Wireless Woes: MBP Unable to Connect to Actiontec

I have an almost brand new Apple Macintosh MacBook Pro (MBP) (15-inch). It’s one rev back from the mercury-less model.

My home Wi-Fi connection is via Qwest DSL and an Actiontec GT701-wg DSL gateway. Qwest sold me the Actiontec and that they still support it. My MBP connected with no problem initially. In fact, it could pickup a signal from the gateway where no signals had been picked up before in my home.

Then I added Apple’s last two updates: Security Update 2007-006 (from June 22) and the OS X 10.4.10. The MBP will no longer connect to the Actiontec. I can see the SSID but get an “Error in joining blah network…” message every time.

From googling the issue, I think it’s a 10.4.10 problem.

I also have an older 12-inch Powerbook (aluminum) and it has not had any issues and has been able to connect to the Actiontec with no problem.

My MBP can still connect to some Wi-Fi networks including the one at the University of Minnesota and via the US Internet municipal Wi-Fi system in Minneapolis.

A. Brody has an excellent FAQ for troubleshooting Wi-Fi connection problems with current Macs. So if you’re having problems like this, start there.

None of A Brody’s solutions helped me. I called Apple and the support person said it’s a problem with the gateway not the Mac and there were no known issues relating to the latest updates. I mentioned that there was a buzz in the Apple discussion area as well as on the Internet to which he responded that people will write anything they want and their discussion boards are user-to-user. Thanks, Apple.

Potential solution 1: I have been running my system without any encryption and some people have found that adding WPA encryption solves the problem (WPA is recommended over WEP). I’m going to try that next.

Potential solution 2: Wipe the drive and reinstall the system. Don’t use the migration tool if you are migrating from an non-intell Mac because you could bring over incompatible settings. And don’t update to 10.4.10. I really don’t want to do this.

Today I called Qwest and talked to a DSL support guy named Steve. He said that he had a few calls last week on this issue and he was very appreciative of the testing and research I had done. He put me on hold and called Actiontec. (Actiontec charges $29.95 per incident if I call.) They said that yes, there is a problem with 802.11n Apple wireless cards. I don’t know if they have linked anything specifically to the 10.4.10 update or not. They are working on it. They are hoping that Apple is working on it or will tell them more of what they are doing so they can make their Gateways compatible.

Thanks, Qwest. Apple could learn a bit about tech support from you.

I’ll update with any resolutions or new information. If you know anything, please comment.

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