go online, you know you are not alone. This article will cover adjusting packet size (this did it for me), resetting the PRAM and SMC, reconfiguring the DNS, changing location, and deleting and re-adding the WiFi configuration.

I first started having connection issues while running macOS Sierra’s public beta. Of course, start by restarting your Mac to see if this resolves the issues. Otherwise, try to reset the PRAM (Parameter Random-Access-Memory) / NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access-Memory) and the SMC (System Management Controller). These are the portions of your Mac that control basic operations critical for basic system function.

PRAM/NVRAM

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac to completely shut it off. Hard discs and fans need to stop spinning, and the screen needs to go dark.
  2. Power on your Mac.
  3. Immediately after you hear the startup sound, press and hold the “Command + Option + P + R” keys.
  4. Keep holding them down until you hear the start up sound again and see the Apple logo.
  5. Release the keys, and the PRAM/NVRAM will have been reset.

SMC

This process will vary heavily depending on whether or not your Mac is a desktop or laptop and if it has a removable battery or not. Apple covers this process quite heavily.

The following attempts at getting back online will all require you to begin with your Mac’s “Network Settings.” To get there:

1. Click on “System Preferences” from the dock, or click it from the top-left Apple logo’s drop-down menu.

2. Click “Network” from the newly-opened window.

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DNS stands for Domain Name Server, which essentially changes web addresses that we are able to read (e.g. www.google.com) to IP addresses that the server can understand. This acts as a “phone book” of sorts for the Internet. Sometimes your service provider’s given DNS will not work properly, in which case we can use safe and free publicly available DNS options like Google’s.

1. Click “Advanced.”

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2. Select “DNS” from the network settings.

3. Click the “+” icon.

4. Type 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 into the box and press Enter (these are Google’s DNS options).

5. Click “Okay.”

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Now try to surf the Web.

Are some pages loading just fine and others failing completely? This could have to do with the amount of packets that are able to be transmitted. In layman’s terms, this is the amount of data able to be transmitted over the network. We can adjust the value so that certain sites are able to load.

1. Click “Advanced.”

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2. Start by selecting “Hardware” in network settings.

3. Change the “Configure” setting from “Automatic” to “Manually.”

4. Change MTU from “Standard (1500)” to “Custom.”

5. Add the value “1453” into the box and press Enter. Click “Okay.”

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Try surfing the Web a bit to see if this was able to solve the issue.

Sometimes the automatic location determined by your Mac will not get settings 100% correct, in which case we can set up a custom location and settings that go along with it. This is where we can also renew a DHCP lease and IP address. DHCP is a protocol for arranging IP addresses, and changing that can make sure traffic is being directed accordingly. Now after all of that tech jargon, here is how to do it.

1. Again in network settings, click “Edit locations” from the drop-down menu where “Automatic” is currently selected.

2. Click the “+” icon and name this new “location.” You can name it literally anything you would like; the name itself does not affect anything. Press Enter and click “Done.”

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You will now notice that “no IP address” appears under WiFi on the left menu bar.

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3. Click “Advanced,” then “TCP/IP” from the menu bar.

4. Click “Renew DHCP Lease.” A new IP address will be assigned.

5. Click “Okay” and try to surf the Web.

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Hopefully one of these steps were able to get you online. If not, drop a comment below and let us know.

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