Trying not to make rotten Apple puns
January 12, 2010 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Internet browsing(wifi) painfully slow on a refurbished Macbook Pro. Similar refurbished Macbook Pro(same specs) seems to work just fine.

I've spent an hour with Apple support over the phone. After twiddling with everything, they recommended I reinstall Snow Leopard. I have done so and everything is updated to the hilt. The problem stays.

It is the same across different browsers, all updated as well. Interestingly, I find that actual download speeds do not seem affected. Downloading files from http servers and bittorrent give expected speeds. Watching a 10 minute youtube video, on the other hand, is an exercise in self inflicted misery, when the video stalls loading less than a quarter of the way through.

Further, I find that if I stimulate network activity(through a download in parallel or an infinite ping) the speed does not seem to be that bad.

The signal bar always remains full. And this issue remains even when I physically sit next to the wifi router.

The other laptop shows exemplary performance in every case. Also, I was told by a contact on skype that video through the other laptop seemed to be better than my new one. Could this refurbished laptop be a bad Apple?

I've trawled around the web for an answer and couldn't get one. People have similar problems but none with the apparent symptoms of mine So my question is: Is this issue known or faced by any of the hive mind? Is there something I can do, short of walking into an Apple store and asking them to hand me another one?

posted by prufrock to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
"It is the same across different browsers, all updated as well. "

Is it the same across different user accounts? Create a new account on that system and see if that user has the same problem. If it does not, you've narrowed down the source of your issue considerably.
posted by majick at 11:58 AM on January 12, 2010

I ran into something similar with my first gen MBP a couple of months ago and ended up having to replace the wifi card (which wasn't too bad about $180). According to the tech guys I took it to (out of Apple warranty) this was a fairly common occurrence. The other thing that may be failing is the antenna which I believe is actually in the hinge.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2010

Changing your DNS settings to Google's public DNS servers ( and, in that order) will rule that out as a first step. I'd also follow majick's advice and make a new user and see if the problem follows you — also, try adding a new location in System Preferences —> Network, hitting apply and seeing if that helps. Otherwise, since you've done a reinstall and another similar machine works on the same network, the signs start to point towards hardware. Maybe you've installed some firewall or network-related software without realising?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2010

Nthing bitdamaged. That happened to me while I was still under Apple Care.
posted by jgirl at 12:47 PM on January 12, 2010

Does this happen over copper? You use connection sharing on the good laptop to share its connection over copper then plug the bad apple into that to see. I'd guess a bum wifi card or perhaps a badly seated wifi card or antenna.
posted by chairface at 2:01 PM on January 12, 2010

Is it the same across different user accounts?

Yes it is exactly the same over different user accounts.

I've tried changing DNS servers and that did not seem to solve the problem.

I do not seem to have the problem over copper. My gut reaction is also a badly seated or a bum wifi card. I got this laptop a couple of days ago so I assume Apple will take care of the problem if I bring it up to them, right? Could network trouble translate into poor picture quality in Skype? I do not mean stuttering frames, but bad frames in themselves.

I guess I'm trying to see if I can get a different unit from Apple since I do not know what else might be lurking in the non-stellar hardware mire.

Thanks for the responses. They seem to have confirmed some of my suspicions.
posted by prufrock at 2:27 PM on January 12, 2010

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