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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth Network
About once or twice a day, the strength indicator on my AirPort drops right down and eventually disconnects. Needless to say, this is pretty frustrating, but after four months, I have finally discovered the reason. It is because Bluetooth uses the same frequencies as 802.11, which opens up the possibility of packet collision. When this happens, Bluetooth is supposed to hop frequencies, and 802.11 is supposed to add a delay somewhere to compensate.

To fix, simply turn off Bluetooth, turn off AirPort, turn on AirPort, then turn on Bluetooth. This also usually fixes the reverse problem, where there is lag with a Bluetooth keyboard (and possibly mouse, but I've never used one).

I should add this is probably only a problem if Bluetooth is communicating continually. In my case, the problem is my keyboard. If you're just syncing your phone or something of that nature, then this will probably not affect you.
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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth | 19 comments | Create New Account
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Arrgghh, talk about timing!!
Authored by: TC!! on Aug 22, '05 11:09:53AM

This is the first hint I saw after getting my internet connection back.
I had moved my computer setup into another room but finally got fed up with losing my wireless signal and just finished moving it all back!
One question though, how do you turn bluetooth back on if you have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse? As the warning message tells me when i try to turn it off:
"You cannot control your computer if you turn Bluetooth off at this time as you would lose your input devices."



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Arrgghh, talk about timing!!
Authored by: tomofdarkness on Aug 22, '05 12:44:06PM

you could write a simple automator action or applescript to do things in order with a delay between each step... then you won't suffer when you lose control :)



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Nonsense, Wifi dosn't interfere with Bluetooth
Authored by: macubergeek on Aug 23, '05 05:49:27AM

Bluetooth does not interfere with wifi.
It's a frequency hopping technology designed to NOT interfere with existing frequencies.
With wifi, you stay on one channel (frequency) within the 2.4 GHz spectrum. With Bluetooth, your device hops frequencies 1600 times a second among 79 different frequencies. If there is a frequency collision(interference) then the connection is broken for less then a milisecond. Realisticly more than a dozen people can sit in the same room and use bluetooth without significant interference.



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Nonsense, Wifi dosn't interfere with Bluetooth
Authored by: gunkmail on Aug 25, '05 10:11:44AM

Unfortunatley you are wrong. While they do use different protocols as you suggested, the fact that they are in the same frequency range does cause interference. This would be like saying Microwaves and fridges do not cause Wi-Fi interference because they are not trying to ccommunicate the same way that the computer is. The amount of impact will depend on many other environmental factors but there will be some impact, whether or not you can notice it.

www.cwnp.com

That all being said, and since i do not use bluetooth i turned it off the first time i received one of these disconnects. It didn't fix the problem



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: Micah_Gideon on Aug 22, '05 11:19:20AM

This is probably what's going on with my usage of Salling Clicker. Maybe this'll get fixed in a Software Update...



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: wrycooter on Aug 22, '05 01:22:51PM

This is a general reminder to all those posting and reading 10.4 hints, regarding AirPort signal strength. It may not apply to the situation of this particular hint, but I see referals to it in the hints often enough (without my responding) that I think it should be said again (and possibly again).

With Tiger, the airport strength indicator in the menu bar, the pie wedge shaped radio wave beacon image, new and starting with Tiger, that icon no longer indicates SIGNAL STRENGTH.

Instead, and again this is an apparently undocumented, or underdocumented change with all versions of Tiger, this icon now indicates, BANDWIDTH usage, not signal strength.

If you are using some other meter to measure actual WiFi signal strength, you probably need not worry about this. But as far as I know, and I haven't seen it mentioned often, the Airport menu bar icon now indicates bandwidth, data throughput, not signal strength or quality. And if this is indeed so, (I have no reason to believe it is not true) it might render several tiger hints and disccusions of same in the macosxhints archive moot.

Would Bluetooth usage affect your Airport throughput? I suppose it might depend on the amount of data the CPU might have to handle in routing the data traffic.



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: mike666 on Aug 22, '05 01:38:04PM

Then why are all four bars active when I have no network activity? I think whomever gave you this info was yankin' yer chain...



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: Coumerelli on Aug 22, '05 02:05:54PM

I know what you're thinking, but just because at three in the morning and there's no one on the road doesn't mean that I-70 can't handle 8 lanes of traffic through ST. Louis. Your bandwith is still there, you're just not using it. When there's only one bar, you've lost the use of bandwith. Think of Bluetooth causing a multicar pileup in the middle of rush hour. yikes!

---
"The best way to accelerate a PC is 9.8 m/s2"



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: mike666 on Aug 22, '05 03:09:06PM
Ok, but Ser. Cooter specifically said it indicated bandwidth usage, not bandwidth availability. For that matter, signal strength and bandwidth availability have always meant pretty much the same thing on the user level - if your signal strength goes down, your ability to effectively use the bandwidth available at your connection rate will drop proportionately. And any drop in that bandwidth availablility is almost certainly going to be due to loss of signal. So the distinction is a subtle one at best if the indicator has indeed changed. I'd just be curious as to the source of the info about this change.

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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: MattHaffner on Aug 22, '05 03:22:22PM

i'm not a wireless expert, but it's likely that you may be able to transmit at maximum speed (bandwidth) for the protocol without having maximum signal. In addition, transmission speed may not be linear with signal below that point (I honestly have no clue on that one).

Realize that especially with the first point, it's a bit of a "marketing" change by Apple, and why there have been some complaints about it. The metal PB line in particular has been notoriously short-ranged compared to other Apple (and other vender) offerings. By making this change, there's likely (again, I don't know for sure) a band where you have lower than maximum signal, but you can still transmit at maximum throughput. In that band, you still get 4 bars, so that visually, you're happier, even though the ancient iBook next to your PB is actually getting better reception :)

To Apple's defense, bandwidth is what really matters in the end for most end users' application, so the change makes some good sense. Allowing for us to switch between the two (with non-Terminal-based, non-third-party quantitatives as well...) would have been nice though.



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: CoolerQ on Aug 22, '05 07:00:08PM

I'll describe how 802.11b works in regards to bandwidth. I don't know how 802.11g works, but I assume it works similarly.

Bandwidth is not related to the signal level per se, it's more related to the signal-to-noise ratio. With enough quality, 802.11b will transmit at 11 Mbps. As the SNR decreases, it will back down to 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, and finally 1 Mbps. These levels are what are represented by bars in the AirPort icon.

Hope this helps,
--Quentin



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: mmouse on Aug 22, '05 01:00:38PM

Consider filing this as a bug with Apple...

---
--mmouse



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: mmouse on Aug 22, '05 01:02:10PM

Ooops -- URL: http://www.apple.com/macosx/feedback/

If anyone has developer access, a bug report there would be great, too

---
--mmouse



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: boredzo on Aug 22, '05 03:28:34PM

had you tried changing channels on the AirPort connection? or wasn't that possible in your situation?



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: hzc on Nov 16, '07 07:01:41AM

I changed my Airport Extreme Base Station's wireless connection's channel from 8 to 11 and it seems to have worked. I am downloading three files at speeds of 50, 207 and 35 kB/s and so far my mouse isn't slowing down anymore.

I had tried Automatic for the channel and it chose 1, which wasn't working very well and did seem to detect that it needed to find a better channel, so I then went back to manual and chose 11.



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: sschaubach on Aug 24, '05 04:29:56AM

this is from http://www.bluetooth.org

"What are the coexistence issues between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology?

Any time devices are operated in the same frequency band, there is the potential for interference. The severity of this interference is a function of the system designs and the distance between devices. Since the strength of a radio signal varies approximately with the "inverse square" of the distance, a small increase in separation can reduce the level of interference significantly. Studies by a number of companies indicate that if the separation is more than 2 meters, in most cases there is no perceptible degradation transmitting data in either device. From two meters to about a half-meter, there is a graceful degradation. As the devices are brought in very close proximity and collocated, the degradation can be quite noticeable. Fortunately, this scenario only happens when the two systems are in the same device, and in those cases, Bluetooth hardware and Wi-Fi hardware can collaborate to dramatically improve performance."



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: Accura on Sep 02, '05 07:22:54AM

I don't have a blue tooth device to test with but i think if you enable "Interface Robustness" on yor airport connection you shouldn't have this problem.

---
"The time has come," the walrus said. "To talk of many things..."



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: mattyturner on Sep 03, '05 06:49:02PM

Oh believe me I tried that. What fixed my problem was selling my keyboard on ebay and getting a wired on instead. It's hardly happened since then.

To whoever thought that the frequency hopping of bluetooth doesn't affect 802.11 signals - http://www.ece.cmu.edu/wireless/papers/bt_80211inter.pdf

This would, to me, explain the lack of bluetooth keyboards, and to a lesser extent mice on the market. It's a pity that the wireless RF jazz can't be built into the computer case somehow (my mouse station thing has to be away from the computer).



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Restore wireless connection strength when using Bluetooth
Authored by: bugmenot on Oct 31, '07 07:21:08AM

Same problem over here and Leopard didn't solve this. I have the latest Apple keyboard (the flat one) and a Mighty Mouse. Every time when I download or upload something over the wireless connection the mouse slows down like hell and the keyboard drops out. It's impossible to use these and download something at the same time! Turning on and off is not my preferred way of working, anybody with a permanent solution?



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