updated 09:00 pm EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Engineering, driver blamed for poor performance on 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Some users of the MacBook Air's June 2013 revision are experiencing Wi-Fi issues, and taking to the Apple community support forums to air their grievances. Issues reported by the users include dropped packets, inconsistent network connections, high latency, and low data transfer rates from the newly-refreshed 802.11ac connection.
The support thread, now at 131 pages, chronicles the new models' travails with wireless connectivity. While 802.11ac support is still technically a draft standard, Apple-made computers should work well with Apple-provided routers that support 802.11ac, but the make and model of router seems to not matter. Additionally, poor connections also manifest on other flavors of 802.11 routers, including previous models of Apple Airport base stations.
Briefly posted on the thread before removal by Apple monitors was a suggestion and a procedure to "roll back" the computer's driver to a previous version. Some users reported limited success with the procedure, but Apple has yet to address the issue with users formally.
During MacNN's testing of the new Apple Time Capsule, we experienced some of the same wireless connectivity issues that have been discussed in the support thread. In our case, the update to OS X 10.9.1 fixed all the issues we were having. Earlier posts in the support thread saw the same improvement for some users, but not all.
MacNN spoke to an Apple support employee who claims that a fix for "any reported Wi-Fi connectivity issue not related to hardware failure" is forthcoming, but declined to give any timeline. Consultant Jeff Geerling of Midwestern Mac claims that he has it "on pretty good authority that Mac OS X 10.9.2 (to be released any day now) will fix at least the latency issue -- and possibly the dropped connections as well," adding "we'll see."