MacBook wireless networking problems in the Czech Republic
November 17, 2008 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I have been living in a small university town outside Prague in the Czech Republic since the summer. I am using my 2006 Apple MacBook MA254LL/A (running 10.5.5) to connect to the internet. However, I have experienced a lot of problems connecting to free wireless internet hotspots. My laptop takes a while to locate the network by scanning, and then either asks for a password or tells me the network is unavailable. I know that my Airport works fine elsewhere, and that the connection usually happens automatically. I will ask one of the workers at the store if there is a password, and the answer is always no. Moreover, I see PC users connecting to the internet without a problem. Does anyone know what the issue is with wireless networking on a Mac in the Czech Republic? [I would post this question to the Apple support forums, but it appears that their new accounts system is down]
posted by cardamom to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I've seen this problem too and, unfortunately, don't have an answer. I recommend also looking at the support forums at, eg like this one (though unfortunately there's no answer, there, either).
posted by troy at 10:31 AM on November 17, 2008

link is thwackered. Here's the breadcrumbs: > Support > Discussions > MacBook (Original) > Internet, and Networking the MacBook

Searching for terms like 'coffee shop' will find discussions.
posted by troy at 10:34 AM on November 17, 2008

If you are using a US MacBook, it may be that the Wifi point is using one the European WiFi bands (see here for details). I don't think there is any way to change this setting, though. I'd say it sounds more like it is just getting a weak signal and isn't able to do the handshake properly to connect.

Or it may be that the wireless networks are bogus ones designed to sucker you into connecting.
posted by baggers at 10:51 AM on November 17, 2008

Seconding baggers - the US regulations for WiFi limit the radio to (IIRC) 11 out of 14 possible channels. Other countries allow for all 14 to be in use. If your computer is only looking at 1 - 11, it's going to entirely miss access points on 12 - 14.
posted by zippy at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2008

I have seen a few wireless routers that only played really well with Macs after a firmware update. This could also be your problem (Linksyses are notorious, but not unique to this problem.)

Most routers should be updated anyway when you get one.
posted by KimG at 3:39 PM on November 17, 2008

Response by poster: I want to thank everyone for your insightful bits of information. It is nice to have at least some idea of what the problems could be (the channel information is particularly interesting. I know it would have taken me a long time to figure that out!). If I find out the exact problem, I will be sure to post the solution.
posted by cardamom at 6:39 AM on November 24, 2008

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