Networking – Wi-Fi stops working every 10 minutes on Mac OS X

dnsmodemnetworkingrouterwireless-networking

Every 10-15 minutes, my Internet connection fails in the following manner:

  • Cannot load websites
  • Cannot connect to Dropbox
  • Cannot connect to IRC
  • Skype still works
  • Slack still works
  • Still able to connect to my router and modem

After much searching, I believe this is a DNS issue. I have tried using both my ISP's DNS servers and Google's DNS servers, but the issue remains.

When I disconnect from my Wi-Fi network and reconnect, the issue goes away and everything works for another 10-15 minutes.

Here is some output from a few ping tests when the issue appears:

# ping 8.8.8.8 (Google's DNS server, becomes unreachable)

64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11589 ttl=41 time=61.719 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11590 ttl=41 time=61.869 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11591 ttl=41 time=60.212 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11592 ttl=41 time=60.332 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11593 ttl=41 time=65.169 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11594 ttl=41 time=61.890 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11595 ttl=41 time=59.746 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11596 ttl=41 time=60.221 ms
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11602
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11603
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11604
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11605
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11606
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11607
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11608
Request timeout for icmp_seq 11609

# ping 203.144.206.49 (ISP's DNS server, automatically configured, becomes unreachable)

64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1418 ttl=249 time=27.160 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1419 ttl=249 time=23.846 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1420 ttl=249 time=25.674 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1421 ttl=249 time=25.712 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1422 ttl=249 time=25.169 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1423 ttl=249 time=24.310 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1424 ttl=249 time=26.983 ms
64 bytes from 203.144.206.49: icmp_seq=1425 ttl=249 time=26.477 ms
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1428
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1429
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1430
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1431
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1432
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1433
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1434
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1435

# ping 192.168.1.1 (modem, remains reachable)

64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1760 ttl=64 time=1.571 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1761 ttl=64 time=1.414 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1762 ttl=64 time=1.421 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1763 ttl=64 time=1.439 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1764 ttl=64 time=1.600 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1765 ttl=64 time=2.117 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1766 ttl=64 time=1.354 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1767 ttl=64 time=1.395 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1768 ttl=64 time=1.492 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1769 ttl=64 time=1.326 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1770 ttl=64 time=1.641 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1771 ttl=64 time=1.428 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1772 ttl=64 time=1.459 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1773 ttl=64 time=1.517 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1774 ttl=64 time=1.429 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.1: icmp_seq=1775 ttl=64 time=2.007 ms

And here is a traceroute both when the connection works and when it does not:

# traceroute 8.8.8.8 (connection is working)

traceroute to 8.8.8.8 (8.8.8.8), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
 1  192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)  1.314 ms  3.256 ms  1.089 ms
 2  cm-134-196-10-1.revip18.asianet.co.th (134.196.10.1)  9.022 ms  9.922 ms  9.988 ms
 3  10.92.249.49 (10.92.249.49)  23.733 ms  16.544 ms  17.930 ms
 4  203-144-128-34.static.asianet.co.th (203.144.128.34)  23.399 ms  22.948 ms  23.950 ms
 5  203-144-128-33.static.asianet.co.th (203.144.128.33)  23.067 ms
    203-144-128-29.static.asianet.co.th (203.144.128.29)  25.810 ms
    203-144-128-33.static.asianet.co.th (203.144.128.33)  23.437 ms
 6  61-91-213-177.static.asianet.co.th (61.91.213.177)  25.623 ms  23.378 ms  24.319 ms
 7  61-91-213-35.static.asianet.co.th (61.91.213.35)  26.058 ms  26.429 ms  31.222 ms
 8  61-91-213-81.static.asianet.co.th (61.91.213.81)  25.335 ms  25.126 ms  23.935 ms
 9  tig-net25-61.trueintergateway.com (122.144.25.61)  24.232 ms
    tig-net25-105.trueintergateway.com (122.144.25.105)  27.276 ms
    tig-net25-209.trueintergateway.com (122.144.25.209)  28.039 ms
10  72.14.195.115 (72.14.195.115)  49.303 ms  49.605 ms  50.321 ms
11  209.85.242.240 (209.85.242.240)  49.322 ms  50.768 ms  49.716 ms
12  209.85.242.242 (209.85.242.242)  58.872 ms  60.480 ms
    209.85.242.232 (209.85.242.232)  67.498 ms
13  209.85.246.23 (209.85.246.23)  62.638 ms
    209.85.248.25 (209.85.248.25)  60.055 ms  60.914 ms
14  * * *
15  google-public-dns-a.google.com (8.8.8.8)  61.586 ms  60.368 ms  61.882 ms

# traceroute 8.8.8.8 (connection is NOT working)

traceroute to 8.8.8.8 (8.8.8.8), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
 1  * * *
 2  * * *
 3  * * *
 4  * * *
 5  * * *
 (it goes on like this until the connection kicks in again)

Any ideas how to solve this issue?

Best Answer

Solution (May 24, 2015)

The unstable connection turned out to be a problem with Mac OS X Yosemite and is apparently a common thing. There are numerous potential solutions to this problem posted all over the internet, but the one that worked for me was found in this Apple discussion thread.

Solution

Move your /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration folder to your Desktop (so you have a backup) and reboot. OS X will regenerate default network settings upon reboot.

sudo mv /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration ~/Desktop
sudo shutdown -r now

Edit (Nov 8, 2016)

I've moved since posting this question and the problem followed me to my new home (different country, different ISP). I noticed that I could use my laptop on other people's Wi-Fi with no problems, but as soon as I returned home, the problem surfaced again.

The unstable connection turned out to be a problem with the cheap routers some ISPs provide.

My former ISP provided a poorly-reviewed Technicolor unit and my current ISP provided an ancient Cisco unit. As soon as I purchased a decent router, the problem disappeared immediately and has not returned since switching to the new router 2 months ago.

Solution

Buy a decent router and use that for your Wi-Fi.

For reference, the router I purchased was the ASUS RT-AC68U: https://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC68U/