Problems with AirPort and waking from sleep

It’s not been a good couple of months for my work iMac. After the recent green pixels and dying hard drive issues, my iMac’s AirPort card has been looking distinctly dodgy over the last few weeks.

Basically it’s OK once it’s up and running, but the problems start when waking the iMac from sleep. 2 out of 3 times it’s fine, but at other times, the AirPort icon shows that the AirPort is off after the Mac wakes up:

Any attempts to turn the AirPort back on, either from the menu bar or in Network Preferences, fail. There’s no error dialog, but the AirPort stays off.

I think it also happened once even after power cycling the Mac. It fixed itself on the boot after that.

The AirPort card shows up fine in System Profiler.

These are some of the errors I see in /var/log/system.log when waking from sleep or manually trying to restart the AirPort:

Aug 11 06:50:16 lisa airportd[219]: Error: process_command_dict() failed
Aug 15 07:32:19 lisa System Preferences[18080]: Error: airportd MIG failed
 = 1 ((os/kern) invalid address)  (port = 32883)
Aug 24 06:56:50 lisa SystemUIServer[153]: Error: airportd MIG failed = 1
 ((os/kern) invalid address)  (port = 78111)
Sep  8 08:28:42 lisa airportd[22011]: Error: process_userpower_event()
 Apple80211SetPower err = -4
Sep  8 08:28:42 lisa airportd[22011]: Error: process_command_dict() failed
Sep  9 08:05:12 lisa System Preferences[1519]: Error: airportd MIG failed
 = 1 ((os/kern) invalid address) (port = 42671)
Sep 11 02:01:03 lisa kernel[0]: System Sleep
Sep 11 09:00:53 lisa kernel[0]: System Wake
Sep 11 09:00:54 lisa kernel[0]: no card!
Sep 11 09:00:54: --- last message repeated 1 time ---
Sep 11 09:03:02 lisa kernel[0]: no card!
Sep 11 09:03:02 lisa airportd[14193]: Error: process_userpower_event()
 Apple80211SetPower err = -4
Sep 11 09:03:02 lisa airportd[14193]: Error: process_command_dict() failed

The problem seems to have started since the Apple engineer replaced the logic board to fix the green pixels issue (though I assume the AirPort card is separate from the logic board in these things? Flip knows) but it could just be a coincidence. I really hope it’s a software, not a hardware, problem.

It also seemed to start happening at around the time I installed the demo of Awaken. Awaken installs an AwakenHelper daemon that appears to do something when the iMac starts up and shuts down:

Sep 11 09:02:43 lisa com.embraceware.awaken[14097]: Thu Sep 11 09:02:43
 lisa com.embraceware.awaken[14097] <Info>: Shutting down

I’ve now uninstalled Awaken and AwakenHelper (which wasn’t the easiest thing to remove!) and I’ll see if that fixes the problem. If not then it’s another call to AppleCare I guess.

Hmm. Anyone else seen this happen?

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37 Responses to “Problems with AirPort and waking from sleep”

  1. Peter Says:

    Weird – I’ve just started having the same sort of problem, including similar (not sure if they are exactly the same) error messages in the console. It always happens after an overnight sleep. Switching the airport or iMac off then on again usually fixes it. I haven’t installed anything much recently except the latest Leopard updates. This has happened 2 or 3 times in the last 2 days.

  2. Matt Says:

    @Peter, thanks for your comment. When you say “Switching the airport… off then on again usually fixes it”, do you mean your iMac’s AirPort, or your AirPort router? Because, as I say, I can never turn my iMac’s AirPort back on – I have to restart the iMac in order to get it to work again.

    If restarting your AirPort router fixes the problem then that’s interesting to hear.

  3. Ben Says:

    I have the same issue. After wake from sleep Airport won’t turn on without restart. No error; just no response to commands to turn on…

  4. Matt Says:

    Ben, that’s interesting. Do you get the same system.log errors?

    Since upgrading to 10.5.5 I haven’t seen the problem – but then again I hardly dare sleep the Mac these days! :-/

  5. Meg Says:

    I have a problem with Airport being nonresponsive after sleep. I have to turn the airport off and on a few times to get it to work again. Now it’s getting worse. I guess I’ll have to call Apple, though I think I’d rather jab a stick in my eye than deal with a phone tree.

  6. Matt Says:

    @Meg: Sounds very similar to my AirPort issue. Please let us know if you managed to resolve it with Apple’s help!

  7. Matt (different matt) Says:

    I have the exact problem as described in this blog.

    I suspect 2 things.

    1) Parallels
    2) Huwaie 3G expresscard.

    Anyone else have these as common denominators?

  8. Kevin Says:

    I have the same problem and do not have Parallels (or VM Ware) installed. I’m assuming it broke in 10.5.5. Turning the airport off then on again fixes it for me as well.

  9. Dave Says:

    I have a the same problem, but have to go through system preferences to turn it off/on as the drop-down boxes for all my icons on the top right desktop bar are ‘greyed out’. Sometimes turning airport off/on works, and other times network diagnostics tells me to turn the router off/on (not really possible in a large shared network area!).


  10. Matt Says:

    @Matt: Hmm, interesting. I do have Parallels though I’m not sure I always have it running at the time. I don’t have the card you mention.

  11. Matt Says:

    @Kevin: I had this problem with 10.5.4 as well as 10.5.5. Though I suspect 10.5.5 has actually improved it a bit. It might be a different problem though – I have to reboot my mac to get the airport working again.

  12. Matt Says:

    @Dave: I wish I could help! Do you get the same error log messages that I do?

  13. Julie Says:

    I am having the same problem and note it started happening right after using Parallels online wirelessly with Airport. Now I can’t even turn Airport ON even after full reboot and not having Parallels on.

  14. Ron Says:

    I recently upgraded to 10.5.5. When I switch network location to Airport, Airport is OFF by default. I then turn Airport on, either from the menu bar or within System Prefs > Network. But then if I switch to another network location and then back to Airport, Airport is OFF again. Even happens if I lock the settings in Network prefs. C’mon Apple, if I wanted such bugs and hassles I’d use WindHose.

  15. Peter Says:

    I’ve seen a similar problem on my wife’s MacBook. Having a lot of trouble seeing the Linksys wireless router–can see it, but can’t connect. I suspect Parallels as I installed and upgraded it before the problem started happening. A wired connection works fine.

  16. Matt Says:

    @Peter: That sounds like an unrelated problem. With the issue I’m describing, the AirPort card simply won’t turn back on at all. At least your card is on and you can see your router.

  17. Robert Says:

    I just had this problem of my airport turned off and whatever I do I can’t turn it on. I tried restarting my macbook pro 3x then the airport status indicated No Airport Card Installed from airport turned off.

  18. carlos Says:

    i have the same problem as Robert. one day as i couldn’t connect to my wireless network, after a reboot the airport status has a “No airport card installed”. i have uipgraded to 10.5.6 and it’s the same. is there a way to know if it is a hardware or software problem?

  19. Matt Says:

    @Robert and @carlos: Do you see the card in Applications > Utilities > System Profiler > Network > AirPort Card?

  20. carlos Says:

    @Matt: nope, just “no information found”. i think it’s a hardware problem.

  21. Matt Says:

    @carlos: Yes that does sound like a problem with the AirPort card, or possibly the Mac. You could try running a hardware test maybe?

  22. Kevin Says:

    I have the same thing going on with my wife’s mini mac. It’s been funky for a few months now. When waking from sleep mode, the airport connection is lost and cannot be reestablished without a restart and a diagnostic check of the network. It’s not a hardware problem (or else the antenna wouldn’t work all the time and there would never be a connection). This seems more a software snafu caused from an update with “unanticipated consequences.” Too bad for quality control and beta testing. Reminds me of Windows (in the worst of ways).

  23. danielle Says:

    i have the same issue. the imac is BRAND NEW. just out of the box. i want them to take it back. to me that’s a big defect and VERY annoying. so far i’ve put way too much time into unsuccessfully trying to fix an issue i shouldn’t have to deal in the first place.

  24. Eddy Says:

    I have the same problem. But I just restart it and it’s fine. It happened just today. I use a macbook Pro.

  25. everysandwich Says:

    Same problem here running 10.5.7. After sleep it won’t conect to the network, but it will after a restart. No parallels and no clue why it started. I found a mac thread with the suggestion to move some sysem prefs and a plist to trash and restart. That seemed to help — for about a day. Now it’s back at it. Seems chronic from what I’ve been reading.

  26. Matt Says:

    @everysandwich: Yeah I called Apple support and they got me to trash my prefs, zap the pram etc – still didn’t fix the problem. 🙁

  27. Karin Says:

    Same issue on 2 mac books here. Do have parallels installed (don’t use it though), and indeed work with huawei mobile connect card. OS: OX 10.5.4. Cannot turn airport on, not via preferences. For 10.5.5. there is an update for Airport available.. which indeed cannot be installed with 10.5.4.. so 🙁 I have to throw away 2 great macs?…

  28. jrobgood Says:

    Me too. I suspect it’s hardware related. My 17″ MPB did this last year, Genius Bar replaced the mobo and it was fine for a year. Last week, the left fan broke and they replaced it. Lo and behold, now Airport is exhibiting the exact same issues as last year. Thinking they bumped and unseated the card!

  29. Simone Says:

    I had the issue of the Airport not turning on after the Macbook Pro froze and had to do a hard restart.

    Restarting a few times didn’t solve it. At times the airport was giving the message that the card was not installed.

    For me the issue was solved by repairing the disk permissions and doing a PRAM reset.

    Hope this helps!

  30. Matt Says:

    @Simone: Thanks for your suggestion – I’m glad it worked for you! However I’ve tried both of these in the past – no joy. I’m pretty sure my problem is down to a dodgy AirPort Card; however since I hardly ever sleep the Mac these days I tend not to worry about it any more!

  31. Anthony Says:

    @matt I have the same problem on my mac book. I just open the top on my macbook and the airport will function for maybe a moment or two, then it just stops functioning. I try to turn the airport back on, but its nonresponsive. I check the system preferences and it says that the card is still active, it just wont switch on…

  32. Matt Says:

    @Anthony: Sounds similar. I take it it’s OK after a reboot?

  33. andy Says:

    Hi folks, I’m in the same boat – what’s more, the original poster wrote “after replacing the logicboard” – well, I have THE SAME situation; my MBP never ever did that and now, after the new logicboard is inside, it keeps “Airport: OFF” after waking up and I have to reboot hard, nothing helps. In the system log, there is a “device power is off” :-(. No idea.. I switched to Mac to live in peace at home and now this..

  34. Matt Says:

    @andy: Sounds like the airport card is dodgy. Can you get it replaced under warranty?

  35. andy Says:

    I went to Apple – they told me they can’t reproduce this.. As I’m running under PGP didn’t want to give my boot password, they’ve tested with their own external installation. The problem is, this issue happens only SOMETIMES and I can’t figure out, when and why – as I was in the Apple store, it made it once there – and after a fresh reboot, not again. Then, at home, a week later, it worked a few days. Now today it made it again. Sucks, I’m about to change my mind and get the next time a Windoze7 machine, as the only reason I switched at home to Mac was to live in peace. Now, there is no more peace for me, I’ve spend too much hours with this. Under Windoze, I could reinstall something, throw away something.. – under Mac, I can only travel to Apple store and return with no success. Black box engineering, I’m pretty unhappy with my Mac the last month.

  36. Ray Says:

    This is what I found on Apple’s website

  37. Matt Says:

    @Ray: Interesting, thanks! So basically remove and re-add any WPA2 networks. (The Snow Leopard equivalent would be to click Advanced, then remove the WPA2 networks from the list and re-add them.)